14 March 2017 | Hutspot Interviews

Hutspot Interviews | Angela Willemsen

It’s time to introduce you to Angela Willemsen! Angela works as an independent designer in Rotterdam. She has recently launched SEGMENTS, which is now on sale at Hutspot Rotterdam and Hutspot Eindhoven (in ‘the Design Shop’).

Hi Angela, could you tell us a little bit more about SEGMENTS?
SEGMENTS is a series of decorative wall objects. By creating shadows they add a dynamic element to the often static interior. The wall objects interact with the existing natural- and artificial light by partially blocking it, forming a shadow that completes the shape of the object. The silhouettes on the wall will differ each moment of the day. I strive to design a new way of escaping the standard and static interior.

Hutspot Angela Willemsen

When did you decide to become an entrepreneur/designer?
I’ve always known that I wanted to work independently in the field of art and design. As a kid, I was very creative and always liked visiting museums. It still took me a while to figure out in which direction I wanted to pursue and what drives me. I started studying fine arts, but then switched to product design. Now, as a graduated product designer, I look beyond the conventional boundaries of my discipline. My work is boundless between product design, interior architecture and art. It now seems really logical for me to combine these disciplines and I believe it defines me as a designer.

Do you remember the 1st time someone bought 1 of your products? How did that feel?
Of course I do! At first, it feels a bit weird that people are actually willing to pay for something you’ve designed. The process from idea to product takes quite some time and you never know if it’s going to be worth the investment. Selling a design gives you the reassurance and the motivation to continue.

What have been the ups & downs of having your own business?
I’ve always known I wanted to work self-initiated, and I still love it. I’m able to set my own deadlines, make my own choices and set my own goals. Of course, having your own business can also be tough. My work is not as ‘understandable’ as for example a chair or a vase, which sometimes makes it difficult for people to get. People judge quickly and representing your own work can sometimes feel quite intense. Luckily, reactions have been mostly positive!

Hutspot Angela Willemsen

Where do you get your inspiration from?
I’m inspired by the dynamics of ever-growing urban areas, so living in the city centre of Rotterdam fits me perfectly! I’m not necessarily on the look out for new ideas as it is something that I can not force. I often accidentally notice something which inspires me to work with. I use elements such as the incidence of light, perspectives and weathering as an inspiration for new and dynamic interior concepts. The end results are rarely purely functional. For me, it’s important to use my inspiration as a guide to form, function and material. My projects vary from small interior objects to larger spatial concepts and are often space-related.

What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Well… I still have lots of plans. First up is a new production load of SEGMENTS, which are produced locally and in small quantities. I’m already running out of the first load, which is a good sign! SEGMENTS is made with two ‘standard’ stone types: Carrara Marble and Belgian Bluestone. Besides that, I produce limited editions in more unusual stone types such as Anröchter Grünstein. Also, I am hoping to release SEGMENTS internationally next year. I would also like to cooperate more with other designers in the future.

Hutspot Angela WillemsenWhat do you do when you’re not working?
Working as an independent designer means working round the clock: my thoughts never stop and my to do list keeps on growing. I do like going out with friends for a drink or a bite to eat. I also like reading magazines, but I guess this can also be considered work related. Whether I am working on existing or new projects, reaching out to retailers or creating social media content: I am always busy. I’m just not made for a full time job from 9:00 till 17:00.

Imagine your work space is on fire and you can only save 3 things. What would these 3 things be?
I actually have the privilege of having two workspaces: one at home and one for the dirty work like making models etc. First thing I’d safe would be my agenda. I work very structured and I like to plan. In here are (of course) my appointments, but also my to do lists and notes. Next thing would be my hard drive. Work related files are also automatically backed up online, but I wouldn’t risk losing it. Last, but definitely not least, I would grab as much tools as possible!

Photo credits: Manon van Wezenbeek

Angela’s SEGMENTS is available at Hutspot Rotterdam and Eindhoven.