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Jan des Bouvrie

Jan des Bouvrie (1942-2020) has often been credited with ‘having painted the Netherlands white’.

Born into a family of furniture retailers, Jan went to the Rietveld Academy for fine arts & design in Amsterdam and subsequently established a name for himself with his 1969 design of the ‘Kubus’ (Cube) sofa for furniture brand Gelderland, still in production today.

When a client ordered one upholstered in white, it was like a light went on in Jan’s mind. He became a strong advocate of white, clean lines and open spaces, at a time when the average Dutch interior was rather stuffy and traditional.

Jan des Bouvrie quickly became a household name, because he turned his hand to everything, from furniture to industrial design, from ostensibly mundane objects to large-scale architectural projects. Many of his designs—and Jan himself—won numerous prestigious awards, and rightfully so. In 1993, he and his wife, Monique, set up ‘Het Arsenaal’, a leading interior and lifestyle store, which also housed Jan’s studio.

The two Jans—Te Lintelo and Des Bouvrie—went back longer than both cared to remember and collaborated until Des Bouvrie’s death, aged 78.

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