Scholten & Baijings, Product Designers

The story of Stefan Scholten and Carole Baijings began, like many Dutch stories do, in a church. In the late ’90s, Baijings was working for an agency whose headquarters were located inside one of the country’s many abandoned houses of worship. Scholten, a graduate of the Design Academy Eindhoven, had a burgeoning design practice nearby. Scholten was asked to design a small bar for the agency’s office, and “the rest is history,” says Baijings. “As our lives came together, working together was a natural progression.” The two seem totally at ease with the idea of spending nearly every waking moment together: “Stefan is really good at the big picture. I’m good at the details,” Baijings says serenely.

In any case, the partnership works. Over the past 10 years, the couple has produced, mainly on commission and in collaboration with venerable Dutch manufacturers, a portfolio of exquisitely crafted, instantly covetable objects — soft, vividly striped merino pillows and throws, delicate glass vessels, gridded silk scarves, and last year for the Milan Furniture Fair, a series of five pieces exploring different modes of decoration. (Their steel-frame and aluminum armoire, a sleeper hit from that series, will be presented at this year’s fair by Established & Sons.) Their work is defined by an eye for graphics, an impeccable sense of color, and a somewhat peculiar sense of humor. (On our visit to their studio this fall, we found among the detritus an unresolved centerpiece fashioned from a pile of potatoes.)

A year ago, they moved into their current space, a light-filled, two-floor studio inside a new development overlooking Amsterdam’s harbor. A look inside it reveals much about the way they work; the surfaces are covered with sketches, paper models, prototypes, and failed experiments. “We work more like artists,” says Baijings. “We start with materials and colors and then try to create a shape or a design. It’s a different approach than starting with a word or a concept or an idea.”