Claire Vos

I meet up with Claire Vos at a coffee shop across from the Amsterdam showroom of fabric manufacturer Kvadrat, where she has an appointment to look at some material later on. Last year, Claire and her husband Roderick Vos became art directors at Pode, the sub-brand and affordable younger brother of Dutch design brand Leolux, and they have big plans. ‘We really want to put the brand on the map internationally,’ says well-groomed, dressed-to-thenines Claire..

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Tangle Menjangan by Claire Vos - Moooi Carperts
Moooi Carpets ClaireVos Tangle Menjangan L194xH280cm 15 02 2019 72dpi
Bow Beijing by Claire Vos - Moooi Carpets


She used to always wear a pair of huge, wacky black glasses and I have to ask: What happened to them? She laughs: ‘These days, I think they’re a bit too much in terms of eyewear. Did you know they were old sunglasses that I had fitted with transparent glass?’ And yes, she admits, she also wore them to mock her role as the main busybody and organizer behind her husband Roderick’s brand. She still loves glasses, though. ‘Why do you think I carry such a large bag?’ She whisks out a big, transparent pair with flexible legs. ‘Philippe Starck.’ And yet another large pair, with salmon-coloured frames. ‘I see eyewear as a fashion accessory and fashion is one of my great loves. That’s what I originally wanted to do. Before I enrolled at the Design Academy in Eindhoven, I took an entrance exam at Sint Joost in Breda, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I would have had to sit behind a sewing machine all day long. I can see how things should be, but I’m no good at putting them together.’ But Claire Vos is very good at a lot of other things, as it turned out. First at PR, purchasing and sales at the well-known interior design shop of the Vos family in Groningen. Later at setting up the Roderick Vos brand and the accompanying web shop and showroom. 

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red tape

Contacts with customers, buyers, advertisers, journalists, Claire handled them with ease. ‘I’m not one to say: “I can’t.” I’ll pound away at anything. I enjoyed it, too. And Roderick is a loose cannon. Not someone to bother with red tape and paperwork. I also really enjoyed finding out that I was able to give some direction to that huge talent of his.’ Now that they’ve got the brand Roderick Vos going, now that she can delegate matters to other people with confidence, and now that two of their three children have flown the nest, she finally has more time to devote to her own design talent. Which is major as well. In recent years, the world has been surprised by one beautiful Claire Vos design after another. Plaids, carpets, dishcloths, blankets. Her signature is distinct. Everything’s very graphic and often includes a surprise. A sudden change in the relief in a carpet, like in the ones she designed for Leolux, that allows you to plant your feet in a nice, long-piled bit. Or a subtle change of colour or pattern, like in the dishcloths for Functionals in which a checked pattern dissolves into a folksy Greek edge. And the carpeting she designed for Marc Jansen is nothing short of spectacular. The yarn is coloured and shaved to look blue from one direction and red from the other.


Having rediscovered designing, she’s actually more in her element than ever. ‘Of everything I’ve done, I think this suits me the best.’ She laughs. ‘Although I had to reach 52 to find out.’ But why so late? Did it never bother her, that her turn never seemed to come? ‘It never did, I guess because Roderick and I developed a story together. We were – we are – very much a unit. We hardly have to say a word and we still completely understand what the other means. I’m really his sounding board. He regularly asks for my opinion. And if he says something’s wrong about my work, I listen. Yes, he can be very annoying, but he always knows what he’s talking about. He’s black-and-white thinking incarnate, but that’s also his strength. All in all, we’re just very close.’


What will be, will be and you have to make the most and the best of things, that’s her motto, she says. ‘As long as you grow and develop, that is. All these years in sales and purchasing have turned out to be a great help in what I do now. I look at designs and collections in a different way, because I know from experience how the market works. That comes in very handy.’ When I mention Pode, her eyes start to shine. ‘It’s always been a bit of a secret wish of ours to develop a brand down to the very last detail. Usually, you design a product or a collection and have little influence on how the whole will look. Now we get to decide everything, up to the pictures in the brochures and on the website. I also find that I really like working in a large organization. The way people communicate, how they work with each other, I find that interesting. I’ve discovered that I like managing people. I seem to be very good at it.’


This interview was published in WOTH issue No4 still available in our shop.