Tolhuijs’ headquarters is situated just outside of Amsterdams city center. As Amsterdam is the ultimate bike city, I brought my yellow Belgian racer with me and switched public transport for cycling. My studio/apartment is in the centre, so Tolhuijs is about 10mins by bike. Unfortunately, I have a very poor sense of direction and in some way I almost always end up getting lost. So I asked my boyfriend to join me on my first morning as he is a direction crack. Just as he expected, my lonely ride home took way more time than it should.
Their studio is located in the ‘Da Vinci Creative spaces’, a building where many creative minds come together. The view from the window is without doubt ‘Dutch’. The workplace is filled with prototypes and products which they mostly made themselves. Plants are everywhere. One of Tolhuijs’ most valuable products is the Nespresso coffee machine, not eco or upcycled, but how nice is it to get a good cup of coffee to start the day?
All in all, my high dose of stress which started the night before my first day here was a waste of energy. A day in Tolhuijs always starts in their sofa, with a coffee in the hand and an evaluation of tasks to be done that day. As just an intern, Bastiaan and Samuel made me feel very welcome. We are not treated differently here, coffee is being served for me and not always the other way around. Everything is discussed together, trust and honesty are highly appreciated, something I already realised on the first day when Bastiaan handed me the keys to enter the office.
I wanted to experience life in Tolhuijs because of their significant products. Every object has a history, nothing’s just a product. Most of it is upcycled, something I find very inspiring because in this way they are an example of how to help the environment and future. By only producing the products in social workplaces and prisons they also help people. These are people with poor job prospects. By providing them this knowledge it’s easier for some to get a job in the ‘real’ world, if that option would occur.
Almost everything they do is with an eco mind. Your coffee cup you get in the morning will be the same one as you use in the afternoon. While making an illustrator document you use as less space as you can. The steel they use for that chair or table is one time 3cm and the other time 5cm, it all depends on what they have, not what they can produce extra.
Everything in a nutshell, writing a blog for Tolhuijs is an honour as they are one small but great example of how many big companies should think.