Amsterdam-based multidisciplinary designer Sandra Keja Planken and
X BANK present “The Wonder Room” — an exhibition showcasing the
designer’s vibrant line of handmade and locally-produced wall rugs, prints,
wallpapers, lamps, side tables and pillows.
Sandra’s creative spirit runs deep. As an artist and designer, her mind tends to
wander around—jumping from one idea to another, and seeing more than meets
the eye. She admits to being chaotic, and tends to lean on the people around her
to bring her a sense of structure. After studying facilities, marketing and
communication, she veered into interior design taught by an architecture studio.
This path led her to founding Studio Noun, an interior design studio now launching
its first independent interior line showcasing at X BANK during “The Wonder Room”
exhibition between 27 February and 5 May.
Three years ago, Sandra was leading a team of 10 people at Studio Noun, and
today they’re a team of only four. Managing a large team meant her time was spent
in meetings, juggling responsibilities. She no longer had space or time to explore
her creativity but started painting in her free-time. After realizing she wasn’t happy
spread across various clients and projects, she made the decision to turn Studio
Noun into its own brand and focused on launching self-initiated interior
projects. “The Wonder Room” exhibition at X BANK is the expression of Studio
Noun’s new independent trajectory, and the first-ever showcase of Sandra’s vision
translated into responsibly-crafted products.
We sat down with the self-taught artist and designer to ask her a few questions
about her work and upcoming exhibition.
What does creativity mean to you?
To me, creativity is looking at an object, space or line and seeing something else
in it almost immediately—creating something new out of matter that already exists
by continuously challenging and reimagining what it could be.
What inspires you?
I tend to get inspired when I’m out in nature, seeing new shapes and colors.
I also try to visit museums as much as I can. When I’m in Barcelona, I always
spend some time at MACBA—my favourite contemporary and modern art museum
Can you tell us more about the processes behind the production of the line?
The entire line is produced in Europe, with sustainable materials. The cushions are
made out of eco velvet in London, and my favourite piece—a wall rug called
“The Lips”—takes inspiration from traditional eucalyptus wool hand-tufting. All
product structures are feminine, funny, powered, amorphous and colourful. The
combination of the pink, red, salmon and green give these compositions &
products a vibrant rhythm. “They are an ode to all the ladies over the world and
created as a color collection”.
Eco velvet cushions by Sandra Keja Planken
“The entire line is handmade locally, and using sustainable materials.”
Can you tell us more about your favourite piece?
‘It’s a wall rug that’s hand-tufted. Hand-tufting is a very old technique that consists
of punching strands of wool into a canvas stretched onto a frame. I discovered this
technique over a year ago and got completely fascinated by it. I decided to give it a
try and found out I could create multiple layers on top of each other, so I used one
of my sketches and translated it into a rug. I’m fascinated by the idea of creating
layered and vibrant patterns using only fabric. Plus, the rug is made out of
eucalyptus wool, which is a big plus for the environment. You can also morph the
pattern and rug into your own bespoke size and shape. For me the goal was almost
feeling like you are being kissed by this wonderful landscape walking through the
high versatility of the wool.’
Hand-tufted wall rug by Sandra Keja Planken
Who is Studio Noun for?
Studio Noun is for people who aren’t afraid: it’s for those who yearn to add depth,
vibrancy and boldness to their space.
What made you reach out to X BANK for Studio Noun’s first solo exhibition?
What does X BANK mean to you?
This project means a lot to me — it’s kind of like my baby. Seeing it come to life
in a space like X BANK feels a bit surreal. Before fully committing to the production
of the interior line, I already knew there were a few non-negotiable elements that
the project needed to fulfil—it would have to be sourced locally, and celebrate
fluidity as art. I thought of X BANK and realized it was the ideal place to present
my work—an art-led concept store and exhibition space focused on Dutch
creativity that constantly reinvents itself and provides an invaluable platform for
emerging talents, right in the middle of Amsterdam. The collaboration just made
sense, it felt right given the essence of what Studio Noun is about and where it’s at.
Which project did you love most in your career as an interior designer?
I was commissioned to design a house in Utrecht. I was given carte blanche for
the whole project, and got to design and decorate it entirely from scratch.
Another completely different project that I loved working on was the Ping Pong
Club. Given that the project had pop-up budget, it’s budget was really limited.
It forced me think creatively and find budget-friendly ways to decorate the place.
Design house in Utrecht by Sandra Keja Planken
Where do you see Studio Noun in the future?
On short-term, Studio Noun, is going to re-design a monumental house of 4 floors
with lots of amorphous shapes and forms in natural colours, a jazz club and new
pop up venue. And we’re just about to take on a project that’s going to keep us busy.
We were assigned to re-design an Art Deco venue. The project is set in a
building that will host a restaurant, culture and a ton of art.
Sandra her personal next step is designing a lot more of her own products for her
mind never stops. And my husband and I’s next big moonshot idea is to open a
boutique villa & small hotel. We’re ready to create something that lasts, something
unique, durable and permanent where our creative minds come together!
Discover "The Wonder Room" at X BANK during the opening party on 27 February
from 18.00 to 20.00. The exhibition will be on view until 5 May.