Q & A with Robert van Weezendonk
What inspires you?
I've always a been a maker, from when I was a kid creating models and products in my free time. I always look at nature’s cues and the unique perspectives it shows us. When I make things with a human-centric focus, I aim to assist people in various ways—emotionally, physically, mechanically, and aesthetically.
What's your educational background?
I have a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design from the University of the the Arts in Philadelphia and a degree in Fine Arts from Mercer County College. Coupled with my mechanical design-engineering experiences, I feel well-suited to attack many kinds of challenges in service of the best product and experience for the end user.
How does being born in The Netherlands inform your work?
While my family moved to the east coast when I was young, I spent most of my summers in The Netherlands, often on my grandfather's farm. I visit whenever I can and love the language and industrious thinking there. I became fascinated with scale model making after my first trip to Madurodam, the miniature city of The Netherlands, where buildings, boats, planes and trains inspire awe. I knew at that time, I wanted to create functional scale models.
What other experiences have shaped how you think and work?
While studying Industrial Design, I was employed by the US Army Reserves in a Transportation Battalion to gain discipline and understanding of their needs. I also worked at car dealerships. Both these experiences taught me about the need for continuous product improvements. This helped launch my career with automotive suppliers and various vehicle manufacturers.
What are you most passionate about?
I really like helping people feel better and be more comfortable. I recently designed a standing desk platform which gives people an affordable way to improve their postures. Lots of happy customers! Another recent project brought out my farm roots; it was the conversion of a grassy knoll in our backyard into a food garden for my family. I also just converted our greenhouse to a solar-powered art studio using lots of reclaimed materials. I love considering environmental solutions. As for my studio, I can't wait to spent more time in there making models and painting what nature inspires.