Meet the Design Studio. Noa Verhofstad, a world of imagination & magic
We are all inspired and motivated by art done by a great design studio. The way the boundaries between them become blurred and sometimes almost disappear keeps us fascinated.
We've decided to create a series of interviews to help you discover amazing studios all around the world and be captivated by their works. Inventivity, originality, making people smile, engaging the audience on enchanting retail experiences are just some of the wonders these studios create on a daily bases.
In our first interview with this new CreativeByDefinition series, we are proud to introduce the design studio of Noa Verhofstad.
We have become instantly absorbed by their craftsmanship and creativity. We are now entering the world of imagination and magic.
CreativeByDefinition: How would you introduce your studio to people that didn’t have the chance to see your work till now?
Noa Verhofstad: In a time in which anything is possible in the field of digital image manipulation, our Studio places the focus on craftsmanship and handwork. Virtually every essential element, whether it is a photo, a film, a decor or an installation, is created and constructed by hand. Our work always exudes a sense of nostalgia and wonder. All images are composed with the utmost care and attention to detail, a process in which the choice of materials always plays a very decisive role. Paper, leather, cardboard, wool, glass or wood, they all contribute to the telling of this one story. We are working for a wide variety of clients in the worlds of fashion, art and advertising.
CreativeByDefinition: What is the message that your projects should convey to people?
Noa Verhofstad: As I said before, our work always exudes a sense of nostalgia and wonder. We search for the mysterious, the absurd and the surreal. Despite that I hope that when people look at our work they will feel the effort and the love for craftsmanship and handwork. All you see is built up from scratch.
CreativeByDefinition: How can your work help a company promoting its brand?
Noa Verhofstad: I think our studio has the skills to create a very clear atmosphere and style. We are able to create a suitable style for every client. A style that stands out by the way it is made and the feeling it brings you.
CreativeByDefinition: How do you run a creative studio in Amsterdam, any specific challenges? Do you have a big team?
Noa Verhofstad: Our permanent team consists 4 people who are very good at making all kinds of handmade objects. As we are working on many different projects (photography, stop motion, set design, film) we work next to our permanent team with different freelancers. As each project requires different skills.
CreativeByDefinition: We were fascinated by your latest project – Hermes Bangkok – Thailand "creating something extraordinary" – can you please describe it a little? How long does it take to create such a project?
Noa Verhofstad: This was a special project because the entire set was produced in Bangkok. Together with 1 of my technical assistants I have worked out the entire design in detail. We have made visual renders and technical drawings. We specified every detail so the production team in Thailand knew exactly how to make it. We kept in close contact with the Thai team during the entire process by Skype and emailing back and forth. Two weeks before the actual set up, me and my assistant flew to Bangkok. We visited the various factories and craftsmen and discussed the final details. It was quite a special experience and in particular because there are still many real artisans working in Thailand. In the field of woodworking, for example. It was an extraordinary change to work with such good craftsmen, as in the Netherlands those skills are almost disappeared.
CreativeByDefinition: You collaborate for quite some time with Hermes brand, can you please tell us more about this collaboration. How does it all work?
Noa Verhofstad: I already work together with Hermes for 6 years now. And it is an honour to work for them. Especially because they give the artists a lot of freedom to create something special. Because of Hermes I was able to work in many different countries which is something I absolutely adore.
CreativeByDefinition: Is set-design a competitive market? How do you navigate through? How do you promote your work?
Noa Verhofstad: Of course there is a lot of competition but I think that if you are able to create a clear style, a style that is specific to you, you will always find customers that match. But you always have to try to get the very best out of a project. If you always push your projects to the limit, customers will feel the effort and attention to detail.
CreativeByDefinition: The holidays are coming and we saw your Christmas window project for Hermes. What Christmas means for you and how do you translate it in your latest work for Hermes window design?
Noa Verhofstad: To me Christmas means being with family and the people you love. For my latest Christmas Hermes window we've created a lively winter setting. Following Hermès's theme "Play", we found our inspriration in the arctic region: the playful white landscape with their local inhabitants such as a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) and a colorful owl (Bubo Scandiacus). All objects are crafted using the traditional stained glass technique. The animals are dressed in genuine Hermès leather.
CreativeByDefinition: What is your proudest moment till now?
Noa Verhofstad: That is quite a difficult question. I think I am most proud of what we have achieved as a Studio the past few years. That I am able to work with a fantastic range of clients and a great team of very talented people. When I browse through my portfolio, I really see a development. If I look at one of the very first projects we did, and if I compare that to the latest project we did, we have grown enormously as a studio in many ways.
CreativeByDefinition: Is there any design project you would love to do and didn’t have the chance till now?
Noa Verhofstad: Yes there is. We just finalized a project for a Dutch shoe brand: Greve shoes. For this project we have made two characters: a bear and a cat. We sculpted these figures out of foam and made their fur out of tiny pieces of suede leather. These figures look so real that I really feel that I need to bring them to life. It would be great to make a short movie with these characters. During the nineteenth century the small store with glass windows and gas lighting dominated the main street and shop owners started to boost their store displays by involving others that had some design abilities in the process of filling the window so it attracts loyal customers.
"Our work always exudes a sense of nostalgia and wonder." Noa Verhofstad