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“Grandmaster of the white interior” Jan des Bouvrie dies aged 78

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Jan des Bouvrie wearing a suit and tie


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Dutch celebrity designer Jan des Bouvrie, known for creating the iconic Cube sofa and introducing white, minimalist interiors to the Netherlands, has passed away at the age of 78 after a multi-year battle with colon cancer.

He died on Sunday, 4 October, in his hometown of Naarden, surrounded by his children and his wife and collaborator Monique des Bouvrie.

The designer, who celebrated 50 years of working in the industry last year, created furniture, interior and architectural designs as well as hosting Dutch interiors show TV Woonmagazine until 2003.

Des Bouvrie was a well-known media personality and society figure in Holland and designed a number of residences in the Gooi area, known for housing the wealthy and famous.

At the same time, he prided himself in designing both “for rich and poor”, through collaborations with Dutch mass-market brands such as hardware store Gamma, Sigma paints and electronics company Philips.

“Surely the largest interior icon in the Netherlands”

Design industry figures have taken to social media to share tributes to Jan des Bouvrie, alongside famous fans such as football player Patrick Kluivert and celebrity stylist and makeup artist Leco van Zadelhoff.

Studio Job founder Job Smeets, shared a hand-drawn note on Instagram reading “RIP [rest in peace] Jan” (below.)

“This remarkable man has a mastery of the softer side of modernism that seems as natural as a bird whistling and a chameleon changing colour,” Smeets wrote in a foreword to the 2012 book Jan des Bouvrie: art & design.

Furniture company Bakers Zitten & Wonen mourned the death of “surely the largest interior icon in the Netherlands” while Paul Rem, art historian and curator of Paleis Het Loo museum, heralded him as “the grandmaster of