Photo by Mike Roelofs

Design studio Daphna Laurens spawns the unification of designers Daphna Isaacs Burggraaf (1982) and Laurens Manders (1984). As graduates from the Design Academy Eindhoven (in 2006 and 2008, respectively), their combined scope ranges from bespoke items to carefully crafted interior designs. Without question, their forte lies in the fabrication of objects and products.

Initially they put their efforts into creating the designs and layouts for exhibitions, first commissioned by former director of the Design Academy, Lidewij Edelkoort. Daphna Laurens are responsible for a great number of her exhibition installations, such as the Glass exhibition; Archeology of the Future; and the Talent exhibition. In late 2009, Wendy Plomp invited Daphna Laurens for an exhibition in Milan. This proved to be their first in a series of shows, now known as the Dutch Invertuals. Daphna Laurens continued to make exhibitions for Plomp, whilst simultaneously commencing on their first range of product designs. By the start of 2010, Daphna Laurens launched their very first designer object, and with great success. ‘Tafelstukken’ (transl. ‘Table Pieces’) comprises a series of lamps made from wood and porcelain. Having been awarded the DMY award after presenting the work at multiple design fairs and exhibitions, it came as no surprise when the design was welcomed into the now world famous Cappellini Collection in 2011.

Today, Daphna Laurens have designed a wide array of products, ranging from paperclips to folding curtains, and glass carafes to exhibitions. Their work has been presented by Gallerie Gosserez; Mint Gallery; Gallery S. Bensimon; and Křehký gallery, among others. Alongside an honourable place within the Cappellini Collection, their work has been added to the collections of Areaware; Label Vij5; Nationaal Glasmuseum Leerdam; Monoprix; and Jasno.

Carefully balancing aesthetics with functionality, design studio Daphna Laurens creates poetic objects as well as industrial products. With much attention to detail, priority is given to the quality of the design. “We really like the Dutch word for designer (‘vormgever’ — literally translates to ‘form-giver’), because it describes exactly what we do; giving shape to ideas, objects, product and spaces.”

Daphna Laurens applies a variety of methods to achieve their designs, largely depending on the assignment. However, one thing that characterizes the studio is the playful and intuitive approach that is wielded in the designing process. More often than once, their techniques have been compared to those of the surrealists or Les Automatistes, who employed automatic writing and drawing to create forms, texts and shapes that the rational mind is not capable of generating. Often times, this leads to hundreds of drawings and collages of a similar style, from which the most interesting images are selected and cultivated. By associating freely, the images are likened to recognisable forms, such as the side view of a chair, or a birds-eye view of a stool, for example. The results of this method have often led to nice surprises, as in the case of the studio’s signature paperclip.

Daphna Laurens creates unique products in carefully chosen materials and colour schemes, that stand out due to their simplicity and excellent finish.

A brief Q & A:

Who is Daphna Laurens?

We are Daphna Isaacs Burggraaf and Laurens Manders, and together we are Daphna Laurens.

When was Daphna Laurens conceived? And what brought the two of you together?

Daphna Laurens came into being gradually and naturally — its conception was effortless and never needed a second thought. We’ve been working under the moniker Daphna Laurens since 2012, but in reality we have worked together since 2008. Back then, when we just started out, each of us still used our own name for our businesses. By late 2011, we thought it was time for us to find an affiliated name. We decided on Daphna Laurens due to a chance encounter; an online image of our work was captioned under this name. As such, we co-opted someone else’s mistake as our company name.

Where lies your focus in the commissions you receive and the designs you bring forth? What is the mission and vision of studio Daphna Laurens?

Ultimately, we want to create beautiful, compelling and sustainable products which are cherished by their owners and therefore kept for a long time. In the case of designing exhibitions or interiors we wish to generate a positive effect on the visitors, and to inspire or amaze them.

What are your backgrounds in terms of studies and (working) experiences?

Daphna was born in Colombia and raised in Wageningen. She graduated from the Design Academy in 2006 and has lived in Eindhoven since commencing her studies there, not counting a brief intermezzo of living in Amsterdam for 1,5 years after graduation.

Laurens was born in Eindhoven and raised in Best. He graduated from the Design Academy in 2008 and has also lived in Eindhoven since the beginning of his studies.

Generally speaking, what materials have your preference, and why? Where lies your expertise and focus in terms of materials and techniques?

As a rule, we don’t pick our materials until we have completed a design. But generally speaking there is a tendency towards natural materials such as wood and metal. This isn’t necessarily a preference as much as it is a practicality.

Why did you choose to participate In4nite?

We really like to work together with large-scale companies. What we bear in design skills, we lack in technical abilities. Therefore, it is a wonderful opportunity to work with somebody who has an abundance of knowledge in this field.

What will be your approach for this project? Sketches, deliberations, research?

This will most likely be a process of trial and error; testing the material in various production methods and learning more about its qualities. Once we know more, we’ll be able to create a design that fits our style.

Where, to your mind, lies the biggest challenge?

Our biggest challenge will be to create a 3D object from a one-dimensional material. In this sense, the material is very exciting to us, because we do not yet know the full scope of its capabilities.