Ilike to have a lie-in on Saturday until 10am, before going for a leisurely breakfast at Orloff, a local café that’s also a favourite with the illustrator Dick Bruna. I have an orange juice, a double espresso and a smoked salmon roll while reading the newspapers and enjoying the music. They play classical until noon, pop in the afternoon and rock in the evening, so I always aim to get there before midday.
After breakfast I drive out to my studio on an isolated farm at ’s-Hertogenbosch, where my production partner, Bas den Herder, lives. It’s a good time to talk about our latest projects without being disturbed. After a simple lunch – usually soup – I return to Utrecht and buy vegetarian food at organic store Ekoplaza.
Although I live in the city centre – in an apartment that was once part of a children’s hospital – I can only hear birds and bicycles in my street. Utrecht is a bit like Amsterdam, but quieter and less touristy. I enjoy strolling around the peaceful streets and particularly like its proximity to Amsterdam, Eindhoven and Groningen, all of which I often visit by train at weekends.
In Groningen I’ll spend Saturday afternoon in Groninger Museum, looking at the neo-expressionist paintings and the postmodern, mainly Italian design. A lot of the work transcends the borders between art, fashion and design. Then I meet up with family members – my uncles and stepmother – for an Italian meal in the museum’s MendiniRestaurant, whose interior I designed. The food is great, and I love seeing my chairs being used by people there. In Amsterdam I meet designers such as Kiki van Eijk and Joost van Bleiswijk for supper at chef André Amaro’s Ketelhuis. Another favourite restaurant is at Hotel de Goudfazant – I know the owner well and I like the industrial feel of the place as well as its laid-back atmosphere.
If I stay in Utrecht, I’ll meet up with friends and go to the cinema or theatre. The last production I enjoyed at Theater Kikker was Mirrors, a dance performance produced by Boukje Schweigman. And I never go to commercial cinemas as there are three art-house ones in Utrecht. I recently saw a fascinating documentary about the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei at the Louis Hartlooper Complex.
After the cinema or theatre, I tend to cook at home – usually pasta with fish and vegetables, which I try to make like a real Italian. Then we go to Tivoli, which is a great place to hear live bands and enjoy the dance evenings. I listen to a lot of classical music in the day but like to hear rock in the evening. My favourite artist is the US singer-songwriter Tom Waits, but I’m still waiting for him to perform there. If I’ve been to Tivoli I get to bed around 2am, but I’m not really a night person.
Sunday morning also starts around 10am. I have breakfast with my sister, Heleen, and her daughter, Yara, at her home in Utrecht, then I play football with a group of friends in Wilhelmina Park. We have a game most Sundays.
Lunch is often at Sector 3, a quiet bakery that serves small, organic dishes at lunchtime, after which I might visit my mother in Zetten. Although I’m not religious, I feel Sunday should be a day for resting, contemplation and exercise – completely different from weekdays. I try not to check emails and don’t even use my phone. It’s good to step back and allow time for other things to sink in. I consciously try to maintain Sunday as a rest-day and don’t try to fill up my time. I think the value of doing nothing is really underestimated.
Sometimes I have friends round on Sunday evening and we cook together or play a game: poker, Monopoly or Risk. If I’m alone, I enjoy the silence and get to bed well before midnight.