An Eye for Aesthetics
A talk with Femke Furnee, founder of FEST Amsterdam
Right now, the exhibition Trapholt Collect is taking place. We are proud to have our Moth Chair included in the exhibition. To us, the exhibition is proof that thoughtfully designed furniture can be so much more than functionality – even pieces of art.
Luckily, we are not the only furniture brand with this attitude towards design: Femke Furnee of FEST Amsterdam has a good eye for aesthetics – an eye refined by her background in Art History. We were curious to know how her background has influenced her approach to design and set up an interview to learn more about the convergence between art and design.
Who is Femke Furnee?
I am Dutch, 32 years old, and have a background in art history (University of Amsterdam). In 2013 I founded FEST where I now function as Creative Director.
Tell us about FEST Amsterdam.
When was it founded and why: What motivated you?
I truly believe that a nicely decorated space can make you happy. But why is it so difficult to find well- designed furniture at a reasonable price? Five years ago, this question turned my life around. While decorating my first apartment in Amsterdam, I was looking for designer furniture at a reasonable price. This seemed almost impossible: My choices were limited to either mass produced furniture or unaffordable high-end designer brands. I felt something was missing – and I decided to fill the gap.
I founded FEST in 2013: An interior brand that offers affordable, well-designed furniture and home accessories. In recent years, FEST has grown into a brand with a clear identity. All of our furniture is produced in Europe, the majority even within The Netherlands. We have our own team of designers and frequently invite guest designers to design products or collections. Newcomers and oldtimers. Big names and talented up-and-comers. Together, we produce a collection that is affordable and high-end at the same time. Our aim is to democratize design.
Has your background in art history changed your approach to the industry?
My background in art history has refined my view on aesthetics. During my studies, I have learned so much about colors, styles, and compositions – I have a large ‘library’ of images, styles and art movements in my head. This enables me to tell if a product design is good, or if a certain direction will work – in the same way, I can indicate the quality of a work of art. It makes my work as Creative Director a lot easier.
How do you see the brand developing in the future?
We now have 2 brand stores in the Netherlands, our own webshop and 200 resellers in over 20 countries but we will keep on expanding. I would like FEST to become an internationally known design brand that collaborates with lots of young and renowned designers – international as well as national. I want to keep on extending our collection, so that we will be able to decorate a complete home interior, from living room to bedroom.