Ingrid Kluvers talks to Joris Sparenberg
“A great idea is not yet a product that conquers the world,” says Joris Sparenberg. “Having enough time, drive and patience are just as important as a great idea to make a design a success.”

When did you start? 
“I once studied Industrial Design at the TU Delft. After I graduated, I preferred to be my own boss.” Initially, he became a furniture maker in Rotterdam and did interior renovations and reconstructions, work that required a lot of physical strength. “Back problems forced me to switch to a more small-scale approach. On a shelf in my bookcase, the sketches I made during college beckoned. Ideas I had never fully completed, but that were definitely of use.”

And the idea for Vase was among those sketches?
“Vase was mostly a flash of inspiration. It had to be simple and subtle; radiate tranquility and balance. Perhaps everything that I was looking for in that period of my life,” he says. We are talking above his workshop; sitting among the machines he made himself to produce the vases. In ten years time, over 140,000 pieces have been sold.

It was a flash of inspiration. It had to be simple and subtle; radiate tranquility.

Was it a golden idea?  
“My brother immediately saw that it was a promising prototype. That was the push I needed to take serious action. Only after designing the most optimal packaging, I approached Dutch department store De Bijenkorf in Amsterdam. The people there were very enthusiastic and instantly ordered one thousand Vases, so it was getting really serious! I had to make machines that could produce Vase in large quantities. Fortunately, I had already thought about that.”

You also developed other objects?
“Yes, in between all the Vases, I was asked to design a large clock for a building in Rotterdam. The concept of our wall clock Birdy is an offspring of that design.”

One of his other brainchildren is Little Vibes, which is a small desk toy that is all about heat, movement, and sound. A table lamp is also ready to be produced. All of the objects make people happy because they are pleasantly surprising and have been made with dedication and love.

What will the future bring?  
Sparenberg shows an intriguing 3D object. It’s a smiley, but when you turn it, it looks sad. “This is one of my 3dFlipThings and it came about in much the same way as my other products. It begins with an idea, I think about how it functions, and start looking for the most suitable material and the best shape. Eventually, I make a prototype and go into the technology for serial production.”

An app has also been developed; the 3dWordFlip app. You can enter any two names or words into this app and a unique, 3D printable object is automatically created. If you want, you can order it right away. The 3dWordFlip is the ultimate match between the buyer’s wishes and Sparenberg’s inventiveness.


Tekst Ingrid Kluvers