With such a wide design focus at OPUMO, from clothing and art to interior design and architecture, we like to talk to the experts from every discipline. We’ve covered fashion, speaking to the people behind A Day’s March, Kestin Hare, CQP, VOR, Frescobol Carioca and more, now it’s time we shine a light on the world of interiors. Who better to explain the craft than Nicemakers?
Nicemakers is an interior design studio based in Amsterdam founded by partners Dax and Joyce. While Dax worked in marketing communication, Joyce gained interior design experience before joining forces to create the studio. Their portfolio includes private and public spaces in the Netherlands, Toronto, Paris and Marbella that are all tied together by a homely, authentic aesthetic that’s stylish and intuitive. We caught a spare moment with Dax to talk about the city of Amsterdam, Dutch design, and the best part of his job.
What were your first memories of recognising the importance of interior design?
For me on a personal level this started at a very young age. When I was a kid I was always motivated by my mother to paint and decorate my own room in the way I wanted. Every birthday from the age of six my grandmother gave me a subscription to a local art lending company, you could choose art from their collection to keep or swap each month. Since I was little I experienced what interior design could do for you and have a positive or negative effect on your mood and behaviour.
When I got older I moved into my own flat which I decorated with my collection of artworks and design objects – I loved it. Even then, though, I never thought of working as an interior designer, I was getting ready for a job in advertising.
Does Amsterdam affect the way you approach your craft? How does the city inspire you?
In a way it does, Joyce and I live in the city centre of Amsterdam and have our office along one of the beautiful canals called "Keizersgracht". Everyday we walk from our home to our office and back and the Dutch rarely close their curtains so you can always peek into people’s homes and have a look at the variety of interiors and architectural details. I always find this inspiring.
How do Dutch people approach interior design in comparison to other cultures?
That's hard to say for the Dutch in general. I think most of the Dutch prefer practicality over design and they're not used to spending a lot of money on it. This means that they also change their interiors after a couple of years where in some cultures people buy more special pieces which they carry with them for the rest of their lives. In my opinion, that’s how interiors age and grow in character, but there are Dutch people who agree with that and like to be surprised with beautiful pieces from all over the world, that's the kind of client who finds us.
Do you prefer working on residential interiors or business interiors?
This changes all the time for us… I think I like the fact that we're doing a mix of projects. We have some amazing residential projects for great clients at the moment which I’m really loving, but the hotel projects that we're working on at the moment are also amazing – I can't choose!
What are the key ingredients when it comes to a successful interior design space?
For me it's a question of balance between finishes, furniture, lighting and art. A successful interior design reflects the client’s personality, interests and way of living. It shouldn’t look too new and should be in line with the architecture of the building, its history and environment.
What intrigues you about spaces and how people interact with them?
I love to sit in a hotel lobby and observe people who are entering the space and look at their reaction or behaviour; an interior can make people calm or active, happy or sad, I find that really interesting.
Do your ideas about interiors translate into your own home? Can you describe what your home looks like?
We have an apartment in the centre of Amsterdam where we stay three nights a week, the rest of the week we're in our house in the forest about an hour’s drive from Amsterdam. Both interiors are very different. Where our Amsterdam home is a bit more colourful and alive, our home in nature is more toned down and focussed on relaxation and recharging. Our Amsterdam space is geared towards a working life and social events while our other house is focussed on disconnecting from the busy life in the city.
What are your other interests outside of interior design & how do they propel you in your work life?
Travelling and architecture. Travelling brings me a lot of inspiration and it's where we’ve met a lot of great people, some of whom became clients. Since we work internationally, we have the opportunity to travel for business reasons but also sometimes stay a bit longer in a city in order to explore a bit. Architecture is of course close to what we do, but we're getting more and more involved in total concepts where we have a say in the actual architecture of the project instead of just the interior.
What is the most gratifying part of your job?
It's definitely the people we meet and the team of talented designers we have around us in our office. It's so special to work on our amazing projects, explore the world and grow together!