Marjolein Delhaas is a Rotterdam based graphic designer who creates work that is both functional and stylish. Her skills in minimalism, typography, and colour results in design that is industrial in its essence, without ever losing its natural refinement.
Her persistence to analyse, organise and create evolved into the development of her own brand in 2008. Her own playground to experiment with different techniques and materials. Resulting in simple, graphic and functional everyday products, that also serves as objects of beautiful.
1. What has brought you to where you currently are in your life?
I followed my gut feeling, at my own pace, with a touch of bravery. Although I am far from fearless. Everything I have or am now, I manifested and visualised long ago, but I only took steps when the time felt right to take them.
2. Who or what woman / women have influenced you in your like, and why?
My mom told me long ago not to be dependent of men (or anyone). I guess that has resonated in my mind growing up. It's definitely shaped me into who I am today. I have always mirrored myself with strong, independent woman, with a feminine and caring side. Woman that are not afraid to follow their own path even if it is not the easiest one. Pushing yourself from your safety zone at times is not always pleasant but gives you much in return.
3. When you are not working where will we find you?
Gardening, cooking, baking with or for my children and family. Eating or drinking with friends, outside enjoying nature, sporting, reading, watching a series or documentary and much more!
4. What is your all-time favourite trend?
When something becomes a trend I usually do not like it anymore.
But for me goes I have always loved a simple, neutral base with a (few) beautiful eye-catcher(s). It is important to give a space (or outfit) colour, spirit, and life with personal things like books, art, toys and picture.
5. What inspires you about where you live?
I live very close to the city centre of Rotterdam and at the same time very near to a beautiful lake and forest. I love the buzz of city life, the big buildings, the life around me but at the same time being anonymous. On the other hand, it is so easy to switch and ‘disappear ’in the woods on weekdays – when it is nice and quiet. I love the contrast; it fits my personality. I like to be surrounded with friends and family, but at the same time I love to be on my own.
6. Describe your dream home...
Not too big, with a beautiful garden and the kitchen as the centre of the home. With a huge table for everyone to sit, eat, drink, read, play games or chat at; surrounded with the most incredible flavours of cooking and baking of course! A place for everyone to randomly pop in, gather and laugh (or cry).
7. When working on a new project, how do you overcome fears or challenges?
I can be a huge doubter at moments and make myself crazy on the simplest choices. But it is also something I embrace. The doubt makes me question time and time again if what I am doing is good (enough), it keeps me focused.
But at times it can also be very tiring, especially because I work alone.
If I can’t make up my mind it helps to get angry with myself. As mostly I know deep down inside what to do. Or to take a break, watch a Netflix series in my studio, or take a walk. And if that does not work, I consult my partner or good friends, they are always there to give me their feedback.
8. What is your greatest accomplishment to date and what do you still want to accomplish?
Being completely independent and earning my living with the work I love. Most of the time I take for granted how special that is.
My goal has never been to sell my products in many stores in one city or country. But to have one store in every capital city around the world that would be a dream. I still have that ambition! (And of course, somewhere down the road I want that house with the huge family kitchen).
9. If you could collaborate with any woman (past or present), who would it be?
Ray Eames: I totally love the multi-disciplinary and fun approach to life and work she and her husband had, and the colourful, playfulness and timelessness of their designs. They have played an important role in the modernisation of 20th century design and were the first to take a different approach to upholstered furniture and trying to make affordable design with less.
For Ray it must have been hard and frustrating to be working in the shadow of her husband in a time where most women were housewives and not being recognised in full for their work. Imagine how she would have shined today. I think to have worked with or for their company would be such a great experience.
Mette Hay: HAY’s approach ‘that good design is everyone’s right’, is a bit like the Eames, and at the same time a goal I set when started to make my products.
I admire how HAY works together with great designers to make good, affordable design products. The idea of working together with great designers all over the world as a team and to give form to everyday products in such a cooperation makes you can produce affordable design and let everybody do what they are good at.
I see how hard it is for designers to distribute, sell and market your brand when doing it all by yourself.
Eight years ago, I was in Denmark and wanted to see if I could visit the HAY office; to introduce myself. I thought we’d make a good match, especially seeing that they also embrace the role of the perfect office / desk accessories. Unfortunately, I didn't do it, maybe I wasn't ready at that time. But HEY, there is still time!
10. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t waste your time in thinking what people think of you. Believe in yourself and let go of the fear.