Half a year ago, she and Van Bleiswijk had a second child. ‘Since the youngest was born, we’ve been getting a lot of new ideas,’ she says. ‘It’s funny: although at first you’re very tired and busy with the baby, it still causes a transition, as if its arrival stirs up something in your mind: you want to work on new ideas again. It was the same for Joost: he was home more often because he wanted to be there for the baby, these are very special months that you can never get back. But Joost really can’t sit still so he brought home a 3D printer, and every time the baby slept he tried to figure out how the printer works and what the possibilities are. This resulted in all kinds of little models, which now form the basis for new designs.’
Kiki’s own new work for the Dutch Design Week came into being in the same time period after the birth. ‘I spent a lot of time in the garden – I really like to work in the garden – and this inspired me to design a series of light objects. I translated the way plants grow towards the light and acquire a very special shape, and the way a flower sits on a stalk or bush, into simplified shapes. Some of the parts were printed by our 3D printer. I’ve never done anything with plastic before, but this is justified because the materials are biodegradable. I combine it with a luxury material like brass. What’s nice is that it all happened because Joost started puttering around the house. In this way, nature and 3D-printing go together seamlessly.’
Art directors from the interior and luxury industries regularly visit their workshop. All the little experiments and try-outs standing around there give them ideas, for example for a more applied design that could also be produced in larger quantities. Creative collaborations in which she feels comfortable are very important to Van Eijk. ‘Only when you really feel safe and there’s a genuine connection is it possible to take things to the next level. That’s what results in the most beautiful collaborations.’
Working together at home, one day a week, without the studio around them and without kids: that’s the secret to her continuous creativity. Kiki: ‘It’s the one day we allow ourselves to take a walk in the woods. That peace of mind: it’s the only time you can wonder about new things, or think up new solutions to problems you keep running into. Those moments of reflection are very important. Before we had children, we used to rent a little house in France at least once a year to look back and make plans. Now we do that one day a week. Otherwise you just drag along.’
‘We live in a nature reserve, so we go outside a lot – also with the children – into the woods, into the fields. Our house is an oasis, which is necessary, especially when you’re always thinking about a million things. Joost and I are very visual people, we’re always looking around, absorbing everything. We’ve been to all the corners of the world: India, Madagascar, Cameroon, Mexico, Japan, Belize, Guatemala, you name it. We were always exhausted the first week after arriving in a new place, just from taking everything in.’
The residence in the Philips laboratory is only temporary. Kiki and Joost are negotiating with the municipality of Eindhoven about buying a big lot in a former waste disposal area. ‘A hidden gem,’ according to Kiki. If it all works out, they’ll move into a building they’re having constructed there by the end of 2018. They want to set up a creative industrial area where fellow designers and other creatives can build their own pavilions.
‘Both beginners and established names, from different creative professions, but all high-quality.’
This dream plan will probably come true, now that it has been approved by the executive board of the municipality in reality. They’re now talking to investors who support the project. ‘We’ve always been quartermasters in Eindhoven. We were one of the first to move into Strijp-S, then Strijp-T, and now here. We thought: Why not start something really new, somewhere we can actually stay?’