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Studio Daphne Zuilhof

Daphne Zuilholf is a cross-discipline design studio that churns out the most beautiful pieces. After studying in Eindhoven and Stockholm, she created a space that allows her to develop and grow creatively.

Tell us about yourself! What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Daphne Zuilhof. I grew up in Amsterdam where I am now based with my own studio. For my studies, I went first to Eindhoven and later to Stockholm. My bachelors I did at the Technical University Eindhoven. Then after a year of making independent work, I went to do my masters at Konstfack, the art school of Stockholm.

How did you get started with Studio Daphne Zuilhof?
To be honest, it never really felt like I got started with the studio. It was more that. It was the fact that I didn’t want to stop doing own projects, combined with a growing drive to get my projects ‘out there’. A key moment was finding the place I currently have, my studio, 1.5 years ago. With a group of creative, we share a space that enables us to grow and develop without a lot of pressure.

You said that Studio Daphne Zuilhof is a "design studio working across the fields of product, interior and experience design.” Tell us a little bit more about your super interesting philosophy. 
What inspires me about design is human behaviour and experience. So although I usually do end up giving form to products and furniture, the actions and experiences that are triggered are most interesting to me. I like designing for everyday life and to subtly change the daily activity; spark a hint of curiosity or creativity so people experience their own surroundings anew. 

What’s the process behind your designs? How does a product go from an idea to reality?
The beginning of project tends to be quite philosophical in my case. I read and think a lot about the way we live, changes therein and what we want to develop towards. This is interesting, but huge, and can be overwhelming. Then, to choose to work with a specific situation or context brings things back to manageable proportions. Once I have an idea of what I want, I usually produce a load of prototypes, both scale models as life size tests, browsing and testing to find the final form and aesthetics fitting the ideas they come from.

You tend to collaborate with other design disciplines a lot. What do you love most about collaborating?
I love working with creatives from other disciplines actually. For instance, I work closely with photographers in developing the way my work is presented. What is great about collaborations is that the other can have a complete different skill set; yet somewhere you find shared ideas. Once I also collaborated with a dancer. I designed and made an object for him to do an improvisation dance performance with. I enjoy making such abstract work and then getting to see it come alive. 

What inspires you?
It is cheesy, but for me joy is in noticing the beauty in all the little daily things around you. Something small like light broken by water can make me super excited, and drive me to find a way for more people to notice it. 

If you have one, what’s your favorite product?
Prior to making the Assembly Series, I did a project called Unfinished Assembly. I created a range of frames and building blocks to form furniture, which you can easily rearrange and change. As I considered the quality too unfinished to sell these items I use them myself and I love changing my interior all the time and still coming up with new combinations. 

What has been your crowning achievement so far? 
Doing my studies at Konstfack has been an amazing experience. It was a bit scary from the beginning. I was surrounded by very talented people who had actually been through an art education; which I hadn’t yet. When at the end of the run, the commission of the student union awarded my graduation project (out of all masters projects) with their yearly jury prize I must say I was quite happy and proud.