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The Fine Store, Den Haag. Slow-design ethos in the Netherlands

Homeware, furniture items, and A saying by William Morris – ‘Ensure that the items in your home are pieces that you enjoy and have adoration for’. The Fine Store according to founder Eveline Maat

The Fine Store, Den Haag

When asked about her professional and personal background, sole owner of The Fine Store, Den Haag, Eveline Maat shares that she was a student in photography and marketing prior to beginning her working life. Having acquired her tertiary education in Amsterdam and London, the curator of slow-design explains «I have traversed across locations prior to founding The Fine Store in 2014. In my time travelling, I took on multifarious roles within varied companies and brands». The thirty-eight-year-old owner who began her tertiary education in Visual Marketing in Amsterdam went on to pursue her Master of Arts in Photography and Urban Culture in the University of London. In her down-time, she spends her days surfing and perusing visual aesthetics in the subject matter of interior design and architecture. «The reason I founded The Fine Store was to allow me to pursue a career in a field that I was interested in». 

Situated in The Hague, The Fine Store, Den Haag has over time garnered a synonymity within the design community of those living in the area and in the Netherlands. Having formatted the store as a means to gain independence in her working life, Eveline shares that her ardor for design, one which she relates to have stemmed from her childhood, has allowed for her to be certain in choosing a career for herself. The root for her passion in interior design comes from a number of branches from her youth. As she elucidates, «When I was younger, I spent my time perusing design and architecture magazines that were given to me by my aunt». Her father, who had an ardor for architecture and design further bloomed her interest in the field. He was in charge of creating and realizing the designs of the homes that she lived in as a child. «Growing up in a creative household like mine assisted in circumventing my choices to what I do now as an adult»

The slow design ideology behind The Fine Store, Den Haag

Eveline Maat, in the process of designing the structures of The Fine Store, shares that the naming process to be an arduous one. Fashioning the name was a task she completed upon refining the crux of the business – selling fine design and homeware items rooted in the slow-design ideology. «In its infancy, the word ‘fine’ lacked context. I knew that the name had to be direct and accessible to our desired audience». Having juggled between adding the word ‘studio’ to the name of the store, Maat states that ‘The Fine Store’ was a name that remained within the realms of her ideations. Assisted by her partner, Eveline has since curated a collection of items within the confines of the physical space of the store which has signified their presence in the area of The Hague. 

While realizing the ethos and objective for The Fine Store, Den Haag certain aspects of them have been altered over the years. The owner shares that in the store’s birth, the intention of supplying conscious design items to their consumers was their pivoted goal. Coalescing design stature alongside the build quality of these design items, her intention was to prompt conscious purchase decisions amongst the pool of buyers that frequented The Fine Store. «There is a saying by William Morris that I follow through here at The Fine Store – ‘Ensure that the items in your home are pieces that you enjoy and have adoration for’. I apply this ethos to the design and homeware items that we sell here». Avoiding the use of plastics and pollutants in the material composition of the items sold at The Fine Store, Maat shares that she has since taken a sustainable approach in conducting her business. 

«The furniture and concept items that we sell in the store are made to stand the test of time. Not having to replace pieces that wear-down a period reduces waste on the end of the consumer and the need for the provider to overproduce goods». Having included the assistance of design disciplinaries, she has enabled her customers to receive services to complement their purchases. «For instance, we sell bespoke tiles in the store. To ease the customer’s renovations, we recommend disciplinaries that have expertise in tile laying to complete the task».

The classy Androgyne Lounge Table in smoked oak or walnut
The classy Androgyne Lounge Table in smoked oak or walnut

Items in The Fine Store, Den Haag

Having carried bespoke design goods that were made from European manufactures in its infancy, the business has since pivoted away from this decision. The owner explains that there was a layer of dexterity in carrying and curating collections of design items that have been manufactured and sourced from the European region. «There are items and parts of the design items that we carry that are not constructed within Europe. Having to divert away from the narrative to carrying design goods made within Europe was a choice we made as it was not a possibility to acquire goods made whole like so from the region». 

As of today, the goods sold within the confines of The Fine Store, Den Haag are sourced from across regions and are made by artisans based in Europe. Items sold at The Fine Store – on their physical and online space – vary in categories. There is no distinct brand that she favors but rather values the bespoke qualities of each piece that has been made by the artisanal makers. Selling furniture, lighting, décor, accessories, and a curated selection of lifestyle pieces, one who stops by is given the choice to select crafted goods of sorts for their desired space. Carrying works from chair designer HAY, lamp designer Menu and prints from artist Pernille Folcarelli, Eveline has altered the meaning to what design items are considered to be over the years. 

She is open to carrying works from creators that are yet to be discovered by the general public. In line with the intention to disseminate design works to her consumers, her keenness to plateau up and coming designers is to create awareness while standing apart from businesses of the same vein. When inquired on the reason to include a lifestyle section for her customers, the owner explains that while there are customers whose intention is to purchase design and homeware items, there are others who intend on perusing them instead. 

Maat has diversified her catalogue of items, catering for the consumers stopping by, enabling them to make purchases that are affordable. Within the lifestyle section of The Fine Store, there exists bespoke candles, periodical reads like Openhouse and Ark Journal, bath items and jewelry pieces to name a few. Through each customer’s purchase journey, Eveline Maat delineates the brand and the process in which it was taken for the item to be made. In charge of choosing and vetting the design goods being sold at The Fine Store, Maat looks to see if a brand fits the ethos of her business – being sustainable in design and material along with the visual appeal it carries to a viewer. 

The Hague and the crux of the business

When prompted on the location of The Fine Store, Den Haag being situated in The Hague as compared to Amsterdam, Maat shares that she intended on her workplace being by her abode. «The Hague is limited in area. When we first founded The Fine Store, I was living in Scheveningen, an area by the coast». Located four kilometers away from the store, she has since managed the business while juggling parenthood. She goes on to share that the size of The Hague plays in favor for The Fine Store, stating that the business model has room to establish itself. «It would have been a hurdle for us had we set up the business in a city like Amsterdam». Having begun in a separate area of The Hague, The Fine Store now resides in the Thomsonlaan area where it is a distance away from the city center, surrounded by design concept stores. «There is a vibrancy to the area as it began as a shopping district, surrounded by concept stores like ours and cafés that attract people to the area». Having built a reputation over the years since its opening for catering to esoteric design goods, even while having relocated the store to the Thomsonlaan area as of 2019, The Fine Store continues to draw in customers. 

The area as Eveline Maat goes on to describe contains preserved architectural buildings – a product of the riots that occurred in the 80’s. As such, the exterior of the buildings pertains to an allure of the past while the interiors serve a visual juxtaposition through the items sold there. «The lot in which The Fine Store resides has floor to ceiling windows that draw in light from the outdoors. This attracts customers while highlighting the items sold here». Designed with the idea of a ‘home’ in mind, Maat’s vision of The Fine Store was realized by utilizing minimalism as the pivoting concept. White walls complement grey floors which are accompanied by the products being sold in the store. Over its years of operations, The Fine Store has garnered a synonymy in the design community within The Netherlands – having been featured in design magazines and their design items being used by stylists for editorials. «What shapes the physical space is the budget I have on hand, items from the suppliers and my individual taste. I have designed the store since its inception and continue to do this today». 

The future of The Fine Store, Den Haag

Intending on expanding their physical space to include a kitchen area, Eveline Maat shares that The Fine Store is a tool to see through and cater to one’s home design needs. As of recent months, the business has collaborated with a paint and plaster brand to offer their customers an array of bespoke paints to design their homes. Maat’s intention for The Fine Store’s near future is to catalogue works from self-financed designers and creators in hopes of plateauing their works in the confines of the store. In the coming months, she looks to carry forth with managing The Fine Store through the assistance of co-workers that she intends on hiring – a means to exchange ideas to nurture the business. 

The Fine Store, Den Haag

Thomsonlaan 1, 2565 KX Den Haag, Netherlands

Founded by owner Eveline Maat in 2014, The Fine Store was an intention of designware and furniture pieces that were realized under the concept of the slow-design ethos. Having sourced designs that are made for longevity in mind from across Europe, the establishment continues to play a function in trading these goods for their consumers in the Netherlands and across European region. 

Pravin Nair

The writer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article.

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check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore
Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only
natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us at [email protected]

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