Gallery: INTERVIEW: We Interview Reluct’s Founder Joost Van Brug


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Joost Van Brug was the man behind Reluct – an excellent design blog that uncovered cutting edge design from 2003-2007. Although Joost is squarely a part of the Dutch design scene and frequently wrote about Dutch designers, his focus was international and his audience reflected this. Unlike many Dutch blogs, Reluct was published in English – and the majority of Joost’s readers were in the US. We sat down in with Joost in 2006 in Amsterdam to chat about Dutch design, design-blogging and sustainability in design. Hit jump to read what he had to say.

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  1. Kristina October 21, 2006 at 12:38 am

    The price of gas in Italy is exorbitant, one of the highest in Western Europe with no reasonable explanation except for taxes and middle man markups as its distributed along the peninsula. Notwithstanding, Italy has the highest number of cars per capita in Western Europe. >1 car per person. I’m sure you’d see more conservation in the U.S., but I don’t know that it would be THAT great!!!

    The idea of being cheap may also be explained in another context, but I think that Joost gets his message through to people who earn in economies where there isn’t much liquidity like in the U.S.: salaries are LOW here. People can’t afford designer anything, so they focus on necessity first and wants last, unless they are Italian and live at home until they are 40 and even afterwards and have their parents subsidize their lifestyles. In the U.S. you can work hard and find disposable income. In the U.S. a Maarten Baas Clay Furniture piece costs $8400 at Moss. That’s almost 40% of the average annual salary in Italy, and there are few if any upward prospects…

    Europe developed secondary credit markets way after the U.S., debt is relatively new. People save money here and save resources because they have lived through wars and have a conservationist mentality from the get go. The U.S. is only now starting to get a glimpse of how the rest of the world lives…

    I thought Joost’s interview answers were great.

  2. Joost August 19, 2006 at 6:52 am

    CKE. The Dutch are not cheap. That’s not what I tried to say. We rank one worldwide when it comes to donations. And you’re right that our laws are a lot more flexible than most, although I doubt that has anything to do with being cheap. We pay a lot of tax too. Much more than most countries. Besides that, we also prefer to save every euro we can. We just hate to ‘waste’ money. For the Dutch, buying luxury products (most good design is) is a total waste. So please read this interview in the context of design not politics.

    And you’re right. Being cheap isn’t bad at all, but it does make us different.

  3. CKE August 18, 2006 at 3:37 pm

    The Dutch are cheap!? So they get the wind to reclaim & drain their country from the sea. They don’t want to spend lots of money on legislating & enforcing unimportant morals. So they let you go ahead and patronize hash bars or red light districts. If sexy TV ads are a cheap way to sell your products, they think its fine for you to air them. They don’t want to waste money on civil servants legislating gay/lesbian/etc rules, and want to use their money instead to pay for public health & services. Maybe being cheap is not so bad.

  4. Jill August 16, 2006 at 3:44 pm

    Here’s my afterthought: Of course Joost is a very good-humored and self-effacing when it comes to explaining the unique qualities of Dutch design. However, I certainly don’t think that the quality of “cheapness” (as Joost describes it) is unique to the Dutch national character.

    Regarding our last conversation around sustainability, (i.e. the Dutch ride bikes because they are cheap) – I can’t help but think that if the cost of gasoline were more expensive in the U.S., (and if the US government didn’t subsidize the cost of oil), then a lot more Americans would be inclined to ride bikes, put up windmills, and as efficient with material resources as the Dutch. Cultural differences aside, I think all people around the world have a tendency towards doing whatever is easiest and cheapest, and that’s why we need good government policies and incentives in place to encourage people to do what is best for the future of society.

  5. Blueue August 14, 2006 at 4:17 pm

    The last sentence is so interesting.
    But I think something may be more meaningful, is that, once it is recognized and realized, it could be developed increasingly.
    So accidental thing is also very brilliant starting.

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