Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Design
on delivery date and cost.” All woodwork, and a large part of the steelwork, is made under BLOK’s own management. “We can do it all: the design, planning and implementation up to installation,” she adds.
History “I trained in Amsterdam as a traditional furniture maker with all the traditional skills before moving to Eindhoven for my first job,” says Maurice Blok. After running the product development department for Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek, it was time for him and Van Gestel to start a place of their own, with their own signature. Ever since, they have built up a company that offers solutions from design to installation. Where Blok is trained as a carpenter, Van Gestel is a completely different story; she graduated at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute. How does someone go from fashion to furniture? “I started working at BLOK immediately after my graduation. I did not know what I wanted to do, and Maurice offered me a job.” She laughs, “I started at the bottom; sanding the wood.” Ten years later she’s the one that programmes the milling machine and handles project management. “That is what sets us apart; and on a personal level it makes each day different.”
porches and from classic armchairs to robust steel outdoor pizza ovens. BLOK also makes a ‘trip to the art world’ once or twice a year. Often collaborating with an artist, they have also designed multiple pieces of art themselves. Like a 2.5 metre tall clock. BLOK launched their own line of interior products a few years ago, and the collection is steadily growing.
“We bring out the essential quality of materials by starting with their true form,” says Blok. The designs range from custom built interiors, to solid oak
Current CAD technology goes hand in hand with skilled craftsmanship. At the Dutch Design Week last year BLOK pre-
sented a series of ‘beer tables’: sturdy outdoor benches and tables crafted out of thick oak planks. The wood is beautifully carved by the computer-controlled milling machine, revealing intricate flower patterns. “Working with solid wood is not easy. It is a living, breathing material with character and imperfections, just like people,” says Blok. “It requires planning and craftsmanship to shape a piece, which comes straight out of a tree. Anyone who’s taken a good look at a plywood table covered with veneer agrees that something is lost in translation.” Van Gestel: “We actually developed our own method of treating plywood, to bring out what we felt was lost in mass production and standardization in a recent set of cabinets like the Peacock and Dragon cabinets. The best part of the profession is creating beautiful things. Seeing a thought or idea made into reality is incredible. It all starts in our minds and at the end there is a tangible and useable product.” www.blokmeubel.nl
Pizza oven from high tensile steel
Issue 12 | December 2014 | 45
Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.