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A Fire Inside: Teun Fleskens on the Process of Design

Designer Teun Fleskens have always had a passion for design and this became clearer to him the deeper he got into it.


"After finishing high school, I immediately started working as an interior builder. This is where I first got in contact with design and architecture. I had worked there for two years, when I left for a company that specialized in making furniture. In only a short time for the company I found out that I formed strong opinions about the assignments and I wanted to do things different."

"This made me realize that there was a drive in me, a fire that I had to do something with. In the evenings I began designing furniture for family and friends. I did this with so much pleasure, enjoying everything about it, playing with the forms and material that I finally decided to quit my job. I started a study in furniture design."

"In the third year I arranged an internship with designer Michiel van der Kley. I was moved by the way he worked, especially the freedom that he had. Sitting together in the sun thinking of new ideas made my eyes once again open, I found a new fire. Now not only furniture interested me. There was a whole world that could be thought of."


When Teun was 24 years old, he decided to studie Industrial design at the Design Academy in Eindhoven.

"Back at school I accidentally walked into a presentation about the design academy in Eindhoven. This couldn’t be a coincident. I began working as hard as I could to finish my study half a year earlier so that I could start as soon as possible at the design academy. I got in and really felt that I belonged. I finished my degree in Man and Activity (bachelor) which focuses on products that are suitable for the market."

As Fleskens have taken on many different aspects of design, from lighters to toothbrushes. When there're too many concepts floating around his head: he basically has to meditate, do sports or do something spontaneous with his friends. So that he can let go of it all and start fresh to "pick out the idea that feels good."


"I have the opportunity to really improve my surrounding; this is what I love about this work. It’s a constant adventure. I get no rest, it starts when I get up in the morning, lasts until I get into bed at night and sometimes my work even sneaks into my dreams."

"Look at it like a cookie jar that’s so full the lid don’t fit anymore. My (luxury) problem is… which cookies at what time I should take out. Inspiration can come by in every random situation. For instance, looking at the behavior of everyday people and the (little) problems they encounter. Basically it can be everything… you tell me and I’ll be inspired."

Fleskens wants to create designs that leads to communication, this is one of the ideas behind the ChitChat.

Hout en PolyesterPolyester met Boom

"Waiting in public spaces could always be more fun. With that goal I designed the CHITCHAT. A swinging seat from multiplex or polyester for one to seven people. If you take a seat, you bring the furniture and everyone who is sitting on it in motion. This almost always leads to interaction. It has something that surprises and you get to talk about it to your neighbor. Strangers are searching together for the best balance, the ice breaks, the atmosphere improves and the waiting is less boring. The ‘rocking trees’ in the middle provide a playful effect, especially with more CHITCHATS in one space."

Hout met StofChitChat

Though there are also challenging parts of this profession that designers need to encounter.

"In the last few years, there have been several situations in where I had to create a certain product or concept that was totally out of my sense of being. Especially if this comes together with a huge list of demands, it gets challenging. This is the moment that I have to make this project the best and most innovating project for myself.

It’s an exciting but eventually fun faze you have to go through as a designer. At this point it’s important to collect as much information and insights you can about the organization, its purpose, similar projects etc. During these steps new ideas come to live and you will get excited about the possibilities you have for this particular project. Challenge is the most important aspect while working on an idea. The more challenging it is, the more exciting it is."

Fleskens notifies that he thinks it's impossible to give an overall advice to aspiring designers as there're so many different designers out there. What he can say though is that designs is about having fun and keep enjoying yourself while creating.

“The way of looking at design is a constant change of view. I’m convinced that in the process of developing yourself as a designer, you always try to improve. This will affect your point of view over and over again. The overall aspect is that a design has to have added value, for instance, this can be simply by making a smile appear. Or get people to interact with each other while using the ChitChat.”


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