Studio Valkenier

Modest Manifest

Studio Valkenier 05-05-2017

You could feel the tension at the conference table while presenting our sketch design. Is your proposal not too expensive or too luxury? Before showing any detailed materials or mood board we were asked if we were not designers that like to dance and shine in glossy architecture magazines. As Studio Valkenier we're used to design projects based on re- or up-cycled materials. The combination of materials and the spatial layout creates for the users an amazing experience. Some designs attract a lot of people and are successful like the cultural hotspot Hannes Boom, the communal meeting center Stadstimmertuin, the Metabolic playground Ceuvel or the circularvillage Tuin van Bret.

You could call these projects luxurious or hipster heavens while it doesn't have anything todo with real luxury and expensive materials like marble, gold or even Scandinavian hand made wooden furniture. Based on our client who is the … we should work transparent and create a functional work space with a Modest look and feel. For us this is our dream project, not again a project developer who likesto show off and create a hollow facade space to generate as maximum money as possible but a client who works financial transparent and wants us to create a functional work space with a modest look and feel. Every euro we spent is an euro who can't be used in the field to save human lives.

If modest is the new luxury, we go all the way. Modest like Modest...yes Modest.

Dictionary: Modest / not large in size or amount, or not expensive

Studio Valkenier is not interested in buying products from a catalog. Nowadays every project has the same Eames tables, Arne Jacobsen butterflies or Maarten van Severen chairs. This mass produced items are very expensive but the public recognizes this as 'good taste'.

As architects we think that we should rethink this consumer way of thinking. Instead of consuming we should co-produce. How wonderful wil it be not only to design the furniture but als to create it together with the future users. Let's learn and get inspired by our designer friends Rietveld with his Krat furniture. Easy and cheap tomake. Or by Enzo Mari with his open source do it yourself furniture catalog. Off course we take a look on the simple principles that IKEA as mass design producer uses to get their users involved. From consumer to user selfproducing furniture. Rethinking every spatial location than also rethink the furniture.

What we think is important in this Modest design approach is as designer not only to design a product and to create a nice DIY manual. But let's make the whole financial and environmental impact transparent. How much does it cost to produce furniture? How much does the design cost? What about the life cycle of used materials and the amount of CO2 output?

Critical future users have the right to know this answers in this open source approach. So we will add this financial and environmental data to the design. Financial and environmental transparent from screw, wood, transport and design.

Why not having the users involved? It's the best way to know our user group. Let them in groups build their ownworking tables! Every department should come and start to build so they are responsible for their own furniture.

Maybe they can improve it or add new features to it. They will become proud on their ability to create their own working environment. Like they are used in tough locations all around the world. They even can spread the design around different work locations in the world. Why not getting local people involved to support local economy's?

We would love to support the NGO with their important work. How nice would it be to design a building manual and to sell it where the profit money goes to the client? As modest as modest can be...