Piet Hein Eek: self-producer and curator of “PARALLELS” exhibition in EDIT Napoli 2022

The artisan-designer holds his first solo exhibition in Italy together with a selection of young Dutch creatives during the EDIT Napoli design fair

Earlier this month, the independent design fair EDIT Napoli was back in Naples from October 7th to 9th for its fourth consecutive edition hosting exhibitors from all over the world and as proud media partner, DesignWanted got an insightful interview with Dutch artisan-designer Piet Hein Eek.  

The fair, which has the aim of sustaining and promoting independent designers whose production processes combine craftsmanship with design for pieces that can be replicated, is firmly grounded in the notion of local realities, sustainability and quality over quantity, through production processes that combine craftsmanship with design for pieces that can be replicated.

EDIT Napoli 2022_Piet Hein Eek_“PARALLELS”_ph Francesco Squeglia__8
EDIT Napoli 2022, “PARALLELS” exhibition at Made in Cloister Foundation.  ph Francesco Squeglia

Dutch artisan-designer Piet Hein Eek curated the “PARALLELS” exhibition at Made in Cloister Foundation, which is one of the various exhibition venues of the EDIT CULT program of the fair.

Piet Hein Eek is well known for his design work grounded in the methodical slow pace of craftsmanship combined with care and quality, all using accessible materials. 

For the exhibition “PARALLELS”, Piet selected young Dutch designers who embrace the philosophy of sustainability and who – together with him – enrich the exhibition with their creations. 

The young Dutch designers part of this exhibition are: JB Gambier, Teun zwets, Sho Ota, Massimo Pavan, Paul Coenen, Rikkert Paauw, and Tweek eek. 

EDIT Napoli 2022_Piet Hein Eek and designers_“PARALLELS”_ph Francesco Squeglia__5
Piet Hein Eek and young dutch Designers “PARALLELS”.  ph Francesco Squeglia

The “PARALLELS” retrospective exhibition becomes a true parallel between Piet Hein Eek work and that of the young designers who gravitate to his factory.

Each piece made by him corresponds to another piece, in the same material, created by the young talents involved in the exhibition, close to him in attitude and vision, united by a kind of creative affinity.

In his interview with DesignWanted, Piet reflects on the undeniable connection between his work and EDIT Napoli fair’s theme, the natural fit of the exhibit location and the designs presented and how looking back on his own career path inspired him to find young like-minded designers to exhibit together with him.

Furthermore, Piet shares his thoughts on the future of design and how creativity is needed more now than ever to find more design solutions.

Piet Hein Eek ph.Nick Bookelaar
Piet Hein Eek. ph. Nick Bookelaar

The EDIT Napoli design fair is grounded in the notion of local realities, sustainability and quality over quantity. Could you tell us more about your personal connection with the theme of the fair and your perspective and motivation to be part of it? 

Piet Hein Eek:

During past years, I had been asked to present my work at EDIT Napoli, but because I was busy each time, I decided to stay home. This year after a charming offering, I agreed.

Last week when I was in Napoli for the opening of the event, I understood why I was invited. 

The theme is about designers making their own products in a decent manner – by respecting the world around us.

This is actually what we have been doing for more than thirty years, and probably our company is one of the biggest design production places in the world! 

3805 Stackable stool double _ Piet Hein Eek at EDIT Napoli 2022
3805 Stackable stool double by Piet Hein Eek

Much excitement surrounds the retrospective “PARALLELS” which theme directly links to your design work. This time you have played the curator’s role for the exhibition, how did you select the young designers and could you tell us more about them? 

Piet Hein Eek:

More or less at the same time when I was asked to curate an exhibition of young designers, I was asked by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (MAD) in Paris to make a proposal for my designs, which they might purchase for their collection.

I then found myself writing about a series of my most significant designs from the start of my career until now.

Chronological storytelling. 

This inspired me to find young designers who are connected to the themes I wrote.

In addition, Paul Coenen helped me with the long and short list of designers who finally fitted in my story in a beautiful manner. 

The exhibition “PARALLELS” makes use of the Made in Cloister Foundation rooms to showcase the work of young Dutch designers. In which way does the exhibition integrate with the space or vice versa? 

Piet Hein Eek:

Although I had received images of Made in Cloister Foundation, the beauty, history, and current use of the space were a surprise. It all turned out to be a natural fit! 

Made in Cloister Foundation space for “PARALLELS” retrospective exhibition. ph Francesco Squeglia

The 4th edition of EDIT Napoli promotes design production processes that combine craftsmanship with design for pieces that can be replicated. What is your opinion on the future of design? 

Piet Hein Eek:

In general, creativity becomes more and more important in our world of globalization and at the same time polarization. 

Creativity will become more important to be open minded about all solutions and make the right decisions, apart from the need to make a difference in a world where everything resembles more and more!

Piet Hein Eek at EDIT Napoli 2022. ph Francesco Squeglia

The current “PARALLELS” exhibition showcasing Piet Hein Eek designs and that of the young Dutch designers (JB Gambier, Teun zwets, Sho Ota, Massimo Pavan, Paul Coenen, Rikkert Paauw, and Tweek eek), will be displayed at Made in Cloister Foundation until November 20th, 2022.


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