Studio Maarten Kolk & Guus Kusters was established in 2009 in Eindhoven by Maarten Kolk (born 1980 in Wijhe, the Netherlands) and Guss Kusters (born 1979 in Venlo, the Netherlands). The pair met during their first year of the Royal Academy of Arts (KABK) in The Hague where they were both temporarily studying. Both graduated cum laude from the Man & Leisure department of Design Academy Eindhoven in 2006. The pair began sharing a studio based in Klokgebouw, a former Philips factory in Eindhoven, in 2007. It wasn't until 2009, however, that they began collaborating. The duo continue to live and work Eindhoven. Kolk is a member of the design advisory committee of the Creative Industries Fund NL, a post he has held since 2013, and Kusters is a tutor at the Man and Leisure department of Design Academy Eindhoven.
With an aesthetic described by the duo as “silent and respectful,” Kolk and Kusters aim to translate the poetry they find in nature, color, and history into their autonomous projects and exhibition work as designers and curators. Standout projects include Waterloop, which was commissioned by Textielmuseum Tilburg in 2010, and won the New Material Award in 2011; Bound Bench and Bound Stool (2017), which are a series of experimental seating pieces consisting of assembled scrap materials held together by ropes; and Avifauna (2008-today), a series of conserved birds wrapped in textiles that were specifically developed for Rubelli textiles, Textielmuseum Tilburg, and the Dutch Ministry of Justice. The project—a fascinating take on taxidermy—was the main inspiration for the AW11 collection of Belgian fashion house A.F.Vandevorst and the birds are currently part of the collections of Textielmuseum Tilburg, Zuiderzeemuseum, and Thomas Eyck.
Studio Maarten Kolk & Guus Kusters are recipients of the Sanoma Jong Design Talent award in 2010 and the Doen | Materiaalprijs in 2011, as well as being nominated for the Rotterdam designprijs in 2009 for Veldwerk. The duo have exhibited their work at Sotheby’s London, Zuiderzeemuseum Enkhuizen, MU Eindhoven, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen Rotterdam, and Design Museum Holon, amongst numerous others.