Designer interview with
Lotte de Raadt

with No comments

Designer Lotte de Raadt had a creative upbringing. Her mother also worked with clay and she marketed that work at markets and fairs. From an early age, Lotte went with her, so both creating and entrepreneurship were instilled in her. The fact that she applied to the Design Academy at sixteen, although early, came as no surprise. Right after her education, Lotte started her own design studio, and since 2017 some of her products are part of the Vij5 collection.

Text: Daniëlle van de Haterd(Staaldraad Tekstschrijver)
Photography: Vij5

Design Academy Eindhoven

'I went through the academy with ups and downs. I still had no idea where I ultimately wanted to go, but I was given the space here to explore that. My graduation project is based on tap water. I discovered that in the Netherlands we have three types of sources; surface, ground and dune water. Inspired by this, I designed three shapes of drinking water carafes. Initially I had these made from glass, so I could not produce them myself.'

"At the academy I avoided ceramics; I found it far too Wrapped and fragile."

Lotte de Raadt

The move to ceramics

That Lotte eventually ended up with ceramics was not a preconceived plan. 'At the academy I avoided it; I found it far too Wrapped and fragile. In my anti-squat studio I could experiment in peace and quiet and that's where I discovered my love for it.'

Interest in tap water

'Because of my link with water, I was asked by KWR (Knowledge Center Water Research) to do a free assignment for them. By talking to people there I learned that clay protects and filters water, so there are a lot of links between water and ceramics and that's what makes it so interesting for me.'

Further development of the Tap Water Carafe

Emerging from her interest in tap water and what she had learned, Lotte made her originally glass Tap Water Carafe out of terracotta, giving it not only a new look but also a new function. Because the terracotta is somewhat porous, a small amount of water evaporates; this process cools the water in the bottle.

An additional advantage of the ceramic Tap Water Carafe is that Lotte can make it herself in this material. She does this by hand, shaping the clay in plaster molds. This reflects her great love for natural materials and small-scale production.

"There are a lot of links between water and ceramics and that's what makes it so interesting to me."

Lotte de Raadt

Functional product

If it is up to Lotte, the carafe is intended for daily use. 'It is a functional product and tap water is 2000 times cheaper than the spring water you buy in plastic bottles. So the investment in the Tap Water Carafe pays for itself. Nevertheless, I know that there are also people who put the bottle in the cupboard as a showpiece. That is allowed of course, but it is not the intention.

"Collaboration and machines Share are great ways to keep a small business running.'"

Lotte de Raadt

Small business in Eindhoven

Lotte has her studio in Eindhoven. Laughing, she says she has made several attempts to get away from there, but in vain. 'I was young when I came to Eindhoven and have actually really found my niche here. I work in an environment with different designers and we Share the machines with each other. That's cost-wise nice, a nice way to keep a small business going.'

"By trying things out, surprising products can emerge."

Lotte de Raadt

Ceramics workshop in Sweden

Completely attached to Eindhoven, Lotte is not. 'I traveled a lot and after an average of six months I get the itch and have to leave. At the moment I am setting up a ceramics workshop in Sweden. My family bought a house there from a former potter. There is a wood-fired kiln in the garden and I am experimenting with it. In that area I'm not technically trained, I'm really a designer and by trying things out surprising products can emerge.'

The Vij5 collection

Since 2017, some of Lotte's Design are part of the Vij5 collection, which was a logical decision for her. 'If you have a company on your own, you have to make choices because it's really too much to do everything yourself. When Arjan and Anieke from Vij5 came my way via design colleagues Alissa + Nienke, I chose to leave the sales to them. At that time I had three product series and Anieke was particularly interested in the cups and bowls with drop glaze (Archiving Water Ware). We developed these together into a tableware series. Eventually my tap water carafes were also added to the Vij5 collection.

Collaboration with Vij5

What Lotte likes about working with Vij5 is the good contact between them. 'I like the fact that Arjan and Anieke are down-to-earth and Dutch, not too much fuss. There is also a lot of involvement in the production process, which I like. In my opinion, my Design fit the collection very well because they are minimalistic and practical.'

More ways of working together

Collaboration is something Lotte enjoys anyway. 'I share my workshop with Kirstie van Noort and with her I do the OER project, among other things.' For this we make a number of different products that we color with a residual stream from Brabant Water.' Cooperation on different fronts, in other words.

The future

As for the future, Lotte has a vision but no definite plan. 'I can roll out my concept anywhere in the world and so I want to do that in different places. My first option is Sardinia, where I work together with a fellow designer; Sara Vignoli. She and I complement each other nicely in what we are doing. What is clear to me is that I want to continue working in a sustainable way in the future.'

Products from Lotte de Raadt in the Vij5 collection