Streets of London and New York are in Amsterdam


Interview with Helmich Jousma by Viveka van de Vliet.

There was a triple gap,’ says Helmich Jousma, Concept Design team leader at Interface Netherlands, cryptically. He knows that the fact that the Dutch office of the international company specialising in sustainable floor coverings is located in Scherpenzeel seems far off to many people. ‘By participating in this design event, we’ll meet in Amsterdam and close that gap.’

Then there’s the third gap: because of Covid-19 all activities have ceased. After all the webinars, Skype, Zoom and Team meetings, Jousma longs for live meetings, and he is happy that Interface can be visible again after four months. ‘The great thing about GLUE is that, in the context of a diversity of creative disciplines, we are able to present our new collections to a large and diverse design community of interior architects, designers, and architects. And to a broad audience interested in new trends.’

Helmich Jousma, Teamleader Concept Design at Interface. Photo by Oscar Vinck.

NY + LON Streets, the new carpet tile collection to be launched in early October, is inspired by the different patterns of streets in the iconic metropolises of New York and London. A preview will be presented during GLUE in a special way, Jousma promises. ‘This collection represents a city within a city and that’s ideal for lovers of unique cities, whether it’s New York, London or Amsterdam.’

With a collection of carpet tiles, luxury vinyl tiles, and nora® rubber floors, Interface is focusing on the commercial segment: offices and hospitality environments including hotels. During GLUE, Jousma and his team of 25 people hope that designers, architects, and interior architects who use their products, will also stop by. ‘Since it is usually difficult to get architects to Scherpenzeel, Amsterdam is an interesting place for Interface: you’ll find a high density of architects there,’ he knows. ‘The creative clients with whom we collaborate are mostly large international firms and renowned internationally operating Dutch architectural firms that are concentrated in the capital, such as HofmanDujardin, MVSA Architects, and Concrete.’

Jousma confirms without judgement that the debate at the Stedelijk Museum during the opening of GLUE will also focus on young creatives who, unlike those large established agencies, are being chased out of Amsterdam because there are hardly affordable breeding grounds or other creative spaces anymore. ‘Rotterdam is more accessible; Amsterdam is expensive and almost fully developed. The result is that the larger, successful agencies are located in Amsterdam and the up-and-coming, more low-profile creatives and small-scale agencies are mainly located in Rotterdam.’

Personally, he has been moving closer and closer to the capital, although he still doesn’t live there. Originally from Hoogeveen (Drente), he studied in Zwolle, Arnhem, and Industrial Design at the Design Academy in Eindhoven (1991-1998) where, because of his great love for colour and painting, he felt like an outsider. After that, Jousma lived in Rotterdam, worked at Ontwerpwerk in The Hague and Ontwerpzaken in Utrecht, and now lives in Hilversum ‘which has a good train connection with Amsterdam and Schiphol Airport,’ he adds. Jousma has been working at Interface for fourteen years now, where, with his extensive knowledge of product development, interior design, and colour, he heads a team that provides creative and aesthetic advice to customers.

The Interface team leader can regularly be found in Amsterdam, where he can go in all directions with international teams and customers. ‘For example, we can get a guided tour of the Rijksmuseum or do an architectural tour from the water, and then we cross the IJ for dinner at De Goudfazant in the north. Then we spend the night in another great hotel such as the Lloyd Hotel, the Volkshotel, or Hotel De Hallen.’

Find the exhibition in Amsterdam