Welcome to part two of my exclusive interview with Daphne Rijkenberg and Marcel van Brussel. Together with Arnold van Ek, they just released the first collection of Maddnes – their new brand that is sure to create some serious waves in the furniture and home decoration industry. You can read part one here.
What have the first reactions to your collection been like?
Very good, actually. People have really embraced our design sensibility. It’s very distinct yet affordable. If you look at what’s going on in design, we think we can combine two halves of the market. First, there are affordable products that are replaced very quickly. And then on the other end of the spectrum you find expensive art and design that last a lifetime. Maddnes gives you the best of both worlds. With our horse leg table for example, we already have a design classic on our hands that doesn’t break the bank.
What’s it like to work together? I can imagine that you both have your own taste?
Actually, we do! We can disagree quite badly from time to time. But if we do, it’s usually because something doesn’t feel right. If it does feel right, however, then we agree instantly.
We can work really quickly if we need to. And we have to, for that matter. Clients no longer ask us to spend three days to make collages. We’re very good at what we call instant styling, combining the stuff we have in interesting new ways. We put a lot of passion in our work – which is our most important element in the end.
What’s next for Maddnes?
The bar we designed in Madrid just opened, so we’re going to see what that leads to. First, however, we’re going to get the word out here in the Netherlands. We’re also working on our next collection with more even more prints for our cushions – they’re such an easy way to create a different atmosphere in a room. And of course it would be great to expand our prints to a range of wallpaper. We’d love to do a try out, after all how cool would be to have your own wallpaper in your living room?
Anyone can call themselves a stylist nowadays – how do you make a difference?
We’re what you’d call old school stylists. You cannot learn styling, it’s a feeling. Of course we’ve done so much over the years – everything from window decorating to shop interiors, visual merchandising, photo shoots and fashion shows. We see the big picture, but we also pay a lot of attention to detail.
What kind of details?
We think it’s important to look at the relationship between adjoining spaces. They either clash or combine – but they always have to amplify each other. To do so, we use wallpaper or color. When you enter a room, what matters is what you see first. Your eyes need rest, even in an over the top interior. And you can create rest by using the same color for example either on a wall, a chair or a lamp.
We also like to combine classic, vintage items with more modern stuff . Throughout life, people accumulate things, we collect. Also, Jaime Hayon is a big source of inspiration – but we wouldn’t want to compare ourselves to him.
What would you compare Maddnes to?
We don’t have to compare ourselves to anyone else. We do our own thing. We like to surprise – especially ourselves. And our clients, of course. We always try to add that little something extra that is not commercial. And we can be pretty extreme! We once designed a collection of Christmas ornaments for a Dutch department store and we thought they all needed a little bow and a sticker. We ended up sending everything to Asia to take care of that. It’s a bit like the bell jars with the seals and bows we have in our current collection. We think everything through and so even though we’re small, we think big.
Do you have any tips for starting creatives?
We’d say believe in yourself and just do it. If you don’t try it, you’ll regret it. It took us a long time to take the leap but now we’re very happy we’ve actually done it.