Fit for a king

Studio Job – made up of a much-admired pair of designer-aritsts based in Antwerp and Netherlands – has designed a royal postage stamp for His Majesty King Willem-Alexander.

“The design of the permanent King stamp is an icon that must remain relevant and usable throughout the king’s reign. The portrait must appeal to the general public and at the same time be personal.”

The design is inspired in part by the first Dutch postage stamp, issued in 1852, which shows King Willem III in profile. In this modern version, His Majesty is looking directly at us. “Digital modelling” has been used to create a three-dimensional portrait – an accessible, informal picture that is fully in keeping with the new reign. The stamp is in the colours of the Dutch flag: red, white and blue.

The Museum for Communication and PostNL are holding the “XXS Dutch Design” exhibition at Muscom in The Hague to mark the occasion. It runs until June 29, 2014, at Zeestraat 82, The Hague.


Founded in 2000 by Mr. & Mrs. Smeets, both graduates of the Design Academy Eindhoven, now based in Antwerp and the Netherlands. They redefine the decorative arts for the contemporary age. Their collaboration has created highly expressive, mainly one-off or limited edition works, from the outset.

Often cast in bronze or, later, crafted from laser-cut marquetry, the physical potential and malleability of the materials they use is pushed to the hilt. Their approach is more in keeping with that of traditional guilds than anything industrial. For Studio Job, creation is pre-eminent over definition. Smeets describes it thus: “Unlike most, we are probably not coming from Modernism. Studio Job’s contribution is that we have rediscovered a lost path. Consciously and carefully, we are positioning decorative arts in the twenty-first century. Is that design? Whatever. Is that art? Whatever, really.”

Opulent, intricate and ironic, Studio Job combine an extraordinarily high level of craftsmanship with extreme ornamentation. They reference both the traditional and the topical, the organic and the artificial. This narrative conveys a tension between the good and the bad exploring all facets of each. Their iconography is at once heraldic and cartoon-like, monumental and yet somehow primitive. Due to this combination of elements, Studio Job’s style has become synonymous with the term ‘neo-gothic’. This style is placed within an enigmatic, intellectual framework by the number and complexity of symbols and signifiers it conveys.

Studio Job’s work is widely collected both in the private and public sectors. Their designs have been added to more than 40 international museum collections. Although, by definition, their work has primarily been geared towards collectors and museums, Studio Job has collaborated successfully with various likeminded brands eg. Bisazza, Bulgari, Koninklijke Tichelaar Makkum, Land Rover, Lensvelt, L’Oréal, Maharam, Moooi, Nodus, PostNL, Swarovski, Venini, Viktor & Rolf, Vlisco en Volvo. There have been solo exhibitions in eg. New York, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Paris, London, Milan, Geneva, Miami and Basel. Also Studio Job is regularly awarded as Best and Most Important Designers.

In 2009 Nynke and Job opened Studio Job Gallery, a curatorial exhibition space for contemporary art and design based in Antwerp. In 2010 an important monograph titled The Book of Job’ was launched by the New York publishing house Rizzoli and the Studio Job Lounge was opened inside the prestigious Groninger Museum. In 2011, Nynke and Job turned a post war villa into Studio Job House filled with modernistic icons and contemporary pieces. The Groninger recently dedicated a massive retrospective accompanied by a new book to celebrate the large body of work of these world famous creators!

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