Assembly: Meet the Maker

In our new 'Meet the Maker' section, we talk to the innovative founders, creative designers and genius brains behind the most popular brands in our range! This week we put the much loved Assembli brand in the spotlight. With dozens of different paper projects, this Dutch brand invites you to transform your boring walls into a colorful work of art. But which creative person is hiding behind this brand?
Assembly founder Joop
Photo: Joop Bource

Hi Assembli, can you introduce yourself?

“Hi IT'S A PRESENT! I am Joop, product designer and I graduated a long time ago from the art academy st. Joost in Breda. During a job in the field I started Assembli in the evenings. In the beginning, this did not really have a concrete goal or a tightly framed annual plan. It grew out of my own enjoyment of making papercraft models and I wanted to share this rewarding Zen experience with anyone who could benefit from it. It can be very soothing, although sometimes not, haha. After experimenting with shapes, the animal trophies became a popular product and that's how we started making them for a long time. From the very beginning, Lankhorst Design and Print has been involved in the production of the printed matter and as the collaboration grew, they took over more and more tasks. This allowed Assembli to really grow and professionalize and gave me many more opportunities to develop new ideas!"

Nice! And what was your very first Assembli design?

"Those were paper lampshades that I once designed as a result of an entry for a competition. For that competition I had submitted something similar to DIY. Didn't win at the time, but eventually blossomed into something more beautiful for me!"

The environment is an important factor for you, which shows that you are an environmentally friendly company?

"We have always intended to strip plastic use to a minimum. In general, I think that we have certainly succeeded, both in product and packaging. Here and there you have to make some concessions because metallic paper without a protective film is now once killed very quickly. Furthermore, we produce as much as possible in-house and we outsource assembly work locally to, for example, a sheltered workshop. A large number of paper types also have an FSC certificate."

Do you have a favorite Assembli?

"I think I like the lobster , bumblebee , flamingo , rhinoceros , praying mantis , stick insect and rhinoceros beetle the most. I can't substantiate it well but with some it has to do with the workflow behind the product. If I did a design fifty times I've been refining something very small again, then the end result feels a bit less good than the versions that came out of the hat quickly."

Is your own house also full of the decorations of Assembli?

"Haha good question! My studio is very regularly full of models, but after every fair we often use them again as show models and they are gone again. The living room is deliberately without our own creations and actually without too much decoration anyway because otherwise I hard to think from a blank canvas."

Is there anything fun planned? If so, can we have a sneak peak? ;-)

“Nice question! I'm very interested in making a new series at the end of this year with beautiful fish such as the Siamese fighting fish, scorpion fish, all kinds of emperor fish, beautiful jellyfish, etc. So there will most likely be something colorful coming at the end of the year! The idea is also bubbling to make a kind of Dinky Toy-like cars out of cardboard with metallic paper, but there is still a lot of sawing and testing to see if that will yield something beautiful. We also want to upgrade the papercraft packaging during the year: no more plastic caps and a colorful wrapper. Coming back to the fish; something that I personally think is a very nice idea is to possibly add a glow in the dark or black light effect. For example, it is a decorative item during the day, but it also comes to life at night! Think of bioluminescent plankton or deep-sea fish that can also generate light themselves."

Photo: Joop Bource

How cool! Is there anything else you would like to pass on to the readers?

“Many decoration and interior trends are often quite simple and more fun to make yourself than to buy alone! Choose a trend that you like, for example DIY bohemian trends, plaster art, dino planters, wabi sabi side tables, resin art, or something similar and dive into YouTube for an evening. See how different makers develop the same idea and determine which one might be something for you. Making decoration yourself is super fun and gives much more personal value to the end result than purchased products can do!"

"Keep calm and hobby on..."