Play furniture & growing furniture Cube 03 by Kathleen Opdenacker and Jeff De Brabander/ Nortstudio

Tell us about your background.  How did you become a designer?

Nortstudio was founded by Jef De Brabander and Kathleen Opdenacker in 2016. Our studio and workshop is based in Antwerp.

After working on our individual projects, we decided to team up and start working as a couple together. We immediately experienced the advantages of working as a couple. Complete trust, understanding each other and never blaming one another, made it right from the start.

We design and create together. During this process we bring together our own vision and opinion. Kathleen’s approach is rooted in graphic design, an eye for detail and a broad interest in materials. Jef’s approach is rooted in industrial engineering, profound knowledge of techniques and various craftsman’s skills. The interaction that takes place between us plays an important role leading up to the outcome of a final product.

Having 4 kids has made it crucial for us to search the right work-life balance. It’s a challenge, but our kids also guarantee us  to sometimes take a break when needed and to just enjoy.

Together we live and work in the North of Antwerp. This multicultural neighborhood is full of contrasts of all sorts. Finding harmony throughout an enormous variety is a daily challenge. Putting inspiration from our environment, the name of our studio is diverted from the word »North«.

What was your inspiration for play furniture Cube 03?

It’s a very basic piece of furniture we saw in the kindergarten of our own kids. Way back before we planned on making our own version.  Kids where using this piece all the time.

How children respond to your Cube 03?

Kids love it because of the playful colors and the form. They can build there own piece depending on their needs; as an table or chair. Parents love it because of the firmness and the quality of the laminate surface.

Are there other products that you produce specifically for children?

No. We design furniture and lighting objects. But maybe in the future we will find a new challenge in designing a new piece for kids.

A few personal questions at the end: What toys did you play with as a child? Did you have a favorite toy?

I had a long period i played with lego technics. Making things that could move.

If you look into a crystal ball and predict your future as a designer: what children’s product would you like to design next?

If I would design something new, I think it will be a kind of basic building blocks. Oblects that stimulates there fantasy.  I love it when kids start to play with stuff that aren’t toys. Building camps with all kind of stuff they can find in and outdoors. When they are creating something.

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