Christien Starkenburg’s SlowWood: Unpretentious, Sober and Serene Design

Christien Starkenburg

Christien Starkenburg

Christien Starkenburg was born in 1966. She is an interior designer and art director of interior shop, which is the family business of Jan de Jong Interieur (Leeuwarden, the Netherlands) that was founded in 1899.

Christien has been always fascinated by utilities as tools, machines, industrial steps and stairs, trolleys etc… This is no wonder, being a child of a craftsman who could make what his eyes saw and had a complete shop full of tools. The peculiarity of all these products is seemingly logical form of design, a simplicity and sturdiness in combination with functionality. The use of colors is always simple and clear.

Christien sees beauty in the most common things, combinations of colors, textures, interesting and compositions. Nice ropes, packaging and print work – everything fascinates her, and she always tries to observe it with an open mind. She has a lot of affinity with Scandinavian designs. It is like to be outside, cycling in the countryside, coming to rest and listen to what comes to her mind.  Enjoy reading the interview with Christien Starkenburg.

AP: Your first works. What did they look like?


Mun 14

CS: When I was a young child I always liked to decorate my bedroom by balancing every detail in design. I was thinking with images instead of words.

AP: Do you have any formal education in design or were you self-taught? 

CS: I’ve got an education in interior design and after obtaining the degree I started to work in a high end interior shop, designing total concepts. Additionally I ran my own designing studio. 

I’m still running the interior shop as well, it’s a family business founded in 1899…We (my husband and I) are managing to combine these things by working very hard…It’s a lot of work but we love it!

AP: How would you describe your products? 

CS: I started SlowWood from a growing desire to show a collection of existing family archetypical designs with a raw elegance. I would describe my products as unpretentious, sober and serene. I produce long lasting products that fit easily your home interior and emphasize its character. I have been working on the SlowWood collection for more than a year, willing to create organic and natural products.

AP: If it’s now a secret, what does MUN stand for?

CS: It stands for Mock Up Nature, duplicate the nature…The thought behind the name is that nature is really giving us everything we need, and more than that, a man can never compete with nature as a designer! The nature is amazing!


Mun 9a

AP: What kind of equipment and techniques do you use to create your works?

CS: I sketch with pencil and make all drawings on the ‘old fashioned’ drawing table. After that I make prototypes (mockups) on real scale, leave it to rest and then re-design in case I need to make small changes when it doesn’t work out.

AP: What is the formula for success in your activity?

CS: I think my formula for success is that people understand the soul of SlowWood, it’s coming from the heart.  In the global world we live in with the entire different crisis going around, we like go back to local small scale formats of living, choose things that are genuine, honest and real.

AP: Is there someone who supports you in your creativity?

CS: Yes, my husband and children and the joiners I work with are stimulating my creativity. Essential for my creativity is balance in my life, work and family.

AP: Would you like to wish something to your readers and AstrumPeople?

CS: I wish that people find their path in life. Do something you really want to do and do it sincerely, with your heart. Don’t think too much, just do!

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