Piet Hein Eek studio meeting room

Five key projects by Dutch designer and Dezeen Awards judge Piet Hein Eek

Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek has joined Dezeen Awards 2023 as a judge. Here he selects five projects that best reflect his studio's work.

Eek, who describes himself as "a designer, producer and distributor of my designs," says his projects, which range from furniture to architecture, reflect his unique perspective and approach to design.

"Respect for what the world offers is the starting point of all my work," he told Dezeen. "Material, technique and craft are where I begin all my designs."

Currently, Eek is working on a redevelopment of the Nyma Textile Factory at Nijmegen, as well as smaller projects and ongoing commissioned designs for objects and interior projects.

Piet Hein Eek among Dezeen Awards 2023 judges

Dezeen Awards 2023 launched on 15 February in partnership with Bentley Motors. On Tuesday we announced the first five Dezeen Awards judges including architect Farshid Moussavi and art director Patrizia Moroso, who will be joining designer Eek on the judging panel.

The early entry period ends on Wednesday 29 March. Click here to submit your project and save 20 per cent on entry fees.

Read on to find for Eek's views on the five projects that best represent the work of his studio.

RAG building

RAG building, Eindhoven, the Netherlands, 2019

"This building was the engine room of an industrial area which was demolished to make room for housing.

"Our own studio building, the RF building, and the RAG building were the only remaining buildings. We redeveloped all of them.

"The RAG building was not so easy because of its size, which is nearly 1,000 square metres. By making one opening, we broke through the building and created its own street."

Piet Hein Eek studio

Piet Hein Eek's studio, Eindhoven, the Netherlands

"I think what we realised in our premises – with our workplace, showroom, store, restaurants, hotel and studios, which feel like home for so many – feels like my biggest achievement."

Oak chair

Oak Chair, Eindhoven, the Netherlands

"I like it because the chair is specifically designed for our way of producing in small quantities – series are never bigger than 100 – and instead of moving parts through a factory, almost the complete chair is made on one machine."

"All traditional techniques to make a chair were abandoned. The chair is made with a lot of attention and skills but not in a traditional manner."

Zambia project

Zambia project, Haarlem, the Netherlands

"I was asked by an old friend I studied with to design chairs and tables to be produced in Africa for the European market. The project was funded by a church in Haarlem, and the goal was to create jobs for people who became disabled because of the war."

"The chairs and tables were made and transported to Holland but we found that transporting the chairs over land was as expensive as the making costs. The price of a chair was too high so the project stopped."

"Years later we found out that the disabled carpenters actually made a living by making my designs and variations of them. Unexpectedly, it became one of the most successful projects I've ever contributed to."

Mavaleix Mill

Mavaleix, Chalais, France, 2015

"In 2005 I bought a ruined old water mill in Mavaleix, France. It took more than 10 years to rebuild the two buildings.

"After years I realised that the river was used to transport the huge stones to the construction site as well as the iron wheels or the mill itself coming from the forge a mile upstream!

"200 years ago they understood better what nature provides because they didn't have a choice. Now we think we have a choice, but I think we should always keep in mind what the world has to offer, not what we want the world to provide to realise what we want!

"It's more or less the way I work; creating with what the world offers. The mill gave me a story covering all of my work!

All images courtesy of Piet Hein Eek.

Dezeen Awards 2023

Dezeen Awards celebrates the world's best architecture, interiors and design. Now in its sixth year, it has become the ultimate accolade for architects and designers across the globe. The annual awards are in partnership with Bentley Motors, as part of a wider collaboration that will see the brand work with Dezeen to support and inspire the next generation of design talent.