Rebecca Wijsbeek is a designer who has made the leap into becoming an entrepreneur. One of the three founders of new Dutch design label, Buhtiq31 (boutique + 31 - the country code for the Netherlands), Wijsbeek wants to make high end design more democratic and to this end has commissioned several of the Netherlands' best up-and-coming designers to create pieces for the brand. Launched during Dutch Design Week in October 2013, the brand's first collection includes work by Studio Drift, van Eijk & van der Lubbe, Maarten Baptist and Thomas Eurlings.
"There is a gap in the market. We are missing a layer of great, yet affordable design".
Rebecca Wijsbeek - founder Buhtiq31
'Nola' means glass bell in Latin. The Dutch duo, Studio Drift, have created a landscape of light captured in glass bells that resemble soft coloured hillocks when grouped together. Studio Drift are well known for their amazing lighting installations that have seen them using dandelion flowers, inventing motorised systems to create a ballet of lights that open and close like flowers or tracing the flight pattern of birds in LED lit glass tubes. 'Nola' by contrast is a far more domestic product but it shows the same sensitivity and imagination to the treatment of light. The LED-system hidden in the cork base of the glass dome can be dimmed from 20% to 100% intensity and through the combination of pastel coloured natural glass and bright, complementary coloured LED’s, 'Nola' establishes a unique colour palette. When the various domes are grouped together, a soft candy coloured palette is produced that can be manipulated by overlapping the lights to form new colours. An individual light starts at 255 euro but sets of three are priced from 800 euro including tax.
Thomas Eurlings' 'Spring' tables use a white powdercoated steel base topped with discs of subtly coloured glass. Available in three diameters from 400 - 550mm and in three heights, the white branch-like structure is asymmetrical to enhance the concept of a growing plant. The tables can be used as single pieces or in a group and are sold individually for 335 euro or as a set of three for 999 euro including tax.
While the first collection only consists of one chair, one table, a group of lights and just a couple of storage items, the variety of available interpretations is quite wide. The chair comes in natural or coloured forms, the table in oak or stained black, allowing the pieces to work within anything from a strong graphic interior to a light and woody one.
Maarten Baptist's 'Lucky Love' chair has been in prototype form for several years but with complex bases that have distracted from the sheer brilliance of the moulded plywood shell. Now in it's simpler production form, the chair has all the hallmarks of becoming a modern classic.
Van Eijk & van der Lubbe 'Clad' tables and storage units were inspired by the tar-soaked fishing huts of Hastings and Dungeness in south-east England. Perhaps because of this, the rippled leg detail works particularly well in black. The cabinet is also clad in this way but reveals a surprising interior.
In addition to the textured timber surface supplied by the oak cladding, van Eijk and van der Lubbe's 'Clad' storage pieces incorporate some beautiful details - leather drawer pulls and oversized butterfly hinges. The rustic exterior is contrasted by a smooth mid-grey interior that enhances the colour of the objects displayed.
Maarten Baptist's 'Love' chair is an incredibly brilliant concept. A single sheet of ash faced plywood is cut and moulded so that the three fingers cross and are fixed from the back with a metal 'T' bar. The resulting shape is quite exquisite from all angles. Available in natural ash or in white, black or mint, the chair can be further customised by specifying the base colour - in gloss red, gloss yellow, chrome or matt black. Priced at 335 euro, the chair conforms to the brand's value for money ideology without resorting to the flat-pack.
"By cutting out the middle man we aim to keep the prices affordable".
All of the Buhtiq31 products are only available through the brand's online store or occasionally through their own pop-up stores.