Ineke Hans loves strong, stable shapes, her chairs and benches convey something down-to-earth. She is one of the leading Dutch designers. She has always had a passion for design. “At first I didn’t even know that you could also study it as a subject,” she says with a smile on the phone from her studio in Arnhem, which she founded in 1998 after studying at the Artez School of Art and furniture design at the Royal Art College London. She was particularly interested in the relationship between people and objects, she says. “Chairs, for example, have to fit the body and be practical.” But: another chair, another table – does the world need that?
“Our everyday life has changed a lot. My grandmother still had a kitchen table, a dining table and a desk. Today I have to rethink the furniture in a small apartment,” she says. The breakfast table soon becomes a work table with space for a laptop. And: With new materials, objects can be made more comfortable.
With “Rex”, Ineke Hans has now designed the first chair in the Netherlands with a deposit of 20 euros for Circuform. The design dates back to 2010, when a company asked young designers for a concept chair for Milan. Hans delivered the perfect idea for industrial production. The product was an international success. But the company had not invested enough in the molds at the time. Ineke Hans has now been able to complete the design for “Rex”. Circuform is a new Dutch furniture brand investing in recycling. Plastic is too valuable to simply be burned. Due to the deposit principle, the company would get the material back. This is how you save raw materials. Ineke Hans finds the idea charming. Sustainability is important to her.
Curator Nicole Uniquole also selected a bench for the “Design & Dynastie” exhibition in honor of the 250th birthday of King Willem I of the Netherlands in Fulda, which Ineke Hans had designed for a community center on an island in northern Canada with the local fishermen. Fishermen were able to build boats, but fishing declined. Their jointly developed Windsor-style furniture became a success.
Hans has held the Chair for Design and Social Context at the Berlin University of the Arts since 2017. As a Dutch woman, she immediately noticed that the students with their theses were hardly visible, unlike in their home country or in Great Britain. So she initiated “German Design Graduate” with three colleagues to offer all product design graduates a platform. “All students send in their work. Everyone gets a chance. They have to take responsibility for the quality of the texts and images themselves,” she says. Prizes are awarded in five categories, including studio residencies, exhibitions and much more. The German Design Council has now taken over the project.