With its own interior business DMD Amsterdam creates Dick Mulders interiors where courage, daring and stepping out of the comfort zone are of great importance. The interior designer gives each of his projects a metropolitan touch, but did not start his career in this industry. From the diplomatic service to the digital world, with his destination and passion as the final destination: interior design. And now also officially one of the 300 MASTER COMPANIES. Who helped Dick in his career journey?Text: Mical Joseph
Image: DMD Amsterdam

What was your very first job?

“I studied International Law in Maastricht. I did my internship at the Dutch embassy in London, because after my studies I wanted to join the diplomatic service and become an ambassador. During my internship I quickly discovered that that world was not so dynamic and creative after all. In 2000, after studying at KPN Mobile, I decided to work in business development. The digital world was just getting off the ground and there was a lot of room for entrepreneurship, developing new things and coming up with solutions. The jobs that followed after my time at KPN were also often in digital media and I even worked as a TV producer for a while.”

How did you end up in your current job?

“In 2010 I moved to Shanghai with my partner. For me that period was a big moment for change. I wanted to follow my heart and finally do what I aspired to: interior designer become. I therefore completed my Interior Architecture & Design studies in Shanghai and Sydney. After my studies, I worked in Beijing and Hong Kong through the renowned architectural firm OMA. I came in as a business builder and transformed into a designer. My goal was to build my own business in the field that I have an enormous passion for.”

Who was your wheelbarrow?

“To be honest, I don't think I had one wheelbarrow, but many people gave me a 'piece' that shaped me as a designer. My travels and experiences in (world) cities and nature have also been great wheelbarrows for me. All these factors have created my aesthetic baggage. In addition, the customers who trust me to create something very personal together in their own environment are also an important factor.

What is your signature?

“A signature is quite one-sided. If I only design square modern white bungalows, I cannot design a red bungalow for a customer. I design for and with the customer, but that does not mean that I do not have my own ideas and identity. You can see that identity in my designs. During “Three Days of Design” in Copenhagen I attended a question-answer discussion by Bjarke Ingles, a world-famous architect from BIG. He was asked the same question. He answered the question that every design was different, but that you can see BIG's identity in every design. If I have to distinguish it, all my designs radiate a certain luxury and comfort: it is not minimalist, but rather generous. They build on the classic patterns: beautifully laid floors, rich wallpaper, chinoiserie, warm colors, and at the same time they are injected with innovation: modern fixtures, reinvented classics and technically advanced materials.”

What is the greatest passion in your profession?

“My great passion is creating a new environment (together with the residents) that meets the wishes of the customers. I prefer to use special and new materials, colors and textures, paying extra attention to the wishes of the customers. I think it is extremely important to bring back daring, courage and stepping out of the comfort zone. If this makes the residents happy and it naturally suits them, I will give my own signature to the house. Because what could be more fun than starting with an idea from scratch and after a while walking through the resulting project?”

Who else would you like to design for?

“It doesn't really matter to me for whom, but I would really like to work on a house, hotel or holiday accommodation in the African Savanna, the Asian tropics or in the Alps. This seems great to me, because the designs in these environments have to adapt to nature and the challenge is therefore extra great. A unique piece that is part of the culture and location!”

What has been the biggest learning moment in your career?

“That was the moment when I changed course in my career. I followed my heart and decided to become an interior designer. If you really want something and really go for it, success will follow.”

What advice would you give to your 18 year old self?

“Looking back, I would have made certain choices sooner and made decisions more quickly.”

Have you been a wheelbarrow for someone?

“I have a start-up company, but I think I already have enough experience and responsibility to train new talent. That is why I regularly take on interns from the Jan des Bouvrie college or other schools near Amsterdam. I try to give these talents real work experience. This is because I know that it is difficult to access opportunities in the industry and so I am a modest, small-scale wheelbarrow for young talent.”