“Just to keep alive isn’t enough,” said the butterfly. “To live you must have sunshine and freedom and a little flower to love!” When Hans Christian Andersen penned his story about a little butterfly, he hardly did so with the intention of leaving instructions on how to be happy. Nor could he guess the joy and the passion with which people would want to return to these simple things over 150 years later, and that his story would receive a very contemporary meaning in the context of a lifestyle brand. Even all those years ago, Andersen did nothing else but to communicate his vision of happiness in a way that was destined to survive the social context of his era.
For a long time, an object was hailed a designer product only if it was striking, unusual or even somewhat extroverted. Materials, shapes and colours gave the product its special value and turned “good design” into a platitude that stood for exclusive and extremely expensive. This made their enjoyment and luxury as fleeting as the beauty of the products. Today’s lasting, honest design makes its own statement which not only appeals to our sensory perception but also communicates a discovery, and observation made by the designer. Subjectivity becomes the decisive mark of quality and enhances the functional and purely beautiful.
The grace of a lily and the evenness of its petals probably remain as hidden to the casual observer as do this delicate plant’s daily efforts to grow. Maarten Vrolijk’s design language focuses on highlighting these special characteristics of flowers and other natural elements by means of his discovery of these fine details, which he then copies as visible contours in order to turn his subjective discovery of a particular flower’s character into obvious design. Although this sometimes results in reduced, naive designs, the combination of material, form and colour always elicits a response from those who see them and engenders emotions and values that need no rational instructions. These are embodiments of a vision of beauty that are as honest and as simple as nature itself.
This perception of what good design is has led to a vision for the Raffi brand and for the year 2015: Everything starts with life as such, and everything you add to it turns it into your time. Best wishes for a wonderful new year with Raffi for life,