I SPY #1 Peeking into Rein Reitsma’s home

This post is also available in: Nederlands

Welcome to the very first I SPY, the series where we peek into the homes of interesting people. The first victim is Rein Reitsma, a Rotterdam designer who likes to experiment with different (often everyday and recycled) materials when creating objects.

Rein does not necessarily choose the easiest way to make his products and often comes up with new ideas and production methods. A great example is his experiment “It’s a strap!”, in which he made use of plastic pallet straps to make all sorts of things: from a tennis racket to a chair.

Rein has clearly also used his creativity and design skills for his own home. For example, in the living room there is a self-built big multifunctional closet and the kitchen is also almost completely designed by himself.

Of course we were curious about his home and asked him all kinds of questions during our home invasion. Read the Q&A below and take a peek into his home with us.

The photos in this article were taken with a Nikon L35AD analog camera.

Rein is holding one of his favourite items: a cool thermos he got at a thrift store.

Do you have a product with a story?

Actually, almost every object in my house has a story. But from my grandfather I inherited a complete series of photo books and a collection of analog cameras.

Every now and then I take some of his books from the shelf. The nice thing about this is that that legacy continues to inspire. Experimenting with his cameras is my next project.

Rein’s collection of photo books he inherited from his grandfather.

What is your favorite item at home?

My couch, haha! That is really my place in the house to relax. Previously I had a very nice, but rather small, LeoLux from the 80s. Until I found this one, from the IKEA PS-2012 collection, on Marktplaats. A super deep sofa, where you can lounge just like on a bed, but it also looks good! So glad I found this sofa, because it is no longer in production.

Another favourite product in my house is the retro thermos I bought from the thrift store. I especially love the shape of it, but it is not very practical, because the water always drains along the side.

Do you have something in the house that you would like to smash and why?

If so I had, I would have already done that, haha! I don’t want to have stuff around me that bothers me.

Although, at the moment I still have a very heavy Gispen Bureau that I want to get rid of. I don’t want to work at home anymore, so that makes this desk unnecessary. My parents are taking it over, because it also used to be my grandfather’s desk.

Rein is trying to solve a rubik’s cube, while lounging on his vintage IKEA PS-2012.

What is the last product you made?

Wooden toys. A play set of wooden slats that you can click on pencils. This is how you make a construction set from your own pencils. With these products I took part in the Hema design contest of 2020.

How do you see your future as a designer?

Because I like to work with everyday materials or production waste, I think there is a good future for my work. Especially now that we are again in the middle of a crisis because of Covid.

In addition, my work is optimistic and often puts on a smile, which is also something that we can all use now!

Sitting area in Rein’s home. The orange blinds are a unique addition to his home. Other cool details: the all-white Wassily chair by Marcel Breuer and the Paola Piva coffee table.

Where do you get your inspiration for your own designs?

Usually the first step is a material in which I see a lot of potential. But it can also be a technique. For example, I am more and more immersed in weaving, and I still want to learn to knit. What kind of design comes out of this will only become apparent when I’m working on it, that’s what makes my profession so much fun.

What is the favourite item that you have designed yourself?

Currently my ‘RazzleDazzle’ project. These are modular shapes that I get from production waste. With those plastic puzzle pieces you can make all kinds of 3D shapes. For now I have made baskets, lamps and sculptures.

One of the pieces of Rein’s ‘RazzleDazzle’ project.

Is sustainability important to you in your designs?

It is not a first goal, but I am clearly a kid of this day and age. Seeing potential in everyday (residual) material, and not wanting to waste it anyway, is really in my nature.

How does a product come about for you?

Through a lot of trial and error, trying, trial and error. I never go for the easy way!

Quirky details on the wall, such as the two wrestle masks from Mexico.

Who is your favorite designer?

Favourite sounds a bit crazy, but I like to do a little shout out to Bertjan Pot, Susan Bijl and Adrianus Kundert.

Which (vintage) item would you really kill for?

Well, I would not go as far as murder, but a Revolt chair by Friso Kramer, in good condition, is still on my imaginary wishlist.

Dilemma, which of the two would you choose if you really had to choose:

Chaos or minimalism 

Bed or couch 

Plastic or cardboard 

Giving up sex or giving up designing

The people of Laaf on your windowsill or “Live, Laugh, love” on your bedroom wall

Thanks Rein! Check out Rein’s work via reinreitsma.nl. Feel like spying on more people? Check out the other I SPY victims.

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