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Miffy gets a new house

After a successful collaboration with various Dutch fashion designers, the Centraal Museum Utrecht has commissioned design duo Atelier Remy & Veenhuizen to create a series of furniture for the Dick Bruna House.

By Cassandra Pizzey / 23-02-2012

She may be the world’s favourite bunny - Dick Bruna’s lovable character Miffy - and in Utrecht there is an entire museum dedicated to her and her creator’s works.

A four-year project - which started last year with Miffy and fashion - aims to form a bridge between the Dick Bruna house and other creative disciplines such as design, fashion, music and art. This year museum director Edwin Jacobs chose designers Tejo Remy and René Veenhuizen to revamp the first floor of the Dick Bruna house and create a furniture series fit for such a famous rabbit.

“After seeing the Saved by Droog project in Milan a few years back, I was so excited, I bought the entire series,” says Jacobs. “Together with Remy and Veenhuizen I had a very inspiring talk about this project and it convinced me to ask these Utrecht designers for the museum’s next project.”

Remy and Veenhuizen were asked to design an entirely new interactive exhibition for the first floor, incorporating furniture and displays for Bruna’s drawings.
“We basically took a house and projected a number of rooms in the available space,” says Veenhuizen. “There is a kitchen area, a bedroom, a living room and a garden, for instance. “
Most of the furniture was specially made for the exhibition such as the ‘cloud’ tables which consist of carboard tubes and a wood-veneer tabletop. “The whole thing has been vacuum packed to create the uneven effect on the surface,” explains Remy.

But how did the designers approach such an important commission? “At first we were unsure,” says Veenhuizen. “We looked at the story books and instead of designing literally, we took a certain feeling from them. But we tend to have a very hands-on approach, we start creating and see what rolls out.”

Which is exactly how the unusually-shaped bookcase and chairs came to be. Experimenting with a hard plastic foam and soft material casing, the duo came to shapes which look as though they are filled with air. “It was a great material experiment as the foam acts as water, seeping through every seem and hole. Finally we found a tent-like material used in the shipping industry which would act as a barrier.”

The designers have certainly created products which balance between what the Dick Bruna books portray, and their own aesthetic. Or as Veenhuizen puts it: “Miffy would have bought it!”
Taking abstract forms from the book, the duo have even made a wonderful graphic design in an unexpected colour combination which adorns curtains and a wall. “We’re very pleased with the end result,” say the designers. “the atmosphere is good and people are interacting with the pieces, it’s really come alive.”

The exhibition is bound to attract a host of visitors who would usually skip this part of the Centraal Museum, and puts Miffy in an entirely new context, as a design lover. 

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