jruiter studio strips machines down, starts over, ignores all accepted norms
image courtesy of dean van dis

 

 

 

in his studio in west michigan, joey ruiter is redefining expectations in the world of art and design. his signature methods of mixing a range of ideas results in objects that meet everyday needs in surprising ways. that’s because joey ruiter and his team at jruiter + studio, can’t wait to strip a machine down to the bare parts, start over, and ignore all accepted norms.

joey-ruiter-snoped-interview-designboom-03
the ‘snoped’
image courtesy of dean van dis

 

 

 

just like ‘the buggy robot‘, ‘snoped’ is a great example of the studio’s design process. taking a 1980s chrysler ‘sno-runner’ and blending it to form a whole new level of winter travel. with a lightweight chassis and a motorcycle stance, the piece of work re-establishes what a snowmobile should look like. powered by a 90cc engine, the ‘snoped’ is almost two meters long. the body is made of aluminum and composite plastics with a front grille completely filled with headlights. influenced by some of their favorite winder apparel brands, this bike/snowmobile extends riding on top of the snow even further.

joey-ruiter-snoped-interview-designboom-04
the front grille with built-in headlamps
image courtesy of dean van dis

 

 

 

but even on days off, the studio loves to experiment with any junk they can find. on a cold michigan winter, they decided to put another 90cc motor on a bike frame that was heading to the scrap pile. without any criteria, goals, thoughtful planning or design, they gave themselves an evening to make a fun bike they called ‘moped’. these late night conversations help the team create new stories, memories and interactions with each other, ultimately pushing innovation and new ideas forward. 

joey-ruiter-snoped-interview-designboom-05
image courtesy of dean van dis

 

 

 

we spoke to joey ruiter about aspects of his background that shape his designs, the studio’s strongest assets and his favorite piece of equipment in the workshop. 

 

 

designboom: what originally made you want to study industrial design and become an designer?

 

joey ruiter (JR): as a studying artist, I was already playing ‘industrial designer’ altering cars, bikes, and small objects. at that time, they didn’t have a name for it. I always felt like an outsider in the art community. then one day, I saw a scooter designed by kirt martin during a student show at the kendall college of art and design. that changed everything. 

 

 

DB: what particular aspects of your background and upbringing have shaped your design principles and philosophies?

 

JR: I grew up in michigan – so it’s basically the capital of motors and horsepower. we are american mid-western creators, so access to shops, garages and resources are always just down the street or at a neighbors. seeing this first hand, gave me an appreciation for how complex simple things are to produce.

joey-ruiter-snoped-interview-designboom-06
image courtesy of jruiter studio

 

 

DB: overall, what would you say is your studio’s strongest asset and how have you developed that skill over time?

 

JR: our studio’s strongest asset is developing skill through huge fails and wins. I want each project to speak for itself, be something of its own, and break into new references so its hard to categorize. the recipe is a mix of the power of gesture, form, and presence. add in simplicity, use of materials, and something known, finishes it off nicely.  but it’s definitely, not easy.

 

 

DB: now that computer generated visualizations are so commonplace, is there still a place for physical model making or sketching designs by hand?

 

JR: the only reason this ‘snoped’ is interesting is because it exists physically. it was a conversation, then a sketch, a foam core mock-up, lots of measuring, and a CAD model for some sheet metal. no renderings were created as of yet…

 

 

what’s your favorite piece of equipment in the workshop to use? 

 

JR: the basics: a foam core, hot glue and a very sharp exacto blade.

joey-ruiter-snoped-interview-designboom-07
‘moped’ street bicycle/motorcycle
image courtesy of dean van dis

 

 

DB: what are your biggest frustrations when looking at the design industry?

 

JR: almost daily, I drive a 1962 lincoln ‘continental’. it speaks to design for the sake of just being there. it’s beautiful. it has tremendous presence, full of life, and is terrifically fun to drive. this is my frustration with the industry. we want this emotional connection with objects and it isn’t that hard to get. it’s just shapes, colors, and sprinkled textures here and there. we are so generalized and market driven by expectations, that design suggestions are based on previous sales. it’s getting boring and sets us back in time. 

 

 

DB: can you tell us about any projects you are currently working on that you are especially excited about?

 

JR: I can’t really talk about anything but I will…vaguely. I have a few contract furniture clients that we are exploring. so we are in the midsts of journey. also, there is a new car in the shop called ‘the consumer’. I can’t say anything else.

 

joey-ruiter-snoped-interview-designboom-08
portrait of joey ruiter
image courtesy of jruiter studio

 

footage of the ‘snoped’ project
video courtesy of baas creative

  • a refreshingly post-catastrophic attitude

    Ladislav Kubo says:
  • Brutally awesome!

    FdoA says:
  • And what about the obvious and tiresome norm of masculinity being projected on this cool, black, “reimagined” object? That would have been something. Now its just a play of shape. No more original then the yamaha phaser, when it was released to consumers, just a bit more edgy.

    Martin says:
  • Some “norms” are just good sense/engineering. This looks very unstable, I wouldn’t want to ride it at any speed around a corner. However, it does manage to look cool.

    John C. says:
  • is it safe to ride cross a horizontal wind area???

    gao says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

comments policy
LOG IN
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

technology news