I love love love vintage furniture, my whole house is decorated with old stuff. Most items, like a cabinet, a rocking chair and Roos’ bed, are family pieces and some I found myself at vintage stores in Rotterdam. All items have in common they are all made of wood, as I love this natural material.
In Rotterdam we have several real good furniture makers that work meanly with wood. One of them is Bas van de Keijzer. I visited him recently at his brand new studio at De Kroon. A 10.000m2 hub for makers, thinkers and doers as they describe themselves on Instagram.
”You have to cycle until you see the big blue water pool, there you’ll find my studio.” Bas is guiding me while I’m on my bike. Of course I wasn’t expecting him to say ‘water pool’ but it definitely helped me finding his place. As it was super super hot the day I visited him for one second I wanted to jump directly into his pool when I arrived, but ok a glass of water is fine as well.
His atelier is huge and it smells after wood. Bas says he doesn’t smell it anymore. ‘’My girlfriend calls me houtmannetje (men of wood)’’, he tells while smiling. Via large windows the studio is filled with daylight. In the back of his studio is a huge saw. “As a furniture maker you can not do without such a device,” Bas says. He also can not do without his mill table. He shows how it works. The sound is cutting through the room. Bass protects his ears with large black earmuffs. A quickly take a couple of photo’s while Bas is working.
In 2012 Bas started with a box of tools and an old jigsaw. Sanding and sawing then still takes place in his own home in Blijdorp where you could not turn your butt in no time. ,, I love interiors and being a child I always liked creating things. I did a little bit of work in my own house. Friends saw me busy and told me to start for myself. ”
Because Bas likes to work with a furniture maker, he decides to cycle around the city and ask various furniture makers if he could work for them. ,, I wanted to work for free of charge, but nobody like the idea of putting time into someone who could not do anything. And that while I was very eager to learn. But they all told me that it was better not to start working as a furniture maker because there was not a lot of money to earn in the field.. ”
Despite all demotivating words, Bas decided to go for it and familiarize himself with the profession. ,, I stood in my garden under a party tent for hours. Neighbours saw me busy and so the first assignments came in. From a table to a loft bed. I just tried to make it all. “Thanks to the assignments Bas can eventually move into a shed in Blijdorp where he builds his first studio. ,, The things I made I posted on Instagram and thanks to those posts I got new assignments. ” Not only does the social media platform help him to customers, but also the nightlife of Rotterdam. ,,I met so many people that also started their own business and needed a cupboard or desk for example, and could use my help.”
Not only did he help many Rotterdam entrepreneur to create a tailor-made piece of furniture, but also in many houses a Van De Keijzer piece of furniture now adorns. ,, I think it’s amazing that I can create things myself, but I also like the personal contact. I like it when I can help people by making something that makes use of the space as well as possible. My furniture is simple, sleek and timeless so it can last for years. ”
His client base now extends over the Rotterdam city lines. Also in Amsterdam and Utrecht living rooms have a Van De Keijzer. But Bas makes sure not leaving Rotterdam: “This city has given me everything. My girlfriend, child, friends and own furniture studio. ”
Bas was futured in my weekly column Nultien Eigen Kweek of AD-Rotterdams Dagblad, 11 augustus 2018.