The Interview: Anouk Jansen

The Houseologists speak to Jansen+co design director, Anouk Jansen, to find out more about her designer tableware collections and brand inspirations.

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The Interview

With collections of bold and bright crockery that bring a flood of colour to the table and smile to everyone’s face, we are delighted to have Dutch brand Jansen+co on board. With a philosophy of well-made pieces and feel-good designs, Jansen+co tableware is instantly recognisable with its loud and proud aesthetic and stylish colour combinations.

We catch up with the brand’s design director, Anouk Jansen, to learn more about the inspiration behind her designs.

Anouk Jansen interview - Jansen+co cups and saucers

Q: How did Jansen+co begin?

A: I started Jansen+co with my husband in 2006 and, in the beginning, we were more of a lifestyle design company. We added lots of different designs to our collections such as kids’ products, wall clocks and tableware. Then, in 2010 we decided to focus on one group of products. Focusing on tabletop products felt like a natural decision for Jansen+co because we love food and eating and we love to set the table.

We then had to decide which aspects of the tabletop we wanted to focus on so we agreed there would be no kitchen tools and decided that everything should be able to be put on the table. So we started with the first range of My Mugs, we designed the mug with different colour combinations and it was an instant hit and so we added the teapot and a range of different sized cups and saucers. It really grew into a refined collection organically.

Q: How did you become involved with design?

A: When I was young, my mother asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I said to her that I wanted to be a cook or the director of my own company. I had no clue what a director was – I just wanted to be a boss! My interest in design started at a very young age, taking clothes out of my mum’s closet and redoing my room every week. In the end I attended the fashion academy, fashion is more than just clothes – it’s what’s going on in the world which can translate into colours and be it textiles or interior products, landscapes or art, it’s a moment in time captured. That’s what I found very intriguing and it made me wonder how it was happening, for example, how come I always hated yellow and now I love it?

From the fashion academy I started to work for a company buying and selling gifts and interior products. I would buy products from all over the world and think of how to improve or restyle them. So from restyling pieces we eventually moved onto designing our own glasses so that’s how I came to learn about the processes of production. I like to know how things are made and where they are from and why they are made the way they are, that’s something which has always been a big part of my life.

Anouk Jansen interview - Jansen+co tableware

Q: How would you describe the Jansen+co look?

A: I think you either love us or you hate us! The pieces are detailed, outspoken, bold, vivid and practical. It’s a happy product, people always smile when they see the collections!

Q: Where do your inspirations come from?

A: It may be a boring answer, but from life! We like food, art and travelling so everywhere we go we find wonderful colours and small details and I think that’s where I get my inspiration from. There could be horrible wallpaper in a cheap hotel in Paris combined with a terrible chair and I might think, ‘Oh that’s an interesting colour combination!’ I really like art and things to do with food and colours. I take lots of photographs of small details when I’m out and about for inspiration.

Q: Do you find that your surroundings in the stylish city of Amsterdam inspire you as well?

A: I am very happy in Amsterdam, I always wanted to live here because I think it is a fascinating city – although if you have travelled to places like Tokyo and New York you realise that Amsterdam is more like a village! There are hundreds of different types of religions and races of people and I think that’s what makes it such a fantastic place to be in.

I used to live in the centre of Amsterdam but now I live in the north of the city which is an upcoming area. It used to be the poorest part of Amsterdam but it’s changing and there’s more space and more flexibility and there are a lot of entrepreneurs on this side now. There are people here who make coffee and chocolates and a lot of small breweries – we have a lot of good things on this side of town!

Q: When creating your tableware collection, what did you want people to feel when they were using it?

A: I want them to feel good! The pieces are all about great food and great presentation. I have antique plates which I use with my bright coloured mugs and small coloured plates as I love the combination of modern and classical, it makes both ends of the design spectrum to become stronger.

Anouk Jansen interview - Jansen+co crockery

Q: Do you have a particular combination of colours that you love to use?

A: It’s difficult to say because if you look at the My Mug range it is very bright with both primary colours and more urban tones such as greys and contrasting greens. I like the surprise of the colours together, I like unexpected colour combinations.

Anouk Jansen interview - Jansen+co My Mug collection

Q: What’s next for Jansen+co?

A: At the start of this year, we licensed Jansen+co to Serax which means that we are able to work on building our brand and it also allows me to really focus on designing new collections too.

Q: How would you describe your own personal style?

A: It should be personal. My husband and I like to collect souvenirs from special places and small modern pieces of art – within budget! There is a mix of things in our home, for example we have an old Persian carpet and a wooden floor with a black leather sofa with a bright coloured pillow on it. Our tables were made by my husband’s grandfather but they have contemporary accents such as a very modern vase with bright flowers and it all fits together really well. I like to combine the old with the new but each element should be practical too!

Q: Do you and your partner have similar tastes or do you ever disagree about design?

A: Oh yes, daily! We have the same goal, but the way in which we reach it may differ!

Q: What made you want to work with Houseology?

A: I really like the identity you have, I like that you are supporting designers and promoting the wonderful stories around all the products.

Anouk Jansen interview - Jansen+co collection

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