My Childhood Hero, Jan des Bouvrie
06 oktober 2020 
in Future
3 min. read

My Childhood Hero, Jan des Bouvrie

"It's Saturday evening, I'm already in my pajamas, bowls of paprika chips are ready, glasses filled with cola on the table. Together with my parents and little brother, I'm all set. My weekly highlight: TV Woonmagazine. What is he going to think of and create today? There he grabs his black marker and begins to sketch in his white book. I'm so eager to see what this will look like in reality! The construction team gets started right away, and in the meantime, they go shopping, looking for the right items so it will turn out exactly like his interior design. Marvelous! I can hardly wait for next week's episode."

Vision of Living

The remarkable man I just wrote about passed away on Sunday, October 4, 2020, at the age of 78. I'm talking about Jan des Bouvrie, my childhood hero. A titan in the Dutch interior design world. 

jan des bouvrieJan des Bouvrie August 3, 1942 - October 4, 2020

When you ask a Dutch person about Jan des Bouvrie, two words likely come to mind: 'white' and 'symmetry.' His approach to design not only modernized Dutch homes but also deeply influenced the country's perspective on interior spaces. Des Bouvrie's philosophy went beyond aesthetics; he sought to integrate functionality and personal significance into living spaces, making him a beloved figure in the Netherlands and a respected name in design internationally.

Whether or not you're a fan of his portfolio, Jan had a vision for living. He could explain why certain furniture pieces or interventions were necessary, for instance, to make a space feel lighter and more spacious. He also linked activities to interior items, inviting you to dream about how wonderful it would soon be to read the newspaper at that table, in that spot. This way of thinking is what I see as the legacy of my childhood hero. For me, even then, this was the essence of living.

Jan was born in 1942 in Naarden. An only child, he attended the Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam after high school. After completing his studies, he worked for some time in his parents' furniture store. In 1969, he broke through with the Cube Sofa, a design that remains a classic sold to this day. This piece symbolizes the modernization of Dutch home decor and is included in the collections of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Centraal Museum in Utrecht. Eventually, two design schools were named after him. In 2009, Jan des Bouvrie was knighted in the Order of the Netherlands Lion, and last year he celebrated his 50th anniversary in design.

jan des bouvrie kubusbank

Jan des Bouvrie - Cube Sofa 1969

Different Times

Nowadays, aesthetics, beauty, and trends seem to dominate the home decor industry. Regrettably, because that's not what our profession should be about! We don't believe in a 'one size fits all' house style or signature. Of course, it's important to know what you find beautiful, but more crucial is to explore: "Why do you find something beautiful? Why do you want it so much? What does it bring you? What makes you intensely happy? If you know that, then your interior will also remain beautiful. This awareness makes not only your interior but especially your life even more beautiful. That's why at Masters of Interior Design, we design interiors for now and for the future. Across time, because timeless does not exist.

"Where Jan des Bouvrie in the 1970s transformed the brown living rooms with frills into sleek white, bright living spaces, we want to transition to functionality and personal significance. Interiors specifically designed for you, for a life fully on your own terms."

Goodbye, Jan,

I (oddly enough) never met you in person, but I am very grateful for all your work and inspiration. Because of you, from a young age, I knew what I wanted to become, and that was wonderful. And now - to this day - it remains a beautiful profession to be able to practice. You can make so many people happy with it. Thank you.

Marc Müskens
Institute of Interior Impact

About the author
Marc Müskens (1983, The Netherlands) is fond of contrasts and stories. He likes to interact with all kinds of people, in different places. Marc can enjoy the smallest things and create unforgettable experiences. With his continuous hunger for physical and mental challenge, this is 'Living on Your Own Terms' for him. The feeling of freedom.
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