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Trent’s European Travel Diary – A Family Affair in Amsterdam

by Jenny Butler
Friday 8th October 2010

A great big THANK YOU Trent for sharing some of your adventures in Europe with us – it’s been a real treat to see Europe through your eyes! All the best for the rest of your design residency at Edra. [& congratulations to Anthony & Phoebe on their engagement!] – Jenny x

A motley crew of bicycle enthusiasts. “I got the bike known as ‘gimp’.” says Trent – “Quite a beautiful bicycle actually, the only problem is that the bell rings constantly, giving off a constant false alarm to oncoming pedestrians. The fellow on the right is another young Australian designer Nicholas Gardner (one to watch).”

Every time I am in this part of the world I have to go to Amsterdam, firstly because I love it and secondly because I have family in the area, so I want to visit them and see how much my little 2nd, 3rd, 4th (I don’t know what the right term is) cousins have grown. I spent last weekend in Amsterdam and had an amazing time.

Drawing by Trent’s little 2nd, 3rd, 4th cousin Tijmen.

My dad’s cousin Albert picked me up from Schiphol airport and we went for dinner at his house near Haarlem. My dad’s other cousin Angelique came by, and with kids and partners it was quite a feast. We had not met a lot when I was younger, but we all became great friends while I was living in Amsterdam in 2004 and now I try to visit as often as I can.

Saturday morning I had a meeting with the owner of the Frozen Fountain (on the Prinsengracht), Cok De Rooy (yes the Dutch have funny names sometimes). Cok is the guy who first started to champion young Dutch designers in Amsterdam, before Droog and Moooi were around to do it. His store is in my opinion one of the best design stores in the world. We had a great chat and he showed me around the store.

Frozen Fountain on the Prinsengracht

From there I headed East to the base of the Red Light District and the home of Australian designer Anthony Dann (or ‘Anthony Dann the cardboard man’, as he is known by his friends). He and his wonderful fiance Pheobe have been living here for a while now and were nice enough to offer me a place to stay for the night. We were soon on bikes on the way back West where I had arranged to meet my Dad’s long lost cousin Robb at his house on the Keizersgracht. When my grandfather was a young man he lived in Holland and started a business with his brothers. Having had enough of the post war recession in Holland, my grandfather moved to Australia, while his brothers turned their business into a massive industry. As a result my Dutch side of the family are LOADED and my grandparents lived in a shack with a dirt floor with six kids. Oh the pain…

“The home of my Dad’s long lost cousin Robb. He wan’t really lost, we just didn’t know much about this side of the family before my grandfather passed away. He was a bit cagey with the info.  Robb and his beautiful wife were wonderful people, so nice to meet them. It turns out that Robb is a creative guy, check out www.laboratorivm.com…”

That night we were going out for a drink with Anthony and Pheobe, little did we know that their friends had organised a surprise engagement party for them. Happily Anthony and Pheobe became engaged a few weeks ago and the party was in the honour of such a happy union. It was in a great little Spanish deli in the Pijp, just around the corner from another incredibly creative Australian, Lucy McRae. Lucy dropped by for a late drink and the evening was complete. If you haven’t checked out Lucy’s work, DO IT (see Lucy’s blog here). She has just designed an amazing suit to be worn in the upcoming film clip of Swedish pop-star Robyn. Very interesting.

- Trent

Anthony and Pheobe’s at home, and Anthony’s award-winning Paper Tiger stools!

Anthony and Phoebe’s impromptu engagement party, and Trent with Lucy McRae!  Her work is INSANELY amazing!  See below!

The incredible work of Australian designer Lucy McRae.  You really gotta check it out.

by Jenny Butler
Friday 8th October 2010

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