We’re one of the very first product design consultancies in the Netherlands. We started as pioneers and have since become a prestigious consultancy with 40 years’ experience. So this is a good moment to reflect on developments in our own field. We’ll do this over a period of four decades. The main themes in our own organisation and work are enjoyment and precision. We use our knowledge of processes and materials to develop products and services with a long stylistic and technological life span.
Wolfram Peters and Peter Krouwel founded the Peters & Krouwel consultancy in Delft in 1978. They were joined by Bruno Ninaber van Eyben in 1985, which laid the foundations for the ninaber | peters | krouwel industrial design consultancy.
In those early years, npk basically followed the creed of modernism during the first half of this century: ‘Form Follows Function’. We were seeking clear and ingenious designs with a long stylistic life span, aiming for top quality solutions in a functional sense, making use of the meaningful and design-related quality of the materials, and focusing on the social context of a product and care for the user as self-evident consequences of awareness in respect of function, technology, materials, production, sale and use.
In 1990, npk moved to Noordeinde in Leiden to be able to accommodate the increasing number of designers, constructors and model makers who had meanwhile joined our consultancy.
Our consultancy underwent tremendous growth as a result of general acceptance of design as a fully-fledged specialism in industry and npk’s comprehensive approach to product development. Product function was key and our designs, choice of materials and production methods were based on this principle. Our style became popular internationally (in Europe), and the number of projects outside the Netherlands increased steadily every year.
Our approach seemed to be particularly effective in product categories where functionality was key, such as professional equipment and consumer products of an innovative technological nature.
International recognition resulted in new initiatives outside the Netherlands. We opened branches in Germany, China and the United States and started collaborating with partners in the field of electronics, mechatronics and software so that we could provide our clients with comprehensive solutions.
Our strong brand vision in combination with our precise approach to the strategy to be pursued during the product development process meant that npk was playing an increasingly significant role as a strategic partner by providing input and cooperation. We started working on more and more turnkey projects, and npk took responsibility for the entire procedure: from design through to production.
Our 3D CAD designs had an impact on design language. Designs became freer, but they were still carefully defined and monitored. Although npk maintained its plain and austere style, it started focusing more on clients’ own brands.
The economic crisis hit everyone hard after 2008. In Western Europe, very few big companies remained that designed and manufactured products themselves. The focus shifted to emerging markets and npk concentrated on establishing partnerships with Dutch and international companies in countries like China, India and Turkey. Digitisation made cooperation between Dutch businesses and overseas parties increasingly easy.
Our strong brand vision, combined with our careful approach to the strategy to be pursued during the product development process, enabled npk to play an increasingly significant role as a strategic partner by providing input and cooperation. We started working on more and more turnkey projects, and npk took responsibility for the entire procedure: from design through to production.
Our design language strengthens the customers brand. Designs became freer, but they were still carefully defined and monitored. Although npk maintained its plain and austere style, it started focusing more on clients’ own brands.