Jessica Nielsen has been living together for 4 years now with her boyfriend Eelco who is an architect in a cool apartment in the North of Rotterdam. Light dominates this rental apartment. They painted the concrete floor white themselves. They share a studio that is a stone’s throw away and they usually continue working on their laptops together at night while sprawled out on the large sofa in the living room.
When we are at home we also like to cook together; we are real pizza lovers. We own a red brick pizza oven by Ferrari in which you can bake a delicious pizza within 3 or 4 minutes. Once you have tasted these pizzas, you’ll never want anything else… Friends of ours regularly ask us when they can come over for pizza again;-). We got a secret recipe for pizza dough 😉 from an Italian cook. Our favourite pizza is Pizza Bianco (without tomato sauce) with mozzarella, smoked cheese (‘scamorza’), rosemary and olives.
Do you use your designs in your own home?
My own cushions are on the couch and other than that I keep some of my own art work on the walls: these are drawings that I may use for a product or an assignment one day. I do not have an ‘off’ setting as a designer; I am always designing, which is very restless but also nice. Without this restlessness there would be no new ideas, no inspiration. Whenever an image comes to mind, it is a challenge to create it. I rather quickly hop behind my computer; I don’t make a lot of sketches on paper.
What would you take with from your house if you would only be allowed to take 1 thing?
My granny’s record player from the fifties. It is made of bakelite, which is a very heavy but also very beautiful material. We got the record player restored so now it works again as it used to.
Was there ever a moment while growing up where you thought: yes, I am going to be a designer?
I always wanted to become an architect when I was younger, but I wasn’t good at maths so that was the end of that. My sister and I were always making drawings and doing arts & crafts together at home though. I studied Graphic Design at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. In hindsight, I was way more interested in illustrations.
What would you like to change in your home?
All these cheap doors! That is really the ugliest part of this house. We like living here but ultimately we would like to buy a house so we can make it our own. Eelco is working on the transformation of empty buildings (rezoning) for his work, and we regularly see interesting properties. We hope that one day we will find our dream house in there.
Where do you want to live 10 years from now? What does your dream house look like?
We are both city people and really love this neighbourhood (North of Rotterdam). It is lively here, folksy and a bit chaotic. There are more and more nice stores locating here and it is close to the centre of Rotterdam. We would love to live in an old school building, but in any case a building in which we would be able to determine the layout still.
Who are your examples/heroes/favourite designers?
There are many designers, from various disciplines, whose work I admire. At this moment, it is Olle Eksell, a Swedish illustrator, who inspires me. I admire his handwriting and the humour in his illustrations.
Name a negative trait of yours that is causing you the most problems
I get distracted easily! That can be difficult at times. I’m not so good with projects that drag on. When I am busy with a design for a very long time, I sometimes get tired of it. When I see it a year later I often do like it again.
What inspires you? Do you perhaps have a favourite blog or website that you like to visit?
Everything around me inspires me, I see beautiful shapes, patterns, colour combinations… When I need extra inspiration then I grab a book by Olle Eksell or another illustrator or artist. Pinterest is also a source of inspiration but can also be paralysing because of the overload of beautiful imagery.