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Profile: Tim Teven

The studio of product designer Tim Teven is a calm space mainly filled with inspiring materials in different textures and with various tools. It is located in Eindhoven the Netherlands in a quiet neighborhood. 

The urge to make things was in Tim since he was a kid. It is his curiosity about how things are made that pushed him to join Sint Lucas Design school when he was 17. Four years of this school were quite basic studies nothing ‘high-end’ for him. While at the same time, it was a good base for further studies in arts and design, sort of a pre-school before moving his education further and joining studies at Design Academie Eindhoven. He graduated in 2018 with projects Recycling Reject and Ductile Assembly.

Being focused on the making process includes researching and understanding different purposes and properties of the material. So it is natural that as a starting point Tim Teven is working with materials, industry and production methods. 

Handling materials in an unconventional way are expanding possibilities and opening up the horizon of undiscovered textures and applications (of that new material). These ‘surprises’ which were created by countless experiments Tim translates into technical and visually attractive detail. From the beginning of the design process and throughout research he combines the technique into sustainable and attractive looking products.

This healthy obsession with design and art for Tim just happen naturally. His friends since childhood were ‘artsy’ as well: ‘You know, we were this group of skateboarders. One — photographer, another — graphic designer. We did a lot of graffiti and going to a design school was a very natural outcome.’ 

It’s interesting that Tim’s parents are not connected to the design industry directly — they are both working at a steel company. His dad was always very handy and creative by making things for the house, for example, chairs, garden construction, and etc. Perhaps this could’ve had been a bridge to Tim Teven creative future.

Nevertheless, both parents supported their kid’s dream: ‘If this kind of study would be available to them like it was available to me, they would both do it. But my parents came from a different era and a different part of the Netherlands. Kind of area where you go to school which is within a 20 km radius around your village and there was no design or art school. Then you couldn’t just go there and there was no internet to find it.

I think it’s very interesting to make objects that end up in peoples lives. I think in a quite industrial and technical way.’ as Tim explains.

A chance to work with diverse companies and industries gives him an opportunity to bring different techniques and materials from the industrial field into a domestic environment.

This process works well for all connected parties, as it gives new insights into big production industries as well as to the customer and the designer himself. It’s a fascinating process of involving people around Tim’s passion to create that finalized minimalistic well-made product.

Connecting the industry, materials, and techniques to the domestic domain — this is what keeps Tim moving. The process of endless search of opportunities within industries brought him all of the products he has ever made. 

For example, by using waste material from a paper factory or a technique used for making washing machine panels he has produced a unique furniture and introduced it into a new user field. 

In terms of production Tim does a lot himself, it includes the developing of new tools and tricks to get to the desired result. In this way of production, learning comes by doing and that makes easier to further develop the product especially when other people are involved.

‘Recycling Reject’ is a popular project from Tim Teven. It came to him when he visited one of the Dutch factories and saw how many paper fibers go to waste. 

The paper can be recycled up to 5-6 times only, afterward it’s a waste. As designer explains he ‘had the urge to start looking for a purpose’ for this particular material waste. Eventually, the purpose formed in a series of furniture pieces which were participating in many exhibitions throughout the Netherlands. The experiment demonstrates one of the new ways of solution to their waste problem. 

‘If you compare this material to a pressed cheap wood — then, it is an expensive material. But, comparing it to a natural stone — that is a cheap material. It’s not that simple, there are a lot of different components in it. Currently, I’m trying to get to this level of the material properties so it would be possible to compare it for example to a marble because then you’ll have a good competition.

Marble is indeed a natural material, but taking a marble out of the mountain is of course absolutely not a sustainable way of gaining your materials plus it takes a lot of energy. So it would be very good if you could switch from marble to a recycled look-alike which is produced efficiently.’

— Tim Teven talking about his project Recycling Reject (photo above).

Future of this sustainable material for Tim looks bright, he would like to use it in different shapes and maybe work on more durable properties.

The idea to make a series named Pressure Vases came from Tim’s interest in forces applied to the material:

‘By applying force and using it in a controlled way you can influence the behavior of a material. I was doing several experiments connected to this and one of them was pressing tubes until they start to yield. Beautiful folds and shapes appeared emphasizing the plasticity of the usually very solid and hard steel.’

‘The technique is not only for aesthetics but also holds in the bottom disc to close the bottom of the vase. Then by powder coating it the steel is protected for damage and corrosion and the shape of the vases is more visible.’

The colors were selected specifically to work well together with the shape. Some colors make it look very soft and others give extra shine to the folded shapes.

Two years ago Tim’s aim was to open a platform that will help with the production of other designers in need and help factories with new views on their own capabilities. But currently Tim is enjoying more developing his own projects in which he finally saw potential worth pursuing: 

‘For now, I’ve got very enthusiastic about starting my own design studio first and of course I’ll gain a lot of knowledge which I can use later on in many ways, for example helping other designers with their production’.

‘I don’t consider myself a brand. I’m a designer and I work and want to work with different other people in the design field. Maybe one day I will have my own brand.’ — Tim Teven