Designing Our New Studio

| Shannon E. Thomas

The Artificial just turned two, and we’re looking forward to a big upgrade: a new studio on the Herengracht! We’ll be on the sixth floor, perched just above Wieden + Kennedy. When looking for a space, we had many considerations: high ceilings, outdoor space, and big windows being the most obvious. Less obvious, we wanted to create many small spaces.

When suffering from a tough design problem, a simple change of context can do wonders. We wanted a space that had open spaces and closed spaces, spaces for meeting and spaces for eating, light spaces and dark spaces.

Our new studio has the skeleton to provide all of these different contexts, but the bones are only the first step. Now we’re working to fill it with furniture and finishing touches to make it authentic to The Artificial.

Aside from the standard IKEA, these are the designers and shops we turned to to help us complete our space.


The most obvious first-thing a design studio needs is desks. We have standers and sitters, and finding desks that look good for both proved to be quite a challenge. Additionally, we wanted unique furniture that felt Dutch designed, which brought us to Arco Design. Their Side by Side Work series, designed by Dick Spierenburg, accommodates standing, sitting, and even lounging. In our many days and nights of furniture hunting, nothing else came close.


After desks, we needed tables. One for the kitchen, one for the shared workspace, two for the lounge, and one for the conference room. In our small space, you can see many of the tables simultaneously, so cohesion of form and finish was a must. For this, we turned to the ever-popular Hay. I’ve spent a good amount of time admiring their accessories, but had never paid much attention to the shelves and tables they sat upon. One look at the Amsterdam showroom, and I knew the Copenhague line would be perfect for our small yet open space.

Frozen Fountain

Ordering office furniture is incredibly overwhelming, and it’s good to have someone on the inside to help out. We’ve always shopped Frozen Fountain for smaller items, and discovered that they were just as helpful with larger needs. Even if you’re not planning to order furniture, spend some time with their amazing collection of fabric swatches.


No Dutch office would be complete without a touch of Moooi. The Artificial won’t be stabling a horse lamp any time soon, but we’re starting the collection with the Random Light by designer Bertjan Pot.