07 September 2015 // Florine van Rees //Rotterdam


Recently, we got the chance to take an interview with the talented Brit van Nerven, who's work can be seen all over the world! 

 Looking at your development within design, we see experimental fashion design transform into clean product design. Is that correct? What is fashion still meaning in the works you make now?

Yes I like to explore the thin line between fashion and product design.  In my opinion my work hasn’t really changed concept wise, nor the way I think, the visual outcome is just always different.  The Seeing Glass series are as much fashion as for instance Merging skins or Veil and Reveal to me. Sometimes that makes me feel I come across as a schizophrenic designer but my necessity lies in the conceptual process, the material and colour experiment, shaping and reducing, contemplate and reflect until it has reached the story I would like the work to convey.  I try to find answers through the process, each story asks for a different outcome. Next to that I don’t like to restrict myself by putting myself in a certain straightjacket. I would like to keep on surprising myself otherwise I rather quit. To narrow it down: I like seeing myself as a ‘vormgever’ and I use several different media to tell my stories. 


What does color mean to you? What is your favorite color? 

Its definitely important for me to use colour in my work. It’s a way to give the work authenticity, expression and atmosphere. But it needs to be a symbiosis with the shape and material. That’s why every work asks for her own colour treatment.  I could work all day on mixing paint, making colour samples and surprising combinations. I tend to forget time and reason- it works meditative for me.  My mother told me that when I was in nursery school, I think even before I could count I knew all the names of the colours even the quite particular ones , like Violet, Zonnegeel, Ultramarijn… and I am still more interested in colours than numbers ; ) I don’t have one favorite colour, but favourite colour- combinations. Like dark green versus bright pink or deep blue and lemon yellow. I also like skin tones very much, and at the moment purple attracts me a lot. Black is the colour that stays in my palette forever though. 


Is there someone you look up to? Is this person an inspiration in your work? 

No, not really. But, graphic artist Sol lewitt’s work is sticking around for quite a wile. James Turell is one of my favourite artists.  And photographer Viviane Sassen is one of my favorites, mostly I find my inspiration is suggestive works and things.  For instance in fashion I am never inspired by a whole collection, but parts of it. Strange enough I only look at detail shots of runway shows. The context is gone which creates room for you own imagination.  my inspirations are mostly image still’s of moments, I like quite images. 


We’ve seen that your latest work, seeing glass, is travelling all over the world for exhibitions. What exhibition space are you the most proud of? 

Yes, Seeing glass has seen more country’s than I did haha.  But I am mostly proud of the versatility of places Seeing Glass is going. I am so happy that something that came out of our weird-thinking heads got so much appreciated all over the world.



We would like to imagine the interior of your house. Is it as clean as the way you present the design you make or is it way different? Is home an inspirational place for you? 

Yes, feeling at home is one of the most important things to me. Being a freelancer asks for flexibility. Every day is different, no routine at all, which I love though, otherwise I might get bored. But on the other hand I need a safe haven to go home to every evening. I like surrounding myself with a lot of stuff and I did collect a lot over the past few years. It’s a hodgepodge of old and new, classic design items and traditional objects. Its colourful, a bit packed and straggly but that’s how I like it. I have to say that my work, my atelier and home is a reflection of me, full of contradictions. My design process is also messy but in the end I like to narrow it down to the essence.  For me the most beauty lies in the things that are stripped of from every form of adornment. Sincere, clean and plain, which is very difficult to achieve, I think you need guts to design like that. 


What is your favorite place in the entire world, or is there a place you are really graving to visit when the possibility comes? 

I have to say at home,- wherever that is. This can be in Rotterdam or on the other side of the world. I can be happy everywhere. But I need to be amongst the people I love and understand me. I try not to search for my happiness in external things, I don’t want to bee seeking all the time.  But I would love to travel in the coming years and Papua New Guinea is on my wish list. 


You moved to Rotterdam, not that long ago. What does this city mean to you? 

Basically it means feeling at home, but it took a while. Moving here changed a lot for me both personal- as work wise. It forced me to redefine things; it raised a lot of questions but also answers. I like that Rotterdam is so honest and a bit sharp edged but once you get to know it you can really feel at home. I have to say that I am very lucky to find myself surrounded with great people. Rotterdam is definitely a city that I am planning to stay for a while, it’s treating me well.


We are really excited about your next projects; can you lift a little corner of the veil about what you are designing at the moment? 

I am working on commissioned project for VOLVO design which has it’s release during Dutch Design Week in October. Its going to be quite experimental and the outcome is still undefined but is definitely a Brit project . Next to that I am continuously working on free work which is now textile, shapes and pleads. And a lot more things but I can’t talk about that : )


Do you have selling points? 

Yes for sure! Trough me of course: Studio Brit van Nerven Rotterdam ; ) Gallery S. Ben Simon Paris, Mint Gallery London, Etage Projects Copenhagen.  Got interested? You can visit Brit her website and follow her on Facebook and Instagram. The "Seeing Glass" project is a cooperation between Brit van Nerven and Sabine Marcelis. www.vanbrit.com


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