31 January – Guest 27: Gijs Bakker


Object: a bowl

I gained an intense experience when I discovered a bowl by Bruno Munari, whose name I first encountered in 1964 during a hitchhiking trip to Italy.

As a revelation there stood this object in a shop window in Naples amidst all kinds of household knick-knacks, like a kind of bright spark. I found that recognizing the revelation in the work of another can be just as important as recognizing the revelation in yourself. You see something, you hardly dare to believe it, you don’t know exactly what you see, but you experience such a strong emotion that you are sucked in, you want to touch it, and eventually you have to own it.

Any amount would be too much for a hitchhiker who had lived for weeks on bread and tomatoes and canned sardines, with the oil acting as sunscreen. The only thing of value I had in my backpack was my camera. It brought in just enough at the pawn shop to buy the dish.

Bruno Funari Bowl, 1960

Gijs Bakker, Spotwelded Bracelet / Puntlas Armband, 1966, stainless steel, h.75 x w.85 x d.43 mm


ON Gijs bakker

Gijs Bakker (Amersfoort, The Netherlands, 1942) was trained as a jewelry and industrial designer at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and the Konstfackskolan in Stockholm, Sweden.

His designs cover jewelry, home accessories and household appliances, furniture, interiors, public spaces and exhibitions. He worked and works for numerous companies, including Polaroid, Artifort, Droog Design, Castelijn, HEMA, Royal VKB, ENO Studio and recently as creative director for Yii, Taiwan.

Bakker taught at various schools, among which the ArtEZ Institute of the Arts in Arnhem, Delft University of Technology, and the Design Academy Eindhoven where he worked from 1987 until 2012 (since 2000 as Head of the Masters Programme). In 2016, Bakker joined as member of the Dutch Society of Arts (Akademie van Kunsten).

In 1993, Bakker co-founded Droog Design, a Dutch collective of designers, products and information. Together with Renny Ramakers, he was the selector and art director of all products within Droog Design until 2009.

In 1996, Bakker co-founded Chi ha paura…? (Italian for Who’s afraid of…?). With chp…?, the new brand name since 2013, they wanted to show the international design world that a piece of jewelry is more than a decorative fashion accessory. chp…? invites internationally acclaimed designers to create a special piece for the collection.

Gijs Bakker travels around the world to give workshops and lectures about his own work, Droog Design, chp…?, Yii /HAN gallery and is frequently a member of juries. His work is represented in both public and private collections worldwide. In 2018, Bakker received the royal distinction of Ridder in de Orde van de Nederlandse Leeuw.

In 2016 Bakker founded the MASieraad foundation together with Ruudt Peters, Ted Noten, Liesbeth den Besten, Liesbeth in’t Hout and Leo Versteijlen. MASieraad aims at the promotion of jewellery in a broad sense, through the organisation of education, workshops, lectures, exhibitions, and publications. MASieraad’s first project started at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam, as a temporary experimental 2-years Master called Challenging Jewellery.  In 2020 MASieraad founded the international two-years Masterclass Program MASieraad Hasselt – Amsterdam, or MASieraad H-A.



KAIROS 27 – A Talk with GIJS BAKKER – xxParticipants






xxxx // Kairos 27