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UNSCRIPTED with Richard Hutten: All the World’s a Playground

On UNSCRIPTED this week, celebrated Dutch designer Richard Hutten, who prides himself as a "happy artist", shares why fun is best when it’s serious.

by Zohra KhanPublished on : Jul 23, 2021

"I am not an artist who suffered a lot. I am the artist who had a happy life."

- Richard Hutten

East Holland-born Richard Hutten realised at the age of six that the pleasure he sought from making things (as against spending endless hours in front of TV as his brothers did) was something he won’t ever give up. Further stimulated by his parents' approval, who wanted him to do anything “as long as it makes him happy and that he could make a living out of it”, Hutten chose design and aced it. “I have my company for over 30 years now and there’s not a single day when I have not enjoyed going to work,” he says on UNSCRIPTED in a fun 17-minute interview where he shares unknown and interesting facts about his life.

  • Dutch designer Richard Hutten | UNSCRIPTED | Interviews | STIRworld
    Dutch designer Richard Hutten Image: Courtesy of Richard Hutten Studio
  • A photo of Hutten from 1974 | UNSCRIPTED | Interviews | STIRworld
    A photo of Hutten from 1974 Image: Courtesy of Richard Hutten Studio

As one of the most influential and globally revered industrial designers, whose creations sit as permanent collections at the Vitra Design Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Stedelijk Museum, Hutten talks about ‘making’ as his subject of passion and reasons why he doesn’t believe in the concept of a creative block. He also shares with us his fond memories from Droog Design, what he calls the craziest period of his career, and narrates a funny product swap story from 20 years ago when a chair he once received from designer Marcel Wanders in exchange of a desk for the latter’s daughter gave him equal bouts of shock and laughter.

  • Hutten is known for his playful approach to design | UNSCRIPTED | Interviews | STIRworld
    Hutten is known for his playful approach to design Image: Vincent Mentzel
  • Table Chair (Droog Design). 1990 | UNSCRIPTED | Interviews | STIRworld
    Table Chair (Droog Design). 1990 Image: Courtesy of Richard Hutten Studio
  • Dombo Mug for Gispen | UNSCRIPTED | Interviews | STIRworld
    Dombo Mug, Gispen. 2002 Image: Courtesy of Richard Hutten Studio
  • Clover stool, Taiyou&C. 2016 | UNSCRIPTED | Interviews | STIRworld
    Clover stool, Taiyou&C. 2016 Image: Courtesy of Richard Hutten Studio
  • Butterfly, Ghidini 1961. 2017 | UNSCRIPTED | Interviews | STIRworld
    Butterfly, Ghidini 1961. 2017 Image: Courtesy of Richard Hutten Studio
For me designing is a sport and creativity is a muscle that I train every day. – Richard Hutten

The 54-year-old Dutch designer’s multidisciplinary oeuvre comprising furniture, objects, interiors and exhibitions, reveal fun at their core. Be it his famous Dombo Mug that features oversized ears for handles or the iconic no nonsense Table Chair from the series No Sign of Design (part of his graduation work from Design Academy Eindhoven), playfulness and humour have guided Hutten’s vision for over a quarter of a century…and with age, Hutten believes, he is only getting better. “Fun is what I like. Fun is what my goal is. Of course, it’s a luxury but I am in a luxury position. Even if you are not in this position, you always should strive for fun,” he remarks while explaining why ‘fun’ is his most favourite word yet something which people misinterpret about him. As per Hutten, a popular misconception people have about him is that fun is not serious and that he is not serious. “When you play, you have to play serious, and that’s the only way to have fun,” adds the Rotterdam-based designer.

  • Richard Hutten with his kids | UNSCRIPTED | Interviews | STIRworld
    Richard Hutten with his kids Image: Courtesy of Richard Hutten Studio
  • “My kids are number one in my life and there is no number two.” – Richard Hutten | UNSCRIPTED | Interviews | STIRworld
    “My kids are number one in my life and there is no number two.” – Richard Hutten Image: Courtesy of Richard Hutten Studio

Hutten calls his home his castle and his most prized possession are his kids. On UNSCRIPTED this week, the Dutch design giant opens up about things many are not aware of: from a wish he wants to tick off his bucket list, his daily routine post lockdown, to when he gets his best ideas and why he doesn't like the colour black.

All this and more in the full video. Tap on the cover to watch the complete episode.

Curated by Pramiti Madhavji (Consultant, Content Adviser, STIR), UNSCRIPTED is a STIR-original series of quick-witted video interviews with leading design professionals who give us an undiscovered peek into their lives. A melting pot of quests, revelations and quirks, the series releases a new episode every Sunday as designers reveal unheard and unknown nuggets from their lives, in response to 30 questions.  

All photographs © Richard Hutten Studio. Images may not be downloaded, copied, reproduced, or used in part or whole without obtaining permission. The photographs in this video are not licensed for personal, commercial, or public use, or use in the public domain in any form.

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