Jeroen Wolterink is a well-regarded architect and interior designer from the Netherlands, whose work combines natural symbols and traditional crafts with contemporary design techniques. He speaks to Bulbul Sharma about his projects in India.
Dutch architect and interior designer Jeroen Wolterink is known for his fondness for nature. His designs seem to weave natural elements into urban settings, striking a balance … contemporary and sustainable living.
Wolterink stresses on using natural products in a way that doesn’t damage the environment. So in his designs he incorporates material like seashells, mother-of-pearl, silver leaf, and eggshells, semi-precious stones, liquid metal, and selenite stone among other things.
“For instance,” Wolterink explains, “the mother-of-pearl that we use is a ‘leftover’ material from the pearl industry. A clam gives four pearls during its lifetime. After the last pearl, the clams are sold. That is when we buy it.”
Wolterink started his career with Wolterinck Laren, a design studio and store in the Netherlands. It was here that Wolterink developed his penchant for creating nature-friendly designs. A little later, he opened his own small interior designing firm, alongside working as a creative designer at Cravt Original, a premium design firm in the Netherlands.
When working on a project, Wolterink believes in developing a “real connection” with his client. He says, “It is quite intimate in a way to build someone’s home. You can’t take it lightly; you are entering a very personal space. The clients I had the pleasure of working with, all knew my signature well in advance and of course my passion to make something truly out of the ordinary.”
About his creative approach to an assignment, Wolterink says, “First I like to have a meeting with the family to discuss their dreams and aspirations. I also like to know about their profession, the sports they practice, the hobbies they have, what they miss and what they love in their current home. I ask a lot of questions from my side to understand who they are and what they find important in life.”
According to him, the Dutch design industry draws inspiration from the varied design cultures and architectural techniques that are practiced in different parts of the world. “The Netherlands is a relatively young country and a very small one. We are known as ‘world travellers’, who are always seeking business overseas. The experience of working in different countries and observing various cultures can be found back throughout the Dutch design industry. Their [Dutch architects’] creativity has no limit and is beyond borders. Furthermore, the leading Dutch designers and architects have a strong and authentic signature. They are innovative in their work techniques and are masters in sourcing and using unique materials. On top of that, they work in an extremely structured manner and quality is the key word in everything they do,” Wolterink says.
We asked him his views on Indian architecture.
“India,” Wolterink responds, “has an unbelievable heritage of ancient architecture. I think this inspires not only me, but the entire world. The city palaces, old forts and houses, the haunting lodges and of course the Taj Mahal are truly magnificent. Also, the new generation of architects and interior designers has made enormous leaps in their field. They are constantly changing the country, and they design with a soul.”
Wolterink has been to India a few times over the course of the last two decades, and has found the work of Indian artisans truly inspiring.
The 42-year-old has recently been roped in as a creative director for INV Home, a design studio that has its stores in Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad.
“It is not often that I meet a person who shares my vision and my true passion for design, unique materials and old craftsmanship. In Nitin [Jain, founder and managing director, INV Home], I found not only an unbelievably sincere and smart businessman, but also a man with a fantastic eye for detail, who strives for perfection and has a passion for art and design. His enormous drive to achieve his goals and dreams was a true inspiration to me while creating INV’s new world of unique interiors. Together we plan to redefine the luxury interior space with international innovative techniques, Indian craftsmen and sharp vision,” Wolterink says.
Nitin Jain, on his collaboration with Wolterink, says, “Jeroen brings expertise, wide knowledge of international techniques and materials, eye for detail and unique designs, and understanding of global architectural and interior design trends. At INV Home, he plans to curate customised and innovative art pieces that are made from natural products.”
Wolterink is currently busy with the launch of a new lifestyle interior concept for INV Home, which, he says would “redefine living and luxury”.
In addition to this, he is also working on a residential project in Jodphur, Rajasthan. “It is a mix of modern architecture and traditional techniques used by Indian artisans. As soon as you enter the house you will feel the difference between this space and other houses that you have visited. But you will discover the most beautiful part about the house when you stay there for long and observe all the details that you might have missed initially. It is like walking through a book. All chapters are connected with each other,” says Wolterink.