#ASK Richard Hutten
For the #ASK column, we ask an interesting Rotterdammer in the field of art, design & architecture four questions. This week, we interviewed designer Richard Hutten. No less than one million copies of his famous Dumbo cup for Gispen have been sold over the years, and his designs can be seen in the MoMA in New York and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
Your designs are invariably described as funny, imaginative, unconventional and playful, but always functional. Which design are you most proud of?
I cannot answer that, that’s like asking me which of my kids I love the most. I’m proud of them all, but for different reasons. And the best designs are yet to come.
Is there a project that you particularly enjoyed?
One nice little project is a glass object, made in Murano Venice. Curator Luca Nichetto has asked me to make an object using an old glass technique. At first, I wanted to make a vase, but now it has become something without function. But it turned out to be an insanely spectacular object, and the making process was really, really enjoyable. It will be launched in September during the Finissage of the Venice [Architecture] Biennale. This is the kind of project that made me want to be an artist/designer. It’s a lot of fun to do. Creating is playing around and this was a fun game.
You started your design studio in 1991. Since that time, you didn’t only design more furniture, but also jewelry, stamps, architecture and so on. How do you think the design landscape has changed since then?
When I started in 1991, I still had to explain to people what design was. Everyone knows that by now. In addition, design has now been fully accepted as a fully-fledged art form, and according to some, it has even become the most important art form.
How would you describe your relationship with the city of Rotterdam?
After 30 years in Rotterdam, I can really call myself a Rotterdammer. I love the city and I love how the city is developing and renewing. My studio is located in the M4H area. When I settled there in 1993, Joep van Lieshout and I were the only ones who dared to move there. The entire area has now been transformed into one big area for creatives, with places like the Steurgebouw, which has fortunately kept some of its rough edges.
During Rotterdam Art Week, you can also see work by the young designer Boris Maas in the Steurgebouw, at your invitation. How did that collaboration come about?
Gilbert Cutessi bought some of my lamps for his Steurgebouw last year. This year, he asked me if I knew a young Rotterdam-based designer who could exhibit during the Rotterdam Art Week. I immediately thought of Boris Maas. Two years ago I gave him an award. He makes socially engaged work which also happens to be very beautiful.
The Steurgebouw will open its doors to the public during Rotterdam Art Week, so that’s fortunate. What are you most looking forward to during the upcoming Rotterdam Art Week?
I am most looking forward to spontaneous encounters with all kinds of art lovers and makers.
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