NY Design Week 2012: Looking Back at 20 Years of Kikkerland + Q&A with Founder Jan van der Lande


We’re pleased to present an abridged version of “20 Years of Kikkerland,” a print piece commemorating their ‘Vicennial’ anniversary on the occasion of the ICFF, courtesy of our friends at the Dutch-via-NYC design company. Founder Jan van der Lande was happy to indulge us with the inside scoop on particularly memorable moments of the past two decades, adding a few anecdotes to the comprehensive chronology.


A houseboat on the Hudson river on the Upper West Side of Manhattan was the home of Jan van der Lande and Kazumi Hayama and it became the (home) office for Kikkerland when Jan incorporated the business in 1992.

As the name implies (Kikkerland is a nickname for the Netherlands, and literally means frogland), the original focus of the company was to import and distribute Dutch Design. Being that there are a lot of houseboats and water in Holland, the boat was the perfect starting place for Kikkerland.

A basement on the Upper West Side served as a storage and shipping facility, and many of the clients were in New York City, so in the early days, Jan delivered most orders personally, by bike. This was the base of operations for Kikkerland from 1992 until 1995.

Bottle opener (1994) designed by Gert Jan Vogel

After studying agriculture and environmental studies, Jan changed course completely and started working at the design store Gallery 91 in Soho (1989–1991). He learned a lot about the design business there and met a number of designers.

Jan also had friends from Holland who were active in the design world. Dick Dankers and Cok de Rooy from the Frozen Fountain and Rob Dashorst from Daskas introduced him to many other designers and products from Holland. In fact, Jan has represented independent self-producing designers since 1987.

During his research and scouting trips to Holland, Jan met many designers who had recently finished art school, such as Hella Jongerius, Richard Hutten and others. It led Kikkerland to start importing their designs to the USA.

Jan helped produce the “Mouse Lamp,” designed by Martha Davis and Lisa Krohn, during his years at Gallery 91. These lamps turned out to be a precursor to Kikkerland: besides their design sensibility, these lamps foreshadowed things that define the company today: originality, humor, affordability, and environmental concern.

The “V Vase,” designed by Rob Dashorst, was one of the early successes for Kikkerland. Jan and Rob went to the same kindergarten in Holland, so they had known each other for a long time! Originally Rob wanted Kikkerland to produce these vases in the United States to save on shipping, but it turned out to be a bit more complicated than expected, so they ended up being imported from Holland.


Prior to this catalog (left)—printed in black & white except for the cover—the promotional material was photocopied, and handed out in combination with color photos. With the first color catalog in 1997 (right), Kikkerland was starting to become a real company! There would be one more Xeroxed catalog after this one, but from then on, the catalogs were printed in full color. Kikkerland relies on these semi-annual catalogs, as well as tradeshows, web sites, and packaging for promotion.

Duck Mirror” by David Dear

In the late 1980’s and early 90’s, many designers produced and distributed their designs in small quantities for design stores and museum stores. One of those stores, Mxyplyzyk in the West Village of Manhattan, was a client of Kikkerland and became an important source of information. Owner Kevin Brynan introduced Jan to a number of the designers whose products he sold in his store. (Later on, he joined Jan on several scouting trips to Asia and even now reports trends from the retail perspective to Kikkerland.)

In 1996 he introduced Jan to Chico Bicalho, who, in turn, introduced him to former classmates at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) David Dear and Jozeph Forakis. These seemingly small events turned out to have a big influence on the direction and success of Kikkerland.

The “Flip Clock” by Michael Daniel, who was another connection made through Kevin from Mxyplyzyk. Michael used to produce these robot clocks by hand with existing flip clock mechanisms. The factory that made those mechanisms burned down in the 1970s and so they were no longer produced. The whole mechanism needed to be retooled for Kikkerland production.


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I’m having a moment with this lamp right now. I don’t know what it is about the shape, but it’s so appealing to me. It could be the love child of Niche Modern pendants and chunky wooden storage vessels. It would be pretty on a side table and perfect for casting a soft glow on a dining room credenza. No matter where you put it, this Boya lamp would be darn cute. Click here to check it out in more detail and place an order (via phone). xo, grace

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Mark van der Gronden’s Storage Furniture from Repurposed Industrial Crates


We first spotted designer Mark van der Gronden’s Krattenkast (“crate cabinet”) storage units at last year’s Milan show, and now we’re pleased to see they come, like the crates they contain, in all shapes and sizes.


Dutch contract furniture manufacturer Lensvelt produces the steel frames in a variety of shapes, each filled with repurposed plastic industrial conatiners that serves as the drawers.


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Add Pensa’s DIWire Bender to Your DIYer Arsenal


Our friends at Brooklyn-based consultancy Pensa have worked with the likes of Johnson & Johnson and McDonald’s—not to mention ID idols OXO—but their multidisciplinary team has still found time to come up with independent projects such as the “DIWire Bender.”

The DIWire Bender is a rapid prototype machine that bends metal wire to produce 2D or 3D shapes.

Simply draw curves in the computer, import the file into our software and press print. Our software can read vector files (e.g., Adobe Illustrator files), Rhino or Wavefront OBJ 3D files, text files of commands (e.g., feed 50 mm, bend 90° to right…) or pure coordinates (from 0,0,0 to 0,10,10 to….). All inputs are automatically translated into DIWire motor commands. During the print, the wire unwinds from a spool, passes through a series of wheels that straighten it, and then feeds through the bending head, which moves around in 3 dimensions to create the desired bends and curves.

What could you use a DIWire for? Wire models are often needed in design, whether they are for furniture (chair leg scale models) or housewares projects (wire baskets) or even engineering parts (custom springs). But why stop at prototypes? The machine can read any data, why not output artwork from a random number algorithm, or internet data like stock prices and weather stats. You can create mass customized products, like eyeglass frames that fit, or be a street vendor printing jewelry from a person’s silhouette, on demand. And it doesn’t have to be aluminum wire; in principal the machine could bend other materials, including colored electrical wires, some plastics, memory metals, even light pipes to create small light forms. And if you don’t like the output, it could be configured to pass the bent wire through the straightener to start again.



The DIWire Bender is Pensa’s answer to the rapid proliferation of other rapid prototyping technologies, such as 3D printers and CNC machines; indeed, the tabletop device is a variation on the latter.

In recent years, 3D rapid prototyping machines have gone mainstream. And we’ve been excited to see 3D printers spreading beyond businesses to individuals, with the aid of a little DIY ingenuity (e.g., Makerbots, RepRap, etc.). All these machines work on the same principal—to create a form, they split a volume into thin slices, and build up the form by printing a layer of material and bonding it to the next. The main difference between the build technologies (SLA, SLS, FDM and others) is the material and the bonding methods.

But there are times when we need to output lines in space rather than volumes. Most 3D printing technologies are not well suited for printing thin lines because the materials are weak, the machine uses a lot of 3D-print support material, and the process is slow. The closest thing to a machine that can output lines is a CNC wire bender, but these machines are used almost exclusively for mass production in factories. They are not used for rapid prototyping because the equipment is large, expensive and takes trained personnel to run. So, we decided to make the DIWire Bender.


The concept, then, is fairly straightfoward, but it still makes more sense when you see the video. The first clip shows the machine producing a simple ‘pound’ sign, as well as a fairly complex distended helix:


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Amazing Visual Representation of Earth’s Post-Industrial-Revolution Travel Routes


Infographics are a powerful tool for communicating vast sums of information, but a far more compelling way to express data is through the unnamed combination of number-crunching, cartography and digital imaging that we first saw in Aaron Koblin’s 2009 project (which we dubbed “The United States of Airplane Traffic”).

Three years later we have an even more comprehensive version of this, done by Canadian anthropologist Felix Pharand. Pharand spent 13 years inputting not only every flight path on Earth, but every road and shipping route as well, using publicly available data and a home computer. The result is this astonishingly beautiful film entitled Anthropocene, presented chronologically and starting 250 years ago. Watch it full-screen:


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The Lamborghini Ankonian – Concept

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The Lamborghini *Ankonian. It’s black. It’s sharp. It’s just fabulous. It’s named after a bull famous for its black hair, which follows the Feruccio Lamborghini (creator of the auto brand) tradition of naming cars after bulls. This bad boy is a proposal for the first Lamborghini hybrid scheduled for 2016.

See More At The Khooll

Via Design You Trust – Design Blog and Community http://designyoutrust.com/2012/05/the-lamborghini-ankonian-c…

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Dota 2 – Amazing and Stunning Art!

With the release of Dota 2 by Valve we got amazing new redesign of their most known heroes plus a bunch of new ones. The art if simply amazing!

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dota2 05 Dota 2   Amazing and Stunning Art!
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dota2 09 Dota 2   Amazing and Stunning Art!


Via Design You Trust – Design Blog and Community http://designyoutrust.com/2012/05/dota-2-amazing-and-stunnin…

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Space Invaders Watch by Romain Jerome

The classic franchise has just signed a licensing agreement with TAITO corporation which has resulted in Swiss watch maker Romain Jerome presenting some new watches. Check out more photos of these Space Invaders Watches by Romain Jerome here!

Romain Jerome Space Invaders Watches 1 Space Invaders Watch by Romain Jerome
via HiConsumption

Via Design You Trust – Design Blog and Community http://designyoutrust.com/2012/05/space-invaders-watch-by-ro…

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