Beyond education, Judith Muijtjens boasts expertise in workplace design like those of Moonen Packaging in the southeastern city of Weert and the Place for Bizz coworking space in Eindhoven. Most recently, she led the renovation of the Rockfon office in Roermond in an activity-based design concept that provides areas for different working styles, a product showcase area, and optimised acoustics.
Regardless of project type, extensive participatory research is a cornerstone of Judith Muijtjens' design process and she often involves panels of end users in ideation. She has also been vocal about two different sides of each project: the soft side and the hard side. Here, we discuss the two with her and delve into her design methodologies.
Can you provide an overview of your distinction between the soft and hard sides of interior design? How and why did you come up with it?
I trained as an architect at the Eindhoven University of Technology. During my work experience, I realised that I was missing interaction with the actual user during the design process. I then started designing more and more interiors, especially for offices and schools. In such projects, you know exactly who you are designing for – the users – which could be employees at a company, students at a school, or residents at a healthcare institution.
The user is always central to my design, but the client also has an important impact. Across my practice, I discovered that there's a hard side that is more focused on facts and another softer side that centralises feelings. The hard side of interior design suits clients more. It taps into technology, the budget, and planning. The soft side, on the other hand, suits the end users more; when approaching the soft side, we discuss feelings, the atmosphere, and creating a sense of home.