Edwin van der Gun began his journey with Eichholtz when he was engaged to revamp the company’s catalogue 12 years ago. With his extensive background in fashion he gave the catalogue a new twist to make it fresh and modern. It turned out to be a huge success.
Eichholtz became famous for its eclectic designs. By mixing and matching materials and different styles from different eras, the company created incredible designs and pieces each season. With more than 2,500 pieces already in the company’s portfolio, Eichholtz is still able to introduce 600 new designs each year.
Today, Eichholtz has grown into the world’s most well-known and reputable brand for luxury design, furniture, lighting, and accessories. With the combined experience of over 150 skilled employees, a 35,000-square-meter warehouse and a grand showroom covering 4,000 square meters, the brand has furnished more than 10,000 prestigious hotels, restaurants, clubs and stores throughout the world. As the epitome of luxury living, Eichholtz aims to continuously inspire the interior design industry with extensive collections spanning various iconic styles. These collections are available here at Melandas.
Edwin van der Gun gave Prestige an exclusive interview about his creative works, how he came up with ideas and his perspective on luxury. Excerpts below:
What inspired you to become a designer?
At first, I didn’t aspire to become a designer, but it was something that gradually happened which is amazing. I did have a thing for beauty from a very young age and as time passed by, it shaped me as a designer and as a human being.
How do you keep the creative juices flowing?
Everything I see is inspiration. People and places make my creativity flow. It doesn’t have to be useful for now but it would be in the future. It’s important to keep your eyes and heart open because everything is possible. I travel around the world to buy antique, vintage pieces that we add to our collection. We are reproductionists but also creators. Twenty-five to thirty percent of our pieces come from vintage items that we bought from well-known auction houses like Sotheby’s or Christie’s. We buy 100-year-old lamps or an antique birdcage which we convert into a lamp. But next to those, we create our own collections to match the vintage antiques in the same style.
Is there a time period you look back for inspiration? Or are there any particular styles from the past that inspire you?
The past has given us a lot of lessons and useful sources that we can bring to the present. I love a lot of styles but my favourites are the art deco pieces. I just admire how it influenced the design world and everyday objects – from buildings, furniture, jewellery, fashion, cars, movie theatres, cars, trains and many more.
How do you think has the ideas about luxury changed since you started out?
In the past, I saw that luxury was more about a “look what I have” attitude that shows extravagance. But now what goes is more like a silent luxury where the idea of having the finest things in defined by deeper attention to detail. It’s not just about logos but instead, the focus is on creating something that is comfortable, soft and timeless.
Where do you do most of your creative work?
Luckily, every place could be my working place as long I have a notebook in hand to write, to draw or just take notes as reminders. Having a notebook is such a big help because every time I have an idea in my mind, I could just sketch or draw.
How well do you work with your colleagues? How good are you at giving directions or delivering criticism?
My team is everything to me and they are the key to success. Most of them are young people and every day becomes a learning day for me because we share different experiences and perspectives. But I really enjoy it because diversity makes the team more vibrant and energetic. Speaking of criticism, it works really well because it helps us step up and work even better than before.
How do you advise your team in terms of working with clients?
Listening to the clients is important to discern what they want and need. But I tell my team to always keep in mind that we are the experts and they came seeking our advice and opinion. Sometimes it is all about giving the client what they never knew they needed.
How has the rise of the internet, e-commerce and social media affected your life and work?
Of course, this very important as it has affected us in a positive way. But when it comes to design, we have to always remember our soul. We try to stay ahead and believe in our own style. If we always try to follow trends, we lose our identity as designers and as a brand.
What is your favourite place in the world? What do you typically bring back from your travels?
May I pick two? I would say the first is my home. Second is Capri, Italy, for its ancient island by with gorgeous blue waters, clear and sunny skies, as well as delicious food that brings so many inspirations. I typically bring back everything from travelling: Pillows, home décor, table wear, glassworks and anything that fits in my suitcase. The last time I visited Indonesia for the opening of the Eichholtz boutique in Jakarta, I brought back five kilogram of thousand layers cake or spekkoek [known in Indonesia as lapis legit]. The taste is unforgettable.
What is your secret to great design?
I think there are no secrets in design. It is all about surrounding yourself with comfort that matches your way of living. If you are a vivid entertainer or somebody who hosts a lot of dinner parties, the you have to make the most out of that area. But if you have four kids and stay at home alone, you should have a good dining room or playroom just to make sure that your home has a signature touch of your own style.