Kees Spanjers is a registered interior architect and architect living and working in Amsterdam and New York. He is the director of Zaanen Spanjers Architects. He is the recipient of numerous awards, in particular the Architectural Record Interiors Award and the European Parking Award. Kees held the position of President of ECIA from 2004–2008. He also served as a co-opted board member of IFI from 2004–2009. Over many years, Kees has contributed to the design community by serving on several platforms. Kees has written professional articles in numerous publications, and has been active on several international panels and juries. He is the initiator and curator of the World Interiors Meeting in Amsterdam in 2013 and in Guangzhou, China, in 2014.
Space, place, people
To manage the complexity of being in a civilised society, we develop a sense of place. As opposed to space, place is traditional, preconceived and habitual (Michel de Certeau). It includes layers of emotion, aesthetic appreciation and personal interest. Place can be constructed or imagined; it can be a building or a dwelling. In either case, it constitutes a body of images that give either proof or the illusion of stability (Gaston Bachelard). Place is the balancing act between public and private space; between intimate secret and open display.
If place is tranquil and space is liberating (Yi-Fu Tuan), then what is our role as designers? Designing for people requires an understanding, or at least an open attitude to the aesthetic, moral and metaphysical aspects of life. Designers like to take space – the abstract, the inviting, the liberating as a starting point. But we shape our buildings first, and then our buildings shape us (Winston Churchill). Once materialised, design has a huge impact on people. Place must be conquered from space.