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InteriorsStudio Tour

Studio Tour: French Toast Studio

by Rebekah Carey

Amanda Swart and Nienke Mulder share a deep love of color and have made it their mission to infuse more color into people’s lives through their designs. Both illustrators, Nienke and Amanda met and graduated from the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Together they decided to meld their interests in fashion, styling, and art to form their own Rotterdam-based design studio, . “We aim to create products like art prints and interior products that bring some extra sparkles to your home. Products, designed with love, that make you happy on a daily basis! Besides that, we design a lot of patterns for textiles and we are working on developing new products to expand our own product range,” the duo shares.

Amanda and Nienke are fortunate to work in a building with other creatives whom they can collaborate on projects with and seek trusted recommendations. Their luck is not lost on them, “Our studio is based in Rotterdam, in a building together with a lot of small creative businesses. We are among architects, photographers, shoe designers, graphic designers, ceramicists, artists/painters, product designers and musicians. This creates a very inspirational atmosphere to work in.” Not only are there a host of creative types to pull from, but their building also has a fabrication lab which any of the businesses can freely use. uses it as they create new prototypes, laser-cut their line, and develop new products — all without having to leave their own building.

The duo’s studio is packed with everything they need for their design business, a space that’s all their own to express their style and display their own products. While they restrained themselves from painting the entire studio their favorite color (pink), they did define their nook with the welcoming shade. The nook, which happened to be the perfect size for their velvet green couch, is now Nienke and Amanda’s favorite area of their studio. Follow along to see how they’ve made the studio work for them to reflect their passions, and how they’re doing their part to add more color to the world.

Photography by  

Image above: “Obviously we have a favorite color,” Amanda and Nienke tease about their use of pink throughout their studio. 

A Colorful Design Studio In The Netherlands Tour On Design*Sponge
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“The fake flower bouquet is one of our first product ideas. We love flowers and plants and we really do try to be the best plant mommies we can be, but for some reason our green friends hardly ever survive,” Nienke and Amanda admit. “This is why we came up with the idea of the lazy plants and they are perfect for everyone who is not gifted with a green thumb. There [are] a lot of different designs and they come in all the colors of the rainbow!”

The Designers Of French Toast Studio Enjoying The Colorful Nook Of Their Studio On Design*SPonge
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“Blending in.” It’s only appropriate that a studio that is inspired by Amanda and Nienke’s favorite things and current inspirations would leave the duo somewhat camouflaged!

A Pink Corner Of The Studio With Tour On Design*Sponge
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The nook in the studio features a gorgeous couch and more of the color that has them besotted. “Pink and green is our favorite color combo and it never gets old. The couch is velvet and really comfy. The art on our pink wall is a mixture of our own prints and artworks. Johnny (Depp) and Mick (Jagger) have their own spot on the wall as well, because they are, in our opinion, also a form of art.”

Products And Favorite Pieces Adorn The French Toast Studio Shelves On Design*Sponge
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“Everything on the cabinet perfectly shows the combination of pink, kitsch and print clashing that we are all about,” Nienke and Amanda share.

Current Design Projects On The Work Table In The French Toast Studio On Design*Sponge
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“A selection of our art prints: Pink Melon art print, Pink Landscape art print, Dune Landscape art print and some sketches of ideas for applying patterns,” the duo explains.

Fashion And Color-Filled Corners Inspire The French Toast Studio Designers
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Form meets function on a clothes rack in the studio, “We love this system to store our recent work, sketches and prints. It looks cute, you have a great overview of your work, and of course it doubles as a place for our coats.”

Thrifted Finds Sit Comfortable Among The French Toast Products On Design*Sponge
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Amanda and Nienke display products of their own, works from artists they appreciate, and found pieces. “An art print from one of our favorite painters, Raoul Duffy, some objects we found in thrift shops and our own design in lilac.”

An Online Thrifted Sculpture That May Have Been A Little More Than The Duo Was Imagining Has Since Become An Imaginary Guiding Light Tour The Design Studio On Design*Sponge
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Nienke and Amanda’s current inspirations are always within reach. “At the moment, we are for example really into Greek and ancient sculpture and are currently working on some prints inspired by it. At an online marketplace we bought a Greek pillar and head, not realizing they were made of real stone and therefore way too heavy for us to lift. It took us half a day to transport them to our studio, lugging them around and taking them with us onto a bus and a metro. As you can understand, we got a real deep connection with our Greek man during this tough road, which made us decide to name him ‘Henry, the Head.’ Since that day, Henry is always there for some good advice or to model for us.”

French Toast Studio's Favorite Corner Of Their Studio In The Netherlands Tour On Design*Sponge
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The designers share what they hoped for in a creative space: “For us, it’s important that the space we work in foster inspiration and creativity. We surround ourselves with everything we like: lots of color (pink is taking over), prints, glitter, color, kitschy objects and plants. Therefore our studio really reflects who we are as designers and the work we make. In this way, our studio is really becoming a part of our branding. We also wanted to create different areas even though our studio is not that big. It is important for us to have a corner to relax and have enough space to work as well.”

New
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New products fresh from their in-house fabrication lab on the premises. “Our Lazy Plant designs, hot off the press.”

A Bold Emerald Green Couch Juxtaposed Against A Pale Pink Wall In The French Toast Studio On Design*Sponge
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“Our favorite corner of our studio,” the duo shares.

French Toast Studio Details On Design*Sponge
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“Some good gold kitsch never harmed anyone.” While Amanda and Nienke feel incredibly fortunate to have their space and have made it fit them expertly, there are a few details they wouldn’t mind improving upon. “Ideally we want our studio to be neat, clean and perfectly decorated at all times. However, we don’t have enough space to store all the cardboard boxes, tools, packaging and wooden plates we use (we now always hide things behind the sofa, or squeeze as much as we can in our brown, retro cupboard). Our biggest dream is to have a whole separate warehouse, for all our storage and messy painting sessions, in order to keep the office nice and clean for inviting clients. Also more pretty, natural light would be ideal.”

A Production Corner Of The French Toast Studio On Design*Sponge
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This busy and colorful corner of the studio Amanda and Nienke share is “The area where the work gets done.”

French Toast Studio Designed Prints Hang Next To Thrifted And Favorite Gems In The Studio Tour On Design*Sponge
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“‘Harry the Cheese plant’ shining on our retro cupboard. One of our most loved objects is ‘Harry’ our cheese plant. We bought him in London when we lived there for a few months for our textile design internships. We are quite dramatic with plants, but for some reason he stayed alive and survived two moves (one of them from the UK back to the Netherlands in a tiny, fully loaded car). We are really proud that he is still alive and he reminds us of all the good times we had in London. That was a very special time, actually. In our tiny East London apartment, we found out that our styles match really well, that we like exactly the same things, share the same dreams and have the same goals. We also realized that we love to see the prints and patterns we design to be turned into products. This realization made us decide to officially join forces and form a design duo. So you can actually say that the first ideas for French Toast Studio were born in that tiny apartment in East London.”

The Creative Duo Of French Toast Studio At Their Work Station On Design*Sponge
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“Work hard, play harder!” A sentiment we can get behind, and the women share what they’re most thankful for in their studio: “That we managed to create our own cozy, inspiring and happy little home away from home, where working doesn’t feel like working.” And, they add, “Having unlimited excess to the fab-lab is also a big blessing!”

SOURCE LIST

Lazy Plants-
Couch- IKEA,
Table- IKEA,
Pink Chairs- Secondhand/ (different color)
White Shelf-
Retro Cupboard- Secondhand
Leopard rug-
Clothing rack-

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