Onno Thijsen: ”Designed to delight: dat is ons motto”

Strak studios distinguishes itself, in particular, by three factors: design, display and deliver. MASTERS talked to the founder of the company, Onno Thijsen. "In essence, we direct emotions and use earthy colours, natural materials and harmony in proportions and sizes to create environments that are calming and a pleasure to be in – where you really feel 'at home'."
John van Helvert

Text: Bart-Jan Brouwer

Image: John van Helvert

Dream garden

"My background is in the communications industry. For many years I managed a family business that consisted of an advertising agency, printing companies and logistics services. The combination of creation and production has always fascinated me. And I've always been interested in design and outdoor living. I had been thinking about designing gardens and outdoor spaces for a while. Corona created the opportunity to make that concrete. In addition to my two graphic companies – Onno & Partners, which makes printed matter for retail organisations, and Magazine-Masters, a webshop for magazine printing – I started Strak studios. I can put even more of my creativity into that, while I get a lot of energy back from it. Call it a hobby that got out of hand. We focus on Luxury Outdoor, because without budgetary boundaries the most is possible. Designed to delight: that's our motto. We create an inspiring environment that makes people happy . To create a dream garden, we work with top brands such as TUUCI, Flexform, Paola Lenti, Roda and B&B Italia. We also have our own furniture line, to which the chair in the photo belongs belongs. The Nathan, named after my grandson, was based on timeless design, a beautiful appearance, even without cushions, and a high level of seating comfort for any height. We master the entire palette for designing gardens and outdoor spaces, from lighting to greenery to furniture. I've just come from a client in Rotterdam: a beautiful villa with one large wild plain in front of it. 'Make something of it', is the assignment. Look, that makes me happy!"


"Strak studios distinguishes itself, in particular, by three factors. The first is design: the creativity, the functional thinking, the delight factor. The second is display: through our design villa in Beusichem, our more than 3,500 square metre show garden on the Linge in Deil, pop-ups throughout the country, expressions on print and events such as MASTERS SUMMER EDITION in De L'Europe and MASTERS EXPO in RAI Amsterdam, we ensure that we are presentable, with the aim of helping people make a choice. And the third factor is deliver: we do it from A to Z, not only making sure it looks sleek, but also that it is tightly arranged, so that the customer is completely unburdened. Our clientele consists largely of hard-working entrepreneurs; They like the fact that we take care of it from the deepest groundwork to the roof of the pool house. All they have to do is sit down and enjoy it. How can you recognize a Sleek design? Timeless, not too many frills, Champions League level. This is not only about meeting physical needs such as space, comfort and functionality, but also mental needs such as beauty, harmony and aesthetics. Our work goes beyond exclusive furniture and decorative products. In essence, we direct emotions and use earthy colours, natural materials and harmony in proportions and sizes to create environments that are soothing and a pleasure to be in – where you really feel 'at home'. Our mission is to position Strak studios as an absolute forerunner in outdoor design and design."

Feeling the outdoors

"We are currently working on a 66-hectare estate in the middle of a nature reserve on the German border, where a beautiful villa is being built. We use a drone to visualize the entire plot, so that we have the full dimensions as well as the complete location in 3D. This allows us to work very precisely. We are now digitally designing the outdoor space, so that the greenery around the villa – trees, ornamental grasses, perennials – flows seamlessly into the landscape. What is striking is that customers mainly want to have an outdoor living feeling. The garden not as a dark, mossy environment, but as an inviting place where you would prefer to spend the whole day, preferably complete with outdoor kitchen and swimming pool. And they want the outside to be an extension of the inside. That is why we involve the interior and architecture of the house in the design of the garden, terrace or veranda. We also always study what the viewing lines are when you are inside. How do you look into the garden? That image has to be right all year round, from the hottest moment in summer to the coldest day in winter. Where can Strak studios still grow? We can always continue to develop in the quality of our design and the way we present ourselves. And there are still a number of markets in which I see potential. Firstly, the high-end hotels and restaurants with their terraces, swimming pools and gardens. Secondly, the maritime market. Recently, we were asked to make a proposal for a 125-metre superyacht. All those outdoor spaces on the various decks should be decorated with furniture. Then you're talking about huge investments. Thirdly, the outlying areas of companies and institutions. For example, we are now making an inventory of how we can furnish the terraces of a new port in Amsterdam. And finally, we want to focus more on the second-home market. Many people who invest in real estate in, for example, Spain, the South of France or Portugal, prefer to use a Dutch party for their garden there. And once they are delighted with the design we have created for their garden here, it is a logical consequence that they approach us for it. We are now working on the coast of Kenya, where a client is having four villas built. If you realize a project satisfactorily, you have another ambassador. We hope to further expand that network at MASTERS EXPO."



This article is from MASTERS Magazine. The magical autumn edition of MASTERS Magazine is now available. Artificial intelligence has become an integral part of our lives. But, is this development something to celebrate or fear? Will Terminators take over or will friendly robots make our earthly existence even more comfortable? In this edition, AI is put under the microscope. According to philosopher Rowan Williams, it's important to remember that no matter what AI does, it always imitates. And that we distinguish ourselves as human beings through ingenuity. A good example is real estate entrepreneur André Snippe, who is building an ultramodern city district in Hoofddorp. Or nautical designer Jurjen Eerkens, who has developed a groundbreaking boat with his Hytender that is at the forefront of making the yachting industry more sustainable. These and more resourceful entrepreneurs adorn the pages of this edition. In which we also look ahead to MASTERS EXPO | The MAGICAL Edition, our exclusive business fair, was also born out of ingenuity.

Order MASTERS Magazine #55 here