Dutch Berry Dijkstra’s Stacked Interiors

Design collector and interior stylist Berry Dijkstra creates compositions by stacking his furniture and decorative objects. The Dutchman, who is an Instagram sensation, will curate two design exhibitions in Brussels next month.

Roman heads, lattice blocks, 1950s sideboards, neon lights, school chairs: Berry Dijkstra (42) regularly turns her interior upside down: stacks furniture and decorative objects to create still lifes that she Instagrams for her 12,000 people. subscribers. The objects that seem spontaneously stacked are actually a meticulous composition on which he works for four to eight hours. Why? “Because I love it!”, replies the Dutchman, laughing. “I live among my installations: they are not staged.”

If we say that this hobby has taken unexpected proportions, it would not do his job justice. He says of himself that he is a composition artist. “I dedicate a lot of time to it and take care of it. This work combines my roles as a curator, collector and composer,” he explains. We could draw a parallel with Marcel Duchamp and his found object, as he uses existing objects to create something new. “I leave function aside, leaving only form, composition and material. My images aim to invite people to look at design in a different way. And to show that decoration can be fun and functional.”

Between bric-a-brac and staging, household piles of Dijkstra berries are a permanent construction site.
©Berry Dijkstra

“I don’t have stock or warehouse full of objects: I only use what I have at home. I like this challenge of always using the same elements to always create a new composition.”

Berry Dijkstra

interior stylist


In the Netherlands, Elle Déco magazine produced a report on its Pastoe furniture collection four years ago. “I helped the photographer put my pieces together to create an interesting image. When he offered to help me put everything together, I said ‘let’s leave it at that’. It all started like this.” Since then, he has never stopped “playing”, in his words. He’s already taken a hundred pictures from his stacks. “I work with what’s in my house. I like the challenge of using the same elements to create a new composition over and over again. Of course, sometimes I also buy something or borrow something from a designer.”

His photos were quickly identified, making him a trendsetter. Last year, he even won an “influencer award” from the Finnish e-tailer Design Shop. However, he prefers not to be called an influencer. “It’s nice to be recognized, especially when there are people on the jury that I admire, like Danish designer Nina Bruun, but I make these compositions for myself, because I think they’re great. influencer that promotes. So far, I’ve only done one paid mission, for the Tylko brand , but with complete artistic freedom. My Instagram account was never a goal: it only serves to showcase my aesthetic and provide a platform for designers who like.”

His compositions illustrate his evolution as a collector. The beginning of the vintage gradually gave way to contemporary design.
©Kaatje Verschoren

This personal work also leads to assignments. He created a pile of furniture by the Belgian brand Valerie Objects for the Susan Bijl store in Rotterdam, as well as an exhibition at the Salon Salon gallery with photographer Pim Top. Latest collaboration: Collectible in Brussels, the fair dedicated to contemporary design, asked him to organize an exhibition of emerging designers for which he worked on the theme “Ecapism” and selected twenty international names. “While I was preparing it, Holland was confined for the umpteenth time and I needed to escape reality, hence the choice of this theme.”

Dijkstra is also responsible for the scenography, but this time it will not be stacked. “All creators deserve enough space to showcase their work.” In parallel, she organized a second exhibition in Brussels, “Down to Earth”, at the Shak Gallery. “I introduce Dutch designers who focus on experimenting with materials. By Dutch designers I mean designers working in the Netherlands. I no longer want to use the term ‘Dutch design’ which refers to the 90s scene, Marcel Wanders etc. The landscape of contemporary design in the Netherlands has become much more international, designers from all over the world attend the Design Academy in Eindhoven and many of them stay here, which generates very interesting interest.”

Berry Dijkstra works for hours on his compositions. There is no Photoshop: everything is real.
©Kaatje Verschoren

order work

Self-taught, Dijkstra is like a fish in water in the design world while having a communication background. She learned about design by “reading and looking at many things, visiting fairs, exhibitions and galleries”. For a long time, he worked for design brands such as Hay and the Rotterdam Groos concept store. An activity he combined with interior design work for individuals, which he advised on layout, color palette and furniture. “It’s good, but it’s a commissioned job.”

So he goes crazy at home. He lives in the duplex penthouse of a 1906 mansion with lots of light, high ceilings adorned with original moldings and doors. “For people, decoration is something static. You choose your furniture once and for all. What a funny idea! For me, it has to change all the time. Even the seasons play a role: when the sun shines differently, I change the living room and dining room, for example. Every time you rearrange your house, you experience it differently.”

bargain collector

His stacks evoke an urban landscape, mainly because of the way he photographed them, from the front and from a low angle. “Urbanism and architecture are my sources of inspiration. Cities are 3D collages, like my still lifes. Rotterdam, above all, is a heterogeneous mix of styles, the result of the reconstruction of the city after the bombings of the Second World War that had destroyed its historic center. The combination of the old and the new creates friction, and that’s what excites me. In Brussels, you find a similar mix.”

The piles seem improvised while they are the result of long reflection.
©Berry Dijkstra

If we compare their first stacks made in May 2018 with those of today, we see a clear evolution. They became much busier, like his house. As befits a collector at heart, he is better at buying than selling. “I have a hard time getting rid of my objects. Sometimes I sell something, but I never buy anything with the intention of reselling it.”

In his still lifes, we also detect an evolution of his personality as a collector. Initially the emphasis was on vintage, with lots of furniture by Pastoe and Spectrum, which he hunted in Marktplaats, the equivalent of 2ememain.be in Holland. “I started scouring flea markets and thrift stores before discovering Marktplaats. Every night I spent hours ‘rolling around’. My good plan: don’t look for anything specific, just look what’s out there. And when I go get my loot, discover the craziest places!” he confides, laughing. “Today, I leave Marktplaats in favor of contemporary design. I love buying directly from designers: I support them, discover their studio and a bond is established.”

What is the next step? How long can you be creative with the same furniture? “Yes, I have the impression that at home I’ve exhausted all possibilities. Soon I’ll be making shelves for the De Bijenkorf store, with tools and window accessories, things that usually don’t have the right to a staging, to honor the window dressers and Benno Premsela, who, as manager of Bijenkorf’s windows in the 1960s, elevated this discipline to the level of art”, he explains. .

“My dream would be to have a big house bringing together all kinds of activities: a place to live and work, a gallery, an artists’ residence and a B&B, but not in Rotterdam. country.” The moving company may have work…

@berrydijkstra, www.berrydijkstra.com

“Ecapism”, from 20 to 22/5 at Collectible, Vanderborght building in Brussels. www.collectible.design

“Down to Earth”, from 15/5 to 19/6, Shåk Gallery, Rue Darwin 59 in Brussels. www.shakgallery.com

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