Design daily is travelling to Europe - partly for a book project but also to ultimately end up in Milan for Salone del Mobile which this year includes Euroluce. It is the first time D.d has travelled through five countries in 2 weeks and it is an entirely different experience than the usual gallery and museum driven itinerary. After an abortive start to the trip in the UK when a plumbing fault flooded the apartment we were due to shoot, Design daily and photographer Michael Wee have gone on to the Netherlands. While in The Hague we dropped into the home and offices of new Dutch design and interiors magazine Woth - Wonderful Things to visit founders Mary Hessing and Toon Lauwen. With a train to catch it was a quick visit but the shots knocked out by Michael Wee capture some of the former milk factory's wonderful atmosphere. If you haven't checked out Woth already you definitely should.
The magazine launched through a crowd funding initiative in 2016 and is now in the throws of finalising issue 4. Issues 1 to 3 are available and subscriptions to future issues are available online from the magazine's website. Supported by some of the Netherlands most respected design talents such as Studio Job, Maarten Baas and Scholten & Baijings, the magazine has access to some truly unique content.
Both Hessing and Lauwen have years of experience in the publishing industry working on numerous books and magazines and have developed a wide range of contacts that help deliver great interiors and a deep insight into contemporary design. Each issue is published in seperate Dutch and English editions to extend it's reach beyond the Netherlands.
While Hessing admits the magazine has taken over their lives ......and much of their home, she is excited by the reaction they are getting from both the industry and the general public. The fresh new approach and quality content is already converting to good numbers and increased advertising revenue.
In the centre of the old milk factory building is a courtyard with a large magnolia tree. "Right now that area is over run by my daughter's rabbits but we hope to regain control pretty soon and make the most of it during the summer," says Toon Lauwen. With the courtyard accessible on several sides through steel frame doors the lure to work outside on sunny days would be hard to resist. "Although we have plenty of dedicated office rooms that were part of the old milk factory, we tend to move around the office working from different areas as the mood takes us", says Mary Hessing. "Our children complain that they can't watch the television in the lounge room anymore because we often work from there but it's surprising how much better you work if you can find some clear headspace just by shifting your work environment from one area to another".
After years of attending art and design exhibitions and openings, Hessign and Lauwen have acquired a great collection of art and objects. The interior is largely painted white to increase light and act as a backdrop to the eclectic collection of furniture, design objects and objet d'art. The fine cast iron columns of the old milk factory are a stand out feature of the space along with grid like windows in steel externally and timber internally. The ground floor features mottled polished concrete while the first floor moves to oak herringbone parquetry and designates the move to domestic space.
There are so many small rooms that once served as distribution points and preparation areas that the house is full of unusual places to seek privacy or to create artistic areas for music making or to contemplate the pagination of future issues. Everywhere you look interesting pieces pop into view such as a rare plywood child's chair & swing by Hans Brockhage from 1956 (as seen below - under the table football).
The whole space has a quiet but energetic feel enhanced by the big open spaces in the centre of the building and the large amount of light coming in from all directions. "It is a surprising building set among a row of terrace-like houses in an otherwise suburban street", says Hessing "As the family has grown the house has grown with us"
Future plans include guess accommodation in the form of a single room apartment - set up as a place to stay for visiting business partners or as paid tourist bed and breakfast. The house is in a lovely part of The Hague full of fine brick buildings with lots of good restaurants and bars - particularly along Piet Heinstraat.
Just a short walk away from grand diplomatic residences, the impressive International Court of Justice and the Gemeentemuseum (The Hague's Palace of the Arts), this part of the Hague is full of things to do and see.
The next issue of Woth (No4) includes features on Belgian studio Muller van Severen, Gijs Stork, curator of design store X-Bank in Amsterdam and Dutch design duo Os Oos. The issue also takes a look at the former atelier and home of Theo Van Doesburg in Paris and includes interviews with Simone Farresin from FormaFantasma
Carole Baijings from Scholten & Baijings and designer Stefan Diez.