Product designer of the month - Oato design

Since I'm a big design lover and I always like to discover new brands, I decided to add a new item to my blog called: product designer of the month.
This month I spoke to Stefan Tervoort of Oato design. In 2012 Stefan Tervoort and Pim Snijdoodt graduated from the University for the Arts in Utrecht.  Three days after their graduation they founded Oato. Since their launch, they've already designed so many beautiful products, that I started to become curious about these two talented boys. I approached them to get to know a little bit more about these guys and their company.

Can you shortly introduce Oato to us?
Oato. is a design firm founded in 2012 by Pim Snijdoodt and myself. The name OATO means ‘one and the other’. It comes from the fact that Pim and I have different personalities, with different qualities, yet graduated in the same field: product design. We think that our different qualities can strengthen each other and thus cover more aspects of running a design office. Pim’s role is more on the general management side, communicating with stores, contacting clients, but he also works on designs in the form of research and models. My role is more that of an art-director, photography, communicative design like website, booklets and of course the products; technical drawings and 3D artwork.

Can you give us an example on how you complete each other in your work? 
Pim is very good in communicating with people on a personal level; he easily creates contacts and a network, really a very social person, but sometimes he is maybe too nice.
I’m more the opposite; more on my own, puzzling with the designs and details and the logic of the design, sometimes I’m a bit too difficult, haha. By combining these personalities we always end up in the middle.

Your designs are simple, minimalistic and very beautiful. They've got that Scandinavian/Nordic look and feel. What inspires you when designing a product?
Really can be anything, a material, form principal, structural things. Every project has it’s own dynamic and input of inspiration, but always we strive for them, to be simple.

What materials do you enjoy working with the most?
Also depends on the design I guess. So far we worked a lot with metal and wood, but now we’re also looking at acrylic, not a material we would have picked before, but we found the right design for it, we are very enthusiastic about it. Recently we also finished the porcelain Scape vases, a material I love as well.
We like to work with a variety of materials, challenge ourselves.

Holland's got many talented young designers, but it's often quite difficult for them to get noticed by the public. How do you try to get noticed? 
Many different ways, online platforms like blogs and magazines, but also physical presentations like Dutch Design Week.

Who's your favourite designer? 
The Bouroullec brothers, Nendo, Kenya Hara, Tokujin Yoshioka, Marc Newson and many more.

Where do you want Oato to be in 2020?
We hope to work with more producers and brands, have our own studio space and have enough work to generate a cash flow and have a self-sufficient company.


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