Joey Ruiter is having way too much fun for a grownup. From his boyhood penchant for dismantling things, Ruiter has continued to finesse the art of stripping design to its essentials. And he brings this aesthetic of the unfussy to his work as well as to his play. So, Herman Miller’s new Intent line of furniture, designed by Ruiter, is meant to look as cool in private offices as it does in open plan and to offer affordable mix-and-match choices.
At play, Ruiter has stripped the bicycle to bare-nakedness, and the Inner City Bike, “a café racer with the performance of a beach cruiser,” is the result. He also tinkers with boat design. “Why are boats so complicated? A boat just needs something to make it float and something to make it go. Maybe something to sit on, too.” Ruiter’s boats are minimalist and easy to maintain; they have the lean, hungry look of a shark. He even manages to make a pontoon boat look like furniture rather than a barge.
A native son of utilitarian West Michigan with a studio in Grand Rapids, Ruiter has managed to marry his engineering bent to an artist’s eye. So we get fun bikes and boats, and some nice furniture, too.
Here are 7 questions for Joey Ruiter:
1. What are you working on right now?
My current list of work is awesomely random. A bicycle, a boat, a bathroom sink, some soft lounge pieces, and outdoor furniture, to name a few.
2. Which of your projects are you most proud of?
The really complicated projects that end up with a simple solution. Like it was there all along.
3. What inspires you? Where do you go for inspiration?
I am inspired by all sorts of people, objects, and funny things that I surround myself with. Inspiration for me is about finding the obscure, hidden, underground, collections and groups. There are so many creative and talented people from all walks of life all doing wonderful things. You need to get off the path a bit to meet them because they’re not in any fancy magazines or blogs.
4. What work do you most admire by another designer or artist?
5. What would be your dream project?
Unlimited resources to implement creative diplomacy in our world.
6. What place in the world would you most like to visit?
After a little time in Holland, Michigan, of course, I would love to take a ride in the Dakar Rally through Chile and Argentina.
7. What one thing do you want to accomplish before you die?
I want to create a new word for an object or thought that I came up with. Words like computer, bicycle, automobile, and even panel system, were new at some point.