Wijtse Rodenburg

The best designers of the red dot design award 2007 in interview: Wijtse Rodenburg

Furniture producer Ahrend won the 2007 red dot: best of the best award in the ‘product design for offices and administration’ category for its new Ahrend 800 table system. Designer Wijtse Rodenburg talked to red dot in an interview.


Mr Rodenburg, what inspired you to create this particular product and what was the intention behind it?

We see that working in offices is being influenced more and more by the home environment. On the other hand people work at home more and more with computers. This trend was the base for the concept of Ahrend 800. I wanted to create a table and desk system for professional work in offices, but also fitting very well in a living or study room at home. Therefore the starting point was stainless steel, a not every day material for office furniture, but more expected at home. Combined with special woods and glass for the tops, it fits wonderfully in both office and home.

For the glass tops I designed a version which is specific functional: millions of little scratches offer a mat overall texture where real scratches disappear. The other version is a modular decoration based on illustrations out of my personal and professional context. Adding a colour base gives the glass top an exciting depth. The integrated extra slim pedestals are offering a sufficient amount of storage space, reflecting the minimalization of today's technology.

What does being awarded with the “red dot: best of the best” mean to you?

I feel honoured and happy that my intentions with this new product for Ahrend are understood and recognised by design colleagues in the jury.

What particular challenges do you think designers have to face these days?We are confronted with a multi-scattered world. It seems that everything is possible and what is possible should also be done. But it is hard to find new balances between excess, the overkill of what the market has to offer, environmental issues, globalisation of all human aspects, the gap between the rich and the poor and so on.

On the other hand this brings designers chances to explore new ways. The most important goal of people is being happy. We as designers can bring a little happiness by making nice, functional, emotional, and challenging products for all these different people in the world.As a designer, what would you still like to accomplish in the future?Being a fanatical pipe organ fan, designing such a majestic instrument will probably be my never achieved project.

What do you think is the economic significance of design?

Of course design is a major aspect in the success of almost every product and therefore extremely important for the economy. On the other hand design is an independent quality. In my view every little thing that brings happiness can be of a greater value then successful money bringers. So let’s make people happy, and if the design is part of that: so much the better.