The WWW's — A Chat with Okke and Xander from Studio HENK

Have you heard of The WWW’s? Through this section on our website, you’ll be able to get to know our clients a little better, as we’ll dive deep into the WHO, WHAT and WHY of their brands. Intrigued? Then read on to discover more!

Meet Okke and Xander Albers, the two founding fathers (or should we say 'brothers') of Studio HENK. The Dutch furniture design studio creates furniture for everyday life. With stores in both Amsterdam and Antwerp, the brand is catering to the needs of its clientele by offering furniture that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional. All pieces from the collection can be customised and are created to last a lifetime., @studiohenk, #studiohenk

Hi Okke and Xander! Could you please introduce yourselves and tell us about your background and education?

Okke is an entrepreneur and a strategist. He’s got a business administration degree and has two right hands that like to be put to work. Both in business and in life, he loves challenges and dreams big. Xander is an architect and has completed several architecture studies, including at the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam. He is the creative director of the brand and works with the design team on a wide range of Studio HENK designs.

How did you come up with the idea to start a furniture design studio? Where does the name ‘Studio HENK’ originate from?

Okke and Corine —also involved in the company from the beginning— were looking for a dining table. What they found was never exactly the right design, size or colour. Xander drew their wish, after which Okke, together with Corine's father Henk, made the first table. Soon more acquaintances wanted a similar table, and Studio HENK was born. Studio HENK stands for the Dutch values of the company and its clear, straightforward designs.

Could you tell us a little more about the sustainable angle of your brand and products?

Sustainable entrepreneurship is a value that is very important to Studio HENK. First and foremost, we create timeless products that can be enjoyed for a lifetime, both in terms of quality and design. Also, the furniture of Studio HENK is produced in Europe, which ensures limited transport emissions. Finally, many products are made from sustainable FSC-certified wood and, if possible, other sustainable materials.

Can you give us a little insight into your design process? Where does your inspiration come from?

Within the design team, we usually already have an idea of what type of product we want to add to the collection, so that is often our starting point. The design process is often intuitive: we start with all kinds of sketches, drawings and scale models that eventually lead to functional, versatile products. We look around us a lot for inspiration; trends in design, fashion and architecture are a great source of inspiration, but so is everyday life.

You recently opened the first international Studio HENK flagship store right here in Antwerp. Could you tell us what drew you to the city and the location of your store?

We noticed at one point that there was quite a lot of demand for our products in Belgium, so it seemed a logical choice to open our second shop there. Antwerp is one of the most creative cities and therefore the most obvious option for us. When we came across a beautiful building in the Kloosterstraat, the very street that is traditionally known for its interior design shops, everything came together nicely. An added bonus of this location is that it is on the outskirts of the city, so the shop is easily accessible by car.

What does the future of Studio HENK look like? Do you have any dreams?

We believe that furniture can be made both humanely and environmentally friendly. We are committed to cusomised design, and therefore want to offer exactly what our audience is looking for. We want to reach as many people as possible with our furniture, and make every home a little cosier. And all that with items of the highest quality, with a timeless design, and made from environmentally friendly materials, produced in a sustainable way.

What advice would you give to people who are considering starting their own business?

If you truly believe it, you can go far. Try to recognise what time period we live in; give the customer choices and put the customer first. Advise, inform and inspire people.

Thank you Xander and Okke, for the inspirational talk! We wish you the best of luck with your future endeavors!
Intrigued and want to know more? Check out Studio HENK and get inspired.

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