What was there about a vintage Porsche that fascinated Joey Ruiter as a young man? There was the glamour of its timeless form certainly. The grim of taking it apart and restoring it appealed, too. And, then there was the practicality of selling it at the end of the summer and using the profit to pay for college tuition.
Ever since then, Ruiter has been drawn to fine machines and classic design. "When you take something apart, especially as a young person, you assume you can put it back together again, that you can do anything."
A design education and life experiences tempered the enthusiasm of youth. "I soon learned that the criteria, the constraints, are what drives good design," he says. "When I'm constrained, I am more creative. I want to see how good I can make something despite the constraints."
That has been Ruiter's defining challenge as founder and principal designer of JRuiter + Studio in Grand Rapids, MI. At the same time, he strives for simplicity. "I take complex problems and make the solution as simple as possible. I like the people to stand out more than the furniture." That made Ruiter the perfect choice to partner with us in developing Intent furniture, a forerunner of Canvas Office Landscape.
The constraints were significant: Give Intent a unifying aesthetic from private office to open plan, do it with a simple vocabulary, and make it affordable. The constraints spurred Ruiter's creativity.
Relying on his expertise in manufacturing and tooling, Ruiter met all the criteria while coming up with some inventive features. One is the storage deck. It has a single track for bookcases, cabinets, and cubes that can be located anywhere along the track and moved easily.
"People's appreciation for fine things certainly includes office furniture," says Ruiter. "My goal is always to add visual and textural triggers that make it appeal to their sense of comfort and beauty."
Grand Rapids, Michigan