Piet Hein Eek
Piet Hein Eek was born in Holland in 1967 and was graduated from the Academy for Industrial Design in Eindhovan in 1990. While at the Academy, he gained attention for his exam project "Scrapwood Cupboards". He sold all of the cupboards and used the money to start his own design studio in 1992. The following year he went into partnership with fellow designer Nob Ruijrok, establishing Eek en Ruijgrok v.o.f.
Eek first developed an interest in old materials after restoring a cupboard for his sister; he thought the old wood looked nicer than the new. He has built his business around old materials, saving these discarded pieces of wood and working outside of the circuit of mass production.
Piet Hein Eek's work is sold in numerous galleries worldwide. He has exhibited at such venues as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Milan Furniture Fair, Italy; and Cïbone, Tokyo.
"A basic economic principle of modern society is that the less labor you use, the more money you save. But I thought I would turn that around, using the materials that people throw away and adding as much labor as possible to them. Ultimately, people notice all the attention that goes into making the pieces. I was walking around in a lumberyard and suddenly realized that old wood looked better than new. We are used to wanting mass products that are perfectly produced and look exactly the same. But I thought that there was a space for imperfection. If you make honest furniture with natural materials, and it gets old or scratched, it still looks beautiful - its aesthetic value never diminishes. The scrapwood cupboard from 1990 was my reaction against the prevalent craving for flawlessness. I wanted to show that products that weren't perfect still can appeal to our sense of aesthetic and functionality. I also wanted to design a product that could be made with limited means, material that was abundant. The combination of uncommon materials and also uncommon, but simple methods of working became the thread through our work."