The quiet village of Bergeijk, near Eindhoven, was once a hive of 20th century design activity, home to the Gerrit Rietveld-designed Weverij de Ploeg textile mill - one of the big characters of Dutch industrial modernism - and a slew of other factories and private villas by Rietveld and his peers. The factories are now closed, but Bergeijk still reflects the glory days of Dutch modernism, which two of the country's contemporary design stars - Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel (aka Studio Job) - have decided to celebrate with a new venture, aptly titled the Studio Job House.
Smeets and Tynagel have bought a four-bedroom Bergeijk villa, designed in 1960 by D L Sterenbergh, a pupil of Rietveld, and turned it into a home-cum-museum filled with furniture icons from the period, as well as reissues, contemporary pieces and some of their own creations. 'It's rare to find a small village like this that is so important to design,' says Smeets. 'When we heard the villa was for sale, we felt it was such a waste not to try to preserve this piece of history.'
Like with their Antwerp gallery, the Studio Job House acts as a framework for their own collections, yet these pieces have a more historical focus. To help fund the project, the duo - who currently have a solo show at the Groninger Museum in Groningen - also called on major producers of the period to supply some of the hardware, furniture and fittings. Van Besouw re-issued a fifties carpet for the house, while Auping delivered the classic Auronde beds designed by Frans de la Haye in 1972. Other items include a Sol LeWitt cabinet (the American spent time in Bergeijk); Mosa tiles designed by Netherlands-based Kho Liang Ie; a specially commissioned light box by graphic designer Wim Crouwel, who Smeets calls the 'last living Dutch modernist'; and new works by Maarten Baas, Atelier Van Lieshout and Piet Hein Eek. Together the pieces chart the progression of Dutch design.
Every last detail has been considered, down to the door knobs and mail box. 'We don't plan to live here but we want to convey a sense of the people that once did, to appeal to people's nosiness,' says Smeets. He has even tracked down the same model of car owned by the previous occupants - a 1972 Ford Taunus GXL Coupé - which now sits in the garage, ready for use.