WATdesign is a multidisciplinary design studio, founded in 2002 by Jan Habraken and Maarten Baptist. The collaboration between these two started at the Design Academy Eindhoven, The Netherlands where they both graduated from the department Man and Living under auspices of Gijs Bakker (Droog Design). Gijs' farewell speech: "Listen to my words, where going to here from these two again." has proved to be right over the years.
WAT is an abbreviation for Working Apart Together. This name also represents the WATfilosofy, Jan and Maarten work on a wide array of projects together and independently. This formula has its origin in Eindhoven, where they started WATdesign next to their own personal projects. Working apart together has recently again proven it’s success. Since the New York Office of WATdesign was opened they have started their own line of products WATproducts in the US and have been consulting for several major American companies.
The power of using the specific talents from each person has proven to be very inspiring. Which is why through the years they have started diverse collaborations with other design experts around the world. This way WATdesign can offer an answer to every design question.‘We are a very flexible company that can grow or shrink to the client’s demand.’
There are only a few companies worldwide that have brought such a wide variety of designs in to the world. The cardboard booths, high tech ski slope markers, cutlery, merchandise, prints, furniture, glassware and outdoor furniture are just a glimpse of what WAT is capable of.
WATdesign has set the goal to focus on autonomous design next to commercial projects. By experimenting in total freedom and gaining new inspiration, the studio succeeds at staying fresh and up-to-date. That is why WATdesign presents itself at the most important design fairs around the world every year, from Milan to Tokyo to the ICFF in New York. ‘This challenge keeps us sharp.’
WATdesign’s unique way of working has resulted in a wide variety of design projects. From big commercial projects, like the interior decoration of the 2000 m2 headquarters of Internet company ILSEmedia, to smaller items, like the very successful water decanter, that is sold throughout the world by Royal VKB. But also the autonomous designs find there way around the world, this has been proven by numerous worldwide publications and exhibitions, from the Museum for Gestaltung in Zurich to the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in New York. You can find WATdesign everywhere.
The recent opening of the New York studio seemed a logical step in the process of spreading the success of WATdesign around the world. ‘Working Apart Together could not have been taken more literally’. From the New York studio clients like Kikkerland and Target are being served. This is also where their own product line has been launched, called WATproducts. The international cooperation has created the possibility to serve clients on a 24-hour basis. In New York, work is also done for Dutch clients and vice versa. ‘WAT knows what the future will bring’.