This is why we are such big fans.
You may already know this, but Knops is an Amsterdam-based start-up. It might be no surprise to you that we just love Dutch Design. And also our engineering and production process could be characterized as typically Dutch.
Knops’ designer Richard explains: “In the design industry Dutch Design has a name for itself. The reason for this? Dutch Design is a little bit rebellious. It changes the way we see things. For example a chair. Normally a chair has four legs, and it is designed in all kind of different shapes. But you could also focus on the point where you sit and a chair doesn’t have to look like a chair anymore. That is what Dutch Design does. It goes against the grain. And it adds a little bit of humor too.”
“Dutch Design is a little bit rebellious. It changes the way we see things.”
Our ‘Tech Nerd’ Arjen (who’s also Richards brother, by the way) studied at Delft University of Technology. However, he also studied at universities abroad, such as the University of California, Berkeley and worked for companies like Ferrari in Italy. From his point of view, the Dutch engineering culture is also one of a kind.
“Delft is on par with the American universities, especially specific fields are very comparable. Holland has an interesting history of using engineering. In the Eindhoven area, for example, you have Philips and ASML. There is something about the Dutch pragmatism and flat society that enables you to work collaboratively together without being afraid of the hierarchy.
Particularly at Delft University, I learned how powerful you can be when you work in a team. Other international schools are more focused on the individual aspect of engineering, but in the end, this is a discipline you practice in collaboration with others. You can be the smartest person in the room, but if you can’t communicate, you don’t get anywhere. In the Netherlands, you can speak your mind, without the impedance of a boss who thinks he knows best. If you have good points, you can come to a better solution together. I think this is key to the Dutch culture.”
“Particularly at Delft University I learned how powerful you can be when you work in a team.”
Close to home
So, yeah. We are fans of our home country’s design and engineering culture. That is also one of the reasons that we chose to leave the production with a Dutch company. Richard: “Finding a good production partner in the Netherlands was one of our top priorities. First of all, if you work with a production company in a well-developed country like the Netherlands, we are sure they are certified and follow rules. No wages below the norm, good safety regulations… We are willing to pay more to make sure that the production circumstances are good.”
Arjen: “Of course we could also have chosen a production company in China or far away. But one thing that we wanted to ensure because this is a premium product, was to mature a high quality. Also, we thought it was important to have good interaction with the production team. So that’s why we’re producing in Holland. We can do quality control on the parts easily, we can keep a check on it and we can visit our partner all the time. We can also shift quickly if something has to be adjusted or improved. That’s why we offset the increased costs of producing in the Netherlands, with this increased flexibility to create a perfect premium product.”
“We made a volume button for your ear, that’s the cool part, but Knops is also partly hearing protection.”
Knops = Dutch Design
So, can we categorize Knops as a typically Dutch Design-product? We think so.
Richard: “I think with Knops we did exactly that humorous, rebellious Dutch Design thing. We made a volume button for your ears, that’s the cool part, but Knops is also partly hearing protection. What you often see with these kinds of products is that people want to hide it. Which I think is a shame. You should just be proud of the products you wear. With Knops we did the complete opposite. We show the product. Not in a clownesk way, but with a high quality, good looking product that suits your style.”