Inside The New Shopping Bag – Bertjan Pot

From time to time we ask users of The New Shopping Bag about their life. In the 9th edition it’s our pleasure to go in depth with renowned Rotterdam designer Bertjan Pot, with whom we collaborated on our freshly released and very colourful SUSAN BIJL x Bertjan Pot collection.

Describe yourself in three words.

Where are you now?
At the studio, recovering of Milan furniture week. Slowly getting back to work – looking out the window a lot, since the studio garden is sprouting with this lovely weather we are having right now.

Tell us something about you and The New Shopping Bag.
The initial question I got from Susan was to design a pattern for The New Shopping Bag. I love patterns, but not on ripstop nylon (which the bags are made of). I used to make kites out of this material and whenever somebody would show up at a kite event with a print on their kite, it would mean they had bought the kite and had not made it themselves… So, to this day I cannot like printed ripstop nylon.
The other thing I have with the Susan Bijl bags – and I think quite a few people with me – is that I cannot choose just 2 colours. You are lured into the shop by all these great colours and you can only bring 2 colours home!!!??? Therefore I asked if I could just do 6 colours in stead of 2. (A simple yet brilliant idea, that turned out amazing – SUSAN BIJL)

Tell us something about Susan.
Susan is too modest. As far as I know she was one of the first – if not the first – to design a durable thin foldable shopper, to replace the plastic shopping bags. Many people came after her.

I also think the fact that she still does the same bag she started with more than 15 years ago, proves she has great intuition, too. That and her modesty is probably a very good business model. At least a very pleasant one.

What ecological measures would you take if you ruled the world?
I think it would be good to put more emphasis on taxing or fining pollution than subsidising the clean methods. Clean should be the standard, not the exception.

In general I think we are not paying the full price for everything we buy. For a lot of things we only pay for the costs of materials, labour and shipping, but we are not paying for the costs of cleaning up the pollution, or the medical bill for the health issues a worker might have on the other side of the world. If wel would be paying for all of this, the clean and correct products would probably be cheaper than the polluting ones.

How do you brighten up your existence?
By having as much fun as possible within my work, my job. So I don’t need to get it elsewhere. I started as a designer because I like it. I like making things, experimenting with materials, looking at production processes and see if I can still do something that nobody did before. But it sometimes is hard to keep it enjoyable. There are some assumptions by other people about what success means in this business, that it might be tempting to do certain things. But those things also take the fun, the actual reason why I started doing what I do, out of my job.

How important is colour for you in your work?
You can’t think of shape, without thinking of material and colour, if you want to make real products. It’s a trinity. So, a big one I guess.

Which music have you been listening to recently?
I used to be quite up to date, but since a few years I feel like an old fart and keep falling back on music from a few years back, when it was a bigger part of my life. When I want to calm down I put on “All Is Well” by Sam Amidon and when I want to wake up I enjoy a Diplo mix.

What is your biggest loss?
My mom, who passed away a few years back.

What is your ultimate destination?
Nirvana, but I’m not sure if I‘ll ever get there 🙂

Want to find out more about Bertjan Pot? Start here:

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