"Working for everybody is a
waste of energy" - Hella Jongerius

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Movie: in our final video interview with Hella Jongerius, the Dutch designer explains why she prefers to work with a small group of clients and says that building a long-term relationship with a company is a more sustainable way of working than designing collections for different brands each year.

"Working for many different brands is a waste of energy" - Hella Jongerius
Polder Sofa by Hella Jongerius for Vitra

"I don't believe in working for everybody," Jongerius says. "It's a waste of energy. You have to pump something up for marketing because [companies] all need a story, so you pump up something that's not relevant."

"Working for many different brands is a waste of energy" - Hella Jongerius
Vases by Hella Jongerius for Maharam

Jongerius has longstanding relationships with American textile manufacturer Maraham, Swiss furniture brand Vitra and Dutch airline KLM. She says it is important for designers to be selective with who they work with.

"You better choose a company that can give you an identity and that you don't have to [create] marketing stories for," she says.

"I also believe that as you work longer [with a company] you can really trust each other and you can really build on a collection that's not only about money but is also about invention."

"Working for many different brands is a waste of energy" - Hella Jongerius
Business class cabin interior by Hella Jongerius for KLM

Jongerius says that a long-term relationship with a designer is also beneficial to manufacturers, allowing them to invest more prudently in new manufacturing processes. "At a certain moment you buy a new machine because you both believe in a certain range for this company," she says.

"It's another way of working that's less about ego and more about making a nicer world. It's almost a hollow phrase, but it's a sustainable way of thinking for the profession."

See all our stories about Hella Jongerius »

"Working for many different brands is a waste of energy" - Hella Jongerius
Hella Jongerius

Industrial designer Konstantin Grcic discussed the pros and cons of working with many different companies in a movie we made with him in Milan, saying that he would prefer to work with fewer companies and build long-term relationships with them, but it's still possible to work with a company on a short-term basis and produce exciting work.

  • John

    Such insight, balance and experience. This is wisdom.

  • Steve

    It is easy to say that it is better to work with only a few clients when your clients are KLM and Vitra. Unfortunately not all designers have this luxury.