Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Joey van Beek ("JVB") for their original perspective and innovative approach to design as well as their creative lifestyle, we are very pleased to share our interview with our distinguished readers.

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?

JVB : The thing is, I have no background regarding design. My education has always been around working within and around the bulk-conveying sector.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?

JVB : I realized that after designing and making my first table I felt so happy that I wanted to keep that feeling. So after that I started to make more and eventually decided that I wanted to do this for a living.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?

JVB : It is my own free choice. My wife and parents have been supporting me my entire life with my ideas so having them around in this journey makes me a very happy person.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?

JVB : My current focus is on abstract industrial tables, but I hope to eventually be able to design also other object that I feel inspired by and make me think. Also it is hopefully what other people consider art, because that is for me the ultimate compliment.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?

JVB : That they should only design things that give them a sense of fulfillment before, during and after. But a trick on how to get where I am, is to start with the end in mind and then work backwards. This way you know when you start what probably is or isn’t the right choice to make when going down the path that you have envisioned.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?

JVB : A good designer makes designs people like on average. A great designer makes designes that pushes the boundary’s on what has been done up till know.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?

JVB : If you want to keep looking at it, and want to keep discovering new details, that is what I consider really good design.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?

JVB : Because if you find a design that suits you and your personality, it will give you positive energy every time when you look at it.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?

JVB : I still have the vision to created a 3D metal hollow face of myself. This is based on a mental story of me, but when it is finished, I hope to inspire everybody who sees it.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?

JVB : My own 3D metal hollow face.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?

JVB : It need to make me happy, move and proud.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?

JVB : Banksy, Joseph Klibandsky and Jeff Koons

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?

JVB : I have no favorite design. There are so many different designes out there that give so much different thoughts and emotions that there is always a specific design of a specific moment.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?

JVB : Steel U, because it makes it possible for the client to literally create a physical personal design. A lot of times in designing I see that the person where the design is for, is only mentally involved. This way the person is not able to also enjoy the physical part of the journey, what I find very important.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?

JVB : Always stay open minded. Listen to others what they have to say, but still remain true to yourself in making the choice what seems right or wrong.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?

JVB : Being an entrepreneur in the bulk-conveying sector. I grew up in that industry so it feels quite naturally to me to be operating that field.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?

JVB : Design is for me the realization of a vision regarding a certain form or function.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?

JVB : My wife and parents have been supporting me from the beginning and having them to be also very openminded, makes the journey even better.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

JVB : Thinking outside the box. And sometime even going against the grain.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?

JVB : Because I did not grew up in a world of design I did not know where to start, so what I did was just talk about it with everybody who was willing to listen. This way I met new people who could help me and bring me one step further every time. Because there are so many great designers out there, the confidence that I was good enough as a designer was not very big. But despite that, I just kept going one step at a time, what eventually led me to this point.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?

JVB : In the way they want, not what the masses want.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?

JVB : I have an idea for a tree made from forged metal and concrete what will serve as a dining table. After that, to be honest, I don’t know but hopefully more objects that make people think.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?

JVB : That people know my work and what I am capable of so that more amazing project will follow in the future.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?

JVB : That the designs are bold and push the boundary’s for what has been done so far. But also that if a client works with me in a project, that they feel they are truly part of the journey.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

JVB : Design has the possibility to make people think about the impact of there choices in the short and longterm.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?

JVB : My current focus is just on the A’ Design Award competition. This idea started 2 years ago to join and now I am here competing. I want to enjoy this as much as I can, because for me, this is truly special.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?

JVB : Steel U, because it was only an idea at first, but now it may become the start of a new chapter in my life. This project has been giving me so much positive energy and satisfaction in every aspect. I made me realize what true fulfillment is.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?

JVB : Less computer designing and more physical works, people should work with there hands more. This way I think the designs will become even better because you don’t just see change but you can literally feel it.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?

JVB : I think that the future of design will be more representing why and how, not just what.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?

JVB : If I make a design without reused materials, this will be on average 3 months. The design takes about 2 to 3 weeks to make and then depending of course on the size, 2 to 2,5 month to build. If I use reused material for example that needs to get the colour from just the rain, in can take even up to 2 years. This was also the case with Steel-U.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?

JVB : I always start with getting to know to client on a personal level. This way I can make the design true resemble the clients personality. Then after that, I will make a design that after approval will go into production. This way I can ensure that every design is truly one-off.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

JVB : A goal without a plan is a wish.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?

JVB : Design sets the trends.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?

JVB : A lot of time I see that people only use the latest technology as if it is a limitation on what they can use. But for example I use forging from the medieval period in some designes in combination with the latest plasma-cutting technology. This way you can apply the technology what is required to give the right emotion to a design. It is about balance not about exclusion.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?

JVB : I use pencils and paper for the design itself but AutoCad Inventor for production drawings. Then for production I use everything in my work-shop that is required to give the right end-result.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?

JVB : By using the right colours, materials and ambient you can give emotion to an object. I personale don’t work with paint for coloring because I want the material to shine and not be covered. This does give challenges during designing, but in the end are always worth it.

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?

JVB : If would be possible if I could also make a design for them.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?

JVB : I forget about the rest in that moment and only see the design.

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?

JVB : To be honest I don’t know, but I prefer to work on my own.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?

JVB : My wife and parents. They are always the only ones I check with what they think of the design because they look at it with a different perspective. This way it keeps me sharp, but in the end I always make the design as how I feels it needs to be.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?

JVB : To be honest; I haven’t read any books regarding design.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?

JVB : By just keep trying to learn new skills.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?

JVB : Simon Sinek, Ross Edgley and Jeff Koons.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?

JVB : I still have the feeling that is a bit unreal. Because when I looked at the footage of A’ Design Awards of a few years ago, I thought; one day I will be there also and it has become reality. It literally is a dream coming true.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?

JVB : Dark purple, somewhere in nature, ramen noodles, spring, watch and Rolls Royce.

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?

JVB : Something I forget how big and heavy a design is when finished. This realization became very clear when the desk was made for the office. It was so big and heavy that there were only two options. One, taking out the entire outside wall of the build. Or two, lifting it up with five people in parts to get in the office. To then finishing it on the spot. The thing was, it weight was 500kg..

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?

JVB : When I'm designing it makes me so happy that it keeps motivating me to continue. It is such a great feeling to have that every day.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?

JVB : No, everybody thought I would become a chef.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?

JVB : That I hope that we realize that we need to work together with the planet and not against it.

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?

JVB : That if someone like me can achieve his goals, you can do it also.



Steel U Bar Table

Steel U Bar Table by Joey van Beek

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