Let’s chat with one of the Netherlands’ best kept secrets, Dutch product invention lab Handmade. Based in Amsterdam and Singapore. Working with world-famous product makers like Mercedes-Benz, Amazon and Nike. Most of their projects: behind closed doors. Jeroen van Eijk and Matthijs Braamhaar, who founded the company in 2011, give us a scoop on their workings. Their goal: to be pioneers in future products - by developing cutting edge prototypes of first-of-its-kind products, non-stop. You read it here first!
CONFIDENTIAL. What can you share with us?
Due to the nature of our business, we cannot share or disclose anything about our client projects. We’re talking about the crown jewels – the core products – of these companies. Sometimes it takes 10 years to bring a product to market. If innovations leak, our clients might lose their competitive advantage. Still, we are incredibly proud of what our teams create.
So instead a look behind-the-scenes. We run our own Research & Development (R&D) in order to learn, and better ourselves. It’s in our DNA to push boundaries. To do what nobody has done before. This is how we build the expertise needed for the early stages of advanced product development - developing first-of-its-kind products by using new technologies. In everything we do, we anticipate what might happen in two, five, or even ten or twenty years.
Wow. So, how do you do this?
Handmade is a fairly unique collective of exceptionally talented designers, coders and makers. We don’t talk, we do. We put in the hours, develop our own tools, and re-invent our company every couple of years.
It’s how we, at Handmade, always stay one step ahead. Our skills allow us to work with any technology, enabling us to sculpt it into any user experience. We’re continuously evolving and improving. Progress is ingrained in our culture.
With our R&D programmes, we explore many possible futures, and almost directly start building interactive demos and making prototypes of first-of-its-kind products. We’re big on design through making. Things can get pretty advanced in terms of technology and engineering, but we never lose sight of the experience. Ultimately, what we deliver is a reference experience that becomes the ultimate example for going to market.
Now we’re curious. What do you make exactly?
We’re into a wide variety of things. From concept car interiors to future computing devices. From game controllers to XR workspaces. Sensing kitchen appliances to interactive clothing. A blend of digital and physical. We are experience design-driven. And we do all of this in-house.
The future. Moonwalkers.
Our R&D programme this year is called Moonwalkers – developing space suits. Our goal is to design and prototype an undergarment that can sense and guide human emotions, as well as an outer shell that becomes a human-to-robot interface.
It involves programmable fabric that can change shape, and flexible electronics that allow you to create soft robotic garments. That’s all we can say at the moment, but pretty cool stuff!
Handmade in one sentence.
We pioneer future products – to advance, enhance and delight.