The prolific Dutch designer shares his conception of art, his must-have qualities and the ingredients that make a dream commission

Richard Hutten is one of the most influential characters on the international design scene. Born in 1967, he graduated from the Academy of Industrial Design in Eindhoven in 1991; the same year he started his own design studio, working on a wide range of projects from furniture and product design, to interior and exhibition design. His work has been exhibited extensively and is part of the permanent collections of many prestigious institutions worldwide. Maria Cristina Didero sat down for a fast and furious five-minute interview with the renowned Dutch designer.

Maria Cristina Didero: What three words would you choose to describe yourself?
Richard Hutten: Playful, serious, fun.

MCD: Can you share three people who have inspired you?
RH: Gerrit Rietveld, Leonardo da Vinci and Johan Huizinga.

MCD: How would you describe your conception of art and design?
RH: When I look at art, I try to be open-minded. I like to be surprised. I like it to be fun, but I also like it when it is rebellious, conceptual and, of course, beautiful.

MCD: What’s your number one rule when working on a project and what’s your number one rule in life?
RH: In work and life there are the same rules: have serious fun and give serious fun.

MCD: And your second rule in work and life?
RH: Also here the rules are the same: everything with respect to people and the planet.

MCD: What’s one quality that a designer cannot be without?
RH: There are many, but it all starts with curiosity and enthusiasm.

MCD: Is there one object in particular that you wish you had made?
RH: There are many designers that I admire, old and new. But if I have to choose, it would be the Red and Blue Chair designed in 1917 by Gerrit Rietveld — the first modern chair ever.

MCD: What is your dream commission?
RH: I only do dream commissions, but for a perfect commission the ingredients need to be perfect. The client has to be nice. The budget has to be good. The ambition has to be high. The subject should be interesting. And it should have a cultural component.

MCD: What’s your last thought before falling asleep?
RH: Before falling asleep I think about beauty in life, and then I look at her, just before I close my eyes.


A version of this article appeared in print in Selections, The Interventions Issue #34, on page 106.