He had a great love for collecting stones, ceramics and waste. He took them by bicycle to a remote place in the city of Chandigarh, in the North-West of India. His finds became works of art: human figures, animals large and small, whole armies, abstract shapes and a lot of mosaic. Nek Chand -from Pakistan- worked as an architect and road inspector. His secret place was discovered and that brought “hassle”. The mayor was thankfully a nice man and very fond of Chand’s work. This resulted in “RockPark”. Fan of Gáudi? Chand surpasses! His creations are refined and heart-warming. Plans for India? Promise me to make a stopover in Chandigarh. Of course for Rock Garden, but also for the great architecture of Le Corbusier.
I like the round shapes she chooses, the fresh colours, the rhythm, the craziness. I love the projects that touch your heart and where you are part of. Such as the project with mirrors all around and countless small lights. As if you are in an infinite space, almost floating. This is the recognizable handwriting of the Japanese Yayoi Kusama. Her playful, humorous and almost childlike view of the world creates art that puts a smile on your face. She is a distinct appearance, heavily styled with a bright red “bob haircut.” Authentic and honest. She never made a secret of her mental health problems. Polka dots are a way to infinity.
They have a rather tough life in the countryside. Water jugs are filled manually after a long walk. They are multifunctional, so their children get a better future and they can earn a little extra income. With craftsmanship. In which a lot of love, pride and a sense of tradition is incorporated. I like to think along with them, with the Indian women in the countryside. I sit on the floor next to them on a rug. Language barrier is not an obstacle. Hands, feet, a paper and a pencil and the traditional “masala chai”. Selling their products in a western country is a big dream. By “tweaking” authentic, existing designs, I work with them on a beautiful product that fits perfectly in Western interiors!
Ugly graffiti, beautiful murals, the laundry hanging to dry outside and unintentionally making a nice match with the color of the wall. The structure of a sidewalk tile, a stack of old newspapers that suddenly give a very rhythmic effect. I mainly look up and down, there I discover things that normally slip from your eye. There, the radars in my brain make connections that fall into place in a nice project. Street life. I admire striking people who follow the dictation of fashion backwards and thereby strengthen their own identity. Who doesn’t care what someone else thinks. Awesome. I would secretly like a bit of their courage.
I watch TV and see a forest. Nothing else. But I know immediately. As a child I was glued to the tube when Pippi was on TV: she could do absolutely everything and I looked up at her like a rock. She was extremely strong – she could lift an adult horse – but she was also super smart and creative. She walked up to the ceiling with Conrad’s adhesive paste under her shoes. She cut spaghetti, -and why not- with scissors. The simplicity with which she was able to solve complicated situations and the ability to understand the adult world as a child. And of course this was not Pippi herself, but Astrid Lundgren, who wrote the most beautiful children’s story ever.
She dares to enter into a relationship with new and unknown material. She dares to make combinations that are unprecedented but also super ordinary. If my heart jumps at a new find: 10 to 1 it is a design by Patricia Urquoila. Born Spanish, but Italian by choice. The choice of colour, mix of materials, designs and structures: everything has been carefully applied in a refined design. Usually simplicity is the strength in this. And Patricia is the undisputed leader for me. She is at home with the largest interior brands on earth, but she also dares to design for unknown brands. I admire her versatility!
A fold in a piece of paper, a thread curled in a certain way or sharpening that is actually wonderfully beautiful in itself. Very pure design, nothing added or just a subtle detail which makes the image exciting. Most people know me as distinct and colourful, but the “beauty” is also in my opinion in simplicity. Simple in form, structure and yes, even colour. All colours are colours. Consciously look at something simple and how it gives you ideas. Pull it out of proportion, give it a rhythmic repeat, and see how you can conjure your imagination!
Humour, pride, happiness. Indifference, sadness or anger. Human emotion is visible. A moment on the street. Or on the train on the way to work or your aunt. Or at a place where you are bored. You look around, because what else should you do. Suddenly there is a connection. It can be a trigger, something happening around you. Something funny or not at all. There is eye contact, a significant look, a smile, or a big question mark. Either way, there is contact. I always wonder about the elasticity of people. Especially when I’m on the street in India. People without any reason to be happy have an unexpected resilience.
A bridge, a building, an entire park or island. Graceful folds. Beautiful colours such as a deep saffron shades or a sober white. It was hard work. Thinking big helps. They were not insignificant buildings, but the Pont Neuf, Central Park in NY and Reichstag in Berlin. Installations have something magical to me. The greatness, the multiplicity. The simplicity, the ingenuity. The start of the idea. The impossibility of implementation. I am attracted to it like a magnet. Christo and Jeanne-Claude were great in this. Perhaps the greatest. One thing was certain: whatever they did it had a huge impact. Purely meant to be enjoyed and just to be there. So beautiful.
We owe it to her that great historic buildings in USA are still standing. In New York City, she led a campaign to save and renovate Grand Central Station. Today, more than 500,000 people come by every day and everyone can enjoy the restored beauty. But we know Jackie Kennedy even better as a distinct style icon, “beauty and brains”. Her refined taste made her a trendsetter. I also go up the barricades to get something good things done. This led to the professional association for stylists BNS Crisp in 2009. I am a real connector and would like to introduce people from my own network to each other.