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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. 

Tim had the urge to make things since when he was a kid. This curiosity about how things are made pushed him to join Sint Lucas Design school at the age of 17 years old. For him, four years in this school were quite basic, he didn’t perceive it as a ‘high-end’ studies. At the same time, it was a good base for further studies in arts and design. As a sort of a pre-school before he joined 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 the different purposes and properties of the material. So it is natural that Tim Teven chooses to work with materials, industry and production methods as a starting point. 

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

This healthy obsession with design and art for Tim just happens naturally. He describes his childhood friends as ‘artsy’: ‘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. Both of them are 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 was a bridge to Tim Teven’s 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. It gives him new insights into big production industries as well as the customer and the design itself. It’s a fascinating process of involving people around Tim’s passion to create that finalized minimalistic well-made product.

This ability connecting the industry, materials, and techniques to the domestic domain keeps Tim moving. The process of the endless search for 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, including the developing of new tools and tricks to get to the desired result. With this way of production, learning comes by doing. Therefore it is 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 is a waste. Of course, Tim had ‘the urge to start looking for a purpose’ for this particular material waste. Eventually, the purpose formed in a series of furniture pieces that 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 pressed cheap wood, it is an expensive material. However, comparing it to natural stone — makes it a cheap material. Although 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 marble, because then you’ll have a good competition.

Marble is indeed a natural material. At the same time taking a marble out of the mountain is of course absolutely not a sustainable way of gaining this material 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.

Tim got the idea to make the series of Pressure Vases when he became interested 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. One of the experiments was to press tubes until they start to yield so that beautiful folds and shapes appear. As a result, emphasizing the plasticity of the usually very solid and hard steel.

The technique is not only for aesthetics. It also holds in the bottom disc, in other words, it closes the bottom of the vase. In the end, the steel is protected from damage or corrosion with powder coating. Thankfully to colors, the shape of the vases is more visible.’

Surely Tim selected the colors specifically to work well together with the shape. Some colors give products a very soft look and others give extra shine to the folded shapes.

Two years ago Tim aimed to open a platform to help with the production of other designers in need. He wanted to help factories with new views on their own capabilities. But currently, Tim enjoys more the developing of his own projects in which he finally saw potential worth pursuing: 

‘For now, I’ve got very enthusiastic about starting my own design studio. Of course, I’ll gain a lot of knowledge along the way which I can use later on, 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 people in the design field. Maybe one day I will have my own brand.’ — Tim Teven

Photos: VVOVVA