Sjoerd Vroonland is a pioneer and influencer of furniture design. As one of the founders of Vroonland & Vandrager, Sjoerd has focused his designs on the deconstruction of mid 19th century chairs that add a modern, functional twist.
Apartment Developments: It appears that in your designs you use a combination of classic construction methods in combination with well-chosen and honest materials. There is a famously debatable design saying that “form follows function”, do you think this is true of all good design, and do you see it being true in your designs?
Sjoerd Vroonland: As a designer you should ‘listen’ to your own creation and methods. Some products or designs ‘ demand’ a kind of use or material. In a good design all these solutions and practises come together. Like for instance the Saddle Stool: the pressed leather moulds around your body during usage, the spring giving the comfort it needs. All in showing its honesty in a pure product. During the design process all these elements blended into the Saddle Stool.
AD: Space is a premium these days and choosing the right designs and pieces for specific applications is becoming more and more important. What advice would you give to someone who is looking to furnish his or her home or apartment? Where would you start?
SV: Make it personal by doing research on what you really want and like. Look in magazines or on internet. Don’t buy everything in one time. It’s like in life; it changes and grows with you over the years. A good interior doesn’t show a specific era. See it as bookshelf: it reflects people’s personality.
AD: You have said that you try and tell a story or a narrative through your designs, how important for you is this user journey and experience?
SV: A designer adds meaning and quality to its design. Through research into the history and origin a designer is able to influence the future by giving opportunities to translate the use and perception of a product in a good way. As a designer I want to show that craftsmanship has the future, without using mass production as a starting point and to compromise on quality and technology.
AD: Obviously design is subjective and people have different tastes, but what do you think makes great design last the test of time and be incorporated into people’s homes and lives decades after they was originally produced?
SV: I truly love bespoke furniture and that a designer is able to give a first and second life to a product.
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AD: What is your favourite piece of design in your home/ apartment and why?
SV: The chairs around the table are my favourite piece. A chair is an object that could be showpiece in the center of the living room, and where people get physical contact with. I also Iike the moment during the day when people come together around the table.
AD: The design and integration of a bespoke piece that goes into someone’s home is a big responsibility, what are the most important thing for you when designing for your clients?
SV: What I find important is when I design a piece of furniture or object for a client that it triggers them to use it in a different way. An example is the extension chair.
AD: If you had to summarize your designs in one sentence what would it be?
SV: That craftsmanship is the future.
AD: Australians are more increasingly beginning to adapt and embrace the concept of apartment living, something that Europe and Asia have done now for decades, what are some of the challenges that you think face apartment living and how has design helped to overcome them?
SV: Yes, I think it’s more challenging to do the interior for an apartment since it’s a smaller space where everything comes together. In a house you can divide the space in different area’s. Though I think it’s important to filter the functions and aesthetics for a clear and pure interior feeling.