Stef Bakker in ELLE DECOR ITALIA

In a series of interior stories I have done with photographer Kasia Gatkowska this one of designer Stef Bakker’s new Amsterdam apartment was featured in the june issue of Elle Decor Italia. As Stef Bakker is designing the all new and improved interior my own modest Amsterdamse School house – together with his amazing assistant Joren Naerebout – I am especially pleased to share the PDFs and an english version of my write up.

 

Dutch pedagogue turned interior designer teaches his clients what they really need: the art of living exceptionally well within their given parameters. Everything else has to go.

 

The title ‘interior designer’ never really covers Stef Bakker’s professional bandwidth. Sure, he designs spaces ranging from private homes and restaurants to retail chains and healthcare centres. He is also a proud and dedicated founder of Orange Babies, the Amsterdam based foundation that helps HIV infected women and their babies in Africa. At the famed Eindhoven Design Academy in the south of Holland Stef is a passionate teacher in the Man & Well-being department. And the list of special projects he does, such as art directing and curating exhibitions, publications or fund raising gala nights, show the reach of his passion to bring quality to our lives. “I have just embarked on a new adventure which will combine interior with dance. The way a space conditions or invites us to move is essentially what I work with as a designer.” says Stef Bakker.

After a five-year break, during which you lived in a gorgeous seaside villa in the Dutch dunes, you moved back to Amsterdam. What made you decide on this top floor apartment in a 1904 house by Art Nouveau architect F.M.J. Caron? Stef: “I was looking for a space that connects contemporary city life with what I call my sanctuary. Light, air, fire, openness, flexibility of the different ‘fields of use’ and a comfortable scale, this place has all of that, and more. The birds view on the quiet gardens in between Amsterdam’s famous sixteenth century canal houses from the long balcony along the kitchen and bedroom is simply phenomenal. I am literally on eye level with the escaped parakeets gathered in the highest branches of ancient trees that reach for my balcony doors. I treasured and where necessary restored all of Caron’s original arts and crafts detailing like woodwork and ceilings. But I radically simplified everything, by giving everything the same skin with a palette of grays, and smoothing out everything obsolete, down to the old doorknobs.” Stef Bakker is a genuine craftsman, thinking big about every tiny little detail. His minimalist designs follow function as well as feeling. After all, our living environments should serve one purpose only: our wellbeing. As he shares his admiration for the heavenly work by Indian architects Studio Mumbai, we can only conclude that he brings exactly that level of wholesome environmental aesthetics and unpretentious wealth within reach of all of us. Especially with his own line of sober-chic home products in the pipeline with the new Dutch design group L’Appartement.

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