Richard Hutten: Humor and Functionality in “No Sign of Design”

"Cloud Layers" (2013). A chair made of 545 layers of cloth by Richard Hutten. Gemeentemuseum Den Haag
“Cloud Layers” (2013). A chair made of 545 layers of cloth by Richard Hutten. Gemeentemuseum Den Haag

Defining His Own Path

Richard G. J. Hutten, born on March 30, 1967, in Zwollerkerspel, is a multifaceted Dutch industrial designer, art director, and artist. He graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 1991 and promptly established his design studio in Rotterdam the same year. Ever since the beginning of Droog Design in 1993, a collective championing Dutch design, Hutten has been a seminal contributor.

Philosophy: “No Sign of Design”

Hutten’s design ethos resonates through what he calls “No Sign of Design” furniture. The idea aims to combine functionality with a conceptual and humorous approach. His “Table upon table” concept manifests this style eloquently, making everyday furniture a topic of discussion rather than just utilitarian objects.

Table and Bench designed by Richard Hutten
Table and Bench designed by Richard Hutten

Sustainable Practices: Leading by Example

Hutten not only focuses on aesthetics but also practices responsible design. This is evident in his seating design for Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. His work is grounded in the principles of the circular economy, ensuring that all materials used are either recycled, recyclable, or biodegradable. This adds another layer of significance to his work, making it not just beautiful but also sustainable.

Notable Exhibitions

Hutten’s work has graced various museums and galleries worldwide, from the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Most recently, in 2023, he was a part of the Milan Design Week, showcasing the exhibition Droog30 โ€“ Design or Non-design, which delved into the history and significance of the Dutch design movement. Hutten’s bold statement that “Droog is the last movement in design” hints at a design landscape craving revolutionary shifts, akin to those seen in the ’80s with Memphis and the ’90s with Droog.

Permanent Collections

The designs of Richard Hutten are not only exhibited but also preserved in numerous permanent collections, including prestigious museums such as the Centraal Museum Utrecht and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. His impact on commercial spaces is also significant; renowned designer Philippe Starck utilized Hutten’s designs in the interiors of the Delano Hotel in Miami and the Mondrian Hotel in Los Angeles.

Rhino Chair designed by Richard Hutten
Rhino Chair designed by Richard Hutten

A Designer for the Times

Richard G. J. Hutten stands out for his ability to blend humour, function, and sustainability in his designs. Whether it’s his innovative furniture concepts that provoke thought or his commitment to ecological balance, Hutten is undoubtedly a designer of the modern era. His work questions the static definitions of design and pushes the envelope for what it could beโ€”often with a smile.

Whether it’s furniture, product, or interior design, Richard Hutten has left an indelible mark on the design landscape, forcing us to reconsider what design is and what it could be in a rapidly changing world.


Richard Hutten. (2023, October 19). In Wikipedia.

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