WOTH wonderful things NL / 01-2016

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Bakker interior design Decorating isn’t a matter of life or death, but that

doesn't mean it isn't a necessity. After all, you should feel at ease in a space. Interior designer Stef Bakker explains: 'I’m not a man of spectacle. Efficiency can be found in a different, more subtle way of thinking.' production Coffeeklatch photography Bart Kiggen text Magali Elali



116 Below The existing nineties Bulthaup kitchen turned out to work beautifully in the new interior. Brass side table by Minotti.


akker’s designs are about storytelling although he doesn’t like talking about his work: 'When you try putting it into words, you lose the dimension.' Actions speak louder than words is an attitude that matches his active contribution to Orange Babies, a Dutch organization that helps mothers with HIV and their children in Africa. What does luxury mean to you? Harmony. With my interior design projects, I strive for a good foundation, keeping functionality in mind. Temperature, acoustics, and tactility are also important aspects of luxury. Initially, you might link it to excess, but eventually, one must find a balance between the different wishes of the residents. In the end, your home defines your life. In my case, I consider it a luxury to live in a house where you don’t get distracted by too many triggers, but where you can simply be yourself, be undisturbed. Hiring an interior designer for interventions that are hardly visible isn't an obvious thing to. Customers remodel their home maybe once or twice in their lives and it’s difficult to explain what is truly important. Remodeling or redesigning a house is tricky because the process is so complex and intimate. You have to keep everything in mind, and furthermore, all interventions need






A few strategically placed plants with striking leaf structures and small still lives made up of beautiful objects.

The kitchen is as carefully considered and beautifully styled as the rest of the house.







'I consider it a luxury to live in a house where you don’t get distracted by too many triggers, but where you can simply be yourself, be undisturbed.' _ Stef Bakker redesigning a house is tricky because the process is so complex and intimate. You have to keep an eye on everything and all interventions have to be practical. As soon as you’ve created the blueprint, you can add more layers like colour, furniture, art. Combining all of those layers and functions into one project is a complicated and important process and one that is underestimated quite often. When you choose to work with an interior designer you want great value for your money. With many designers this results in a spectacle. But soundproofing the piping or windows to make sure it’s quiet inside is an intervention no-one notices. It’s something you only experience once you’re inside. It is important to know what someone needs to unwind or how they are affected by temperature or materials. It’s a complicated task to combine those subtleties and to make sure it works visually as well. I focus very hard on creating the foundation. I could say that it doesn’t matter if something is blue or green because you can always change the colours afterward. But colour also directs the experience of a space.

Above Bakker bought the wooden chair in the living room at Galleria Moioli in Milan. Above left The small marble table is by Saarinen for Knoll


You may think that interior design enthusiasts have a pretty clear picture in their minds of what they want. Sometimes the customer is with us every step of the way. Other times, they call on us to create a new look. With colour and a new sofa you can conceal many flaws on the surface but that is not the actual solution to the problem. You see something you like in a magazine, start to work with it and eventually you get lost in the abundance of information and ideas. For some customers our recommendations can be frightening. I mean, they come to us asking for a new sofa and we tell them to change the location of their living room. [laughs] As soon as you explain what you mean, the difference can be felt immediately. In the end they need to be able to surrender themselves to us. They need to share their lives and lifestyle with us. When significant interaction develops the result can be surprising.

unrealistic to think that you will be able to trace the origin of each product. Unfortunately we don’t have time to do that type of research and besides it would limit us in doing our job. We try to recycle as many elements as possible and choose natural materials. You trained as a teacher, switched over to film and commercials and now you concentrate on interior design. Have you always known you wanted to do something with interiors? Doing commercials was a great education. I had to draw up different settings for customers who shared the same audience. Working in that industry sharpened my spacial awareness, although I’ve always been fascinated with spaciousness. I was the youngest in the family and whenever we had dinner parties, we used the nice room with the precious china. Because I was too young to partake in the adults' conversation, I occupied myself with rearranging the glasses and the silverware, which always received positive responses. There, at that table, my interest and passion for interior design took shape. While the boys were outside playing soccer, I was inside fiddling with objects. For me, that was playtime.

As your playground, this apartment is quite eye-catching. Do you ever use it as a showroom for your customers? Yes, sometimes, because it reflects my vision very well. This is me, although I never imagined myself living in the heart of Amsterdam. The building dates from 1904 and from the moment when I first set foot here, I was sold. It took a bit of time to get used to the limited size of the house but I renovated and rearranged until the basic layout fit my lifestyle. Occasionally, I buy a new piece of art or a rug but I rarely make alterations. I particularly like the different seating areas. This apartment is very pleasant when I’m on my own but also when I’m with my partner and friends. This is me and apparently it carries my signature, which is odd because for a long time I felt like I didn't have one. The beautiful thing about my job is that I get to design new spaces and tell new Interior design companies who make eye-catching and spectacular designs stories all the time. Sometimes I forget that there is such a thing as a signature tend to get more attention. Is anonymity a downside of subtlety? style. In some homes the interior designer’s signature is so present that it’s For a small company, it’s perhaps inevitable to take smaller steps. Yes, we are impossible to recognize the people living in them. I don’t like that and perhaps small but quite busy. The situation we’re in right now is charming and offers a lot of advantages: we can be who we truly are. We share a particular dynamic that’s why I don’t like talking about my work. But when I look back at the and the personal, and direct contact we have with our customers is fascinating. spaces I have designed, I'm afraid there is a definite common thread, however subtle it may be. [laughs] There is also a social element to your work, especially with your work for Orange Babies and the carpet project you did in Morocco. coffeeklatch.be | studiobakker.nl I travel to Africa every year for Orange Babies, where I work with local people. Here in the Netherlands we organize benefit events, like last year’s show with the Tunisian couturier Azzedine Alaïa and Dutch Vogue. The carpet that we designed for Italian furniture company Arper is part of a social project in Morocco. It’s lovely to work with products that give you a good feeling but it’s


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