“We always jump as high as we can: sometimes almost over the edge. If the level of your ambition isn’t high enough, then you get nowhere. We are passionate florist-artists who create atmosphere, but we’re also entrepreneurs with a lot of love for our craft. And this is the most beautiful career in the world.” Over the years, Monique, and Marcel van Dijk, from Eersel in The Netherlands, with their creation ´Oogenlust´ (Pleasure for the Eyes) have reached the pinnacle of international floristry.
It is a story of passion for true floristry combined with a healthy dose of entrepreneurialism. They consider themselves creators of atmosphere, using art and nature as their most important sources of inspiration. They let loose their skills and have the most fun when decorating events: each time designing a unique atmosphere with their flowers. They put everything in place on the morning of the event, and by the evening are already able to start thinking about the next project. Working at speed and using demonstrable versatility in the way they create are not just challenges to be met but are where their passion originates. A significant role in realising their projects on such short deadlines is played by their son Wim, who proved to have a talent for juggling any logistical problem.
We don’t plan everything. We take it as it comes, but once we make a start, we employ rigorous direction. We´ve always done everything together, Marcel and I; starting from the shared the vision of creating floral ambiance using seasonal products but doing so in a commercially responsible way.
Monique van Dijk
Monique and Marcel got to know each other while they were both working for a flower business near the Dutch city of Eindhoven. The romance resulted in, among other things, the pair beginning their own floristry business which opened in 1980. This would form the basis for an expansion fed by both creative and commercial considerations.
Gradually Marcel began to focus on how to transform spaces, both large and small, into atmospheric flower paradises. The list of international events to which they lent their creative partnership is impressive. To name but a few: The Monaco Boat Show, The Philips Lighting Summit, The Van Gogh Museum, The Aviation Summit, Het Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Tefaf Maastricht, Museum Rodin in Paris, Indoor Brabant and, finally, the ever-surprising Belgische Sempre stand at the Parisian event, Maison & Objet.
Marcel never allowed his speciality, ornamentation which utilizes flowers and plants as the starting point, to be diluted. Rather, by holding tightly to their own vision without making concessions Monique and Marcel laid the basis for a substantial reputation.
The opening of large, new premises on the Veldhoven industrial estate, including a showroom, office and warehouse was a mark of their success. Ten years later, around the beginning of 2013, Oogenlust moved to its own premises in Eersel, Brabant. A terrain of 5.5 hectares where the new architecture demanded included greenhouses and a tree hut. The ecological considerations are reflected here in the smallest details. Another interesting detail is that the old showroom was dismantled and added on to the new premises.
Architect Arie van Rangelrooy, partner at architecten|en|en in Eindhoven, designed the new building in close partnership with the client
I have always been an admirer of Le Corbusier. The broad walls of this property with its small, high windows are very much inspired by his work, I think. By building in this way we have a wonderful light inside.
Marcel van Dijk
The exterior of the long building, with its water feature to the front, is panelled with European Robinia hardwood. Floors and ceiling are made from concrete. Most remarkable is the interior plastering, which was created using an authentic Malian method. Four Malian craftsmen were flown in to see this project to a successful conclusion. The team were led by a specialist who annually, after the rainy season, replasters the Grand Mosque of Djenné.
They plastered the walls, by hand and without tools, using a mix of straw, lime, and synthetic cow urine. The clay used came from North Germany and was selected for its naturally light coloration. It not only creates an unusual effect but also aids the acoustics.
We want to be among the best in the world. That’s why we must distinguish ourselves with our craft. What we do is not the work of well-meaning stylists: it is exclusive artisanship. And yes, that means challenging work and allowing yourself to be inspired by art and by nature.
Marcel and Monique van Dijk
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