SKT-(inner city longboard) test

SKT-(inner city longboard) test | Sep 2014

People in passing ask “How is work going?” Kind of hard to answer without sounding like your not working. “Uhmmm, good, I had to ride a new skateboard to solve some geometry issues.

You know,… geometry issues.” joey ruiter

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discovery channel canada / dailyplanet

discovery channel canada / dailyplanet | Sep 2014

Watch the Reboot Buggy with some behind the scenes shots-

Episode 133 – September 15th 2014

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+ Read More, off-road dodge a/t, off-road dodge a/t | Sep 2014

Posted on 9/3/14

By Aaron Miller

The Off-Road Dodge Challenger A/T. Because America.

For Dodge, the Challenger has become quite a versatile vehicle, ranging from an entry-level large coupe to a freakish, 707 hp destroyer of tires. Now, designer Joey Ruiter has developed the Challenger A/T. It’s an all-terrain Challenger so badass even the Dukes of Hazzard would have no answer for it. The best part? Ruiter claims if you’ve got the dough, he’ll make it for you.

The design has essentially followed traditional off-road vehicle protocols, adding longer suspension arms for increased wheel travel over rocks and sand dunes. There’s also some body armor so you don’t completely ruin the thing if you happen to get stuck on a boulder, which tends to happen.

To help you avoid said boulders, if you happen to find yourself in harsh terrain at night, there’s a proper light bar mounted into the lower grille.

He’s also paid attention to the finer details: moving the exhaust so it doesn’t get crushed during a hard landing, adding an extra spare to the trunk, and ensuring there’s plenty of space to store all your tools. Why? Because AAA isn’t exactly going to come pull you from a sand dune at 3 a.m. in the middle of nowhere.

Aaron Miller is the Rides editor for Supercompressor. If he ever gets his hands on one of these he’s going straight to White Sands, New Mexico. Jump dunes with him on Twitter.

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+ Read More Dodge challenger A/T untamed Dodge challenger A/T untamed | Sep 2014

Dodge Challenger A/T Untamed Concept
August 30th, 2014 by Paul Strauss – See more at:

If there’s one thing I never really thought of, it was taking a Dodge Challenger off road. But that’s exactly what product designer and builder Joey Ruiter has dreamed up with his off-road modded Challenger concept. Most recently, Ruiter gave us his stripped down Reboot Buggy, so he knows a thing or two about tearing up the dirt.

The Dodge Challenger A/T Untamed Concept is envisioned as an amped-up muscle car that’s been equipped with an off-road capable suspension, flared fenders, and appropriately massive off-road tires and wheels to go with. You won’t have to worry about ground clearance with the Challenger, as it’s been jacked up several inches over the standard car.

In order to keep the vehicle’s weight balanced, Ruiter envisions a V6 power plant, rather than a HEMI or a Hellcat, though you’d probably want an all-wheel drive system. I can only imagine that a rear-wheel drive vehicle would still have trouble in wet or loose terrain. Regardless of the physics, Ruiter hopes to develop an all-terrain kit for modding Challengers and other muscle cars down the road. – See more at:

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AUTOBLOG, Challenger A/T concept

AUTOBLOG, Challenger A/T concept | Sep 2014

Challenger A/T Unlimited Concept could be your next Hellcat-powered ORV

by Seyth Miersma. posted Aug 29th 2014

This past June I spent an excellent day hanging out with Joey Ruiter, driving and discussing his Reboot Buggy project. Before heading home, I let him know that he was more than welcome to keep me abreast of whichever new automotive project he’d get into. You can never have too many car designers and one-off fabricators in your Rolodex, right?

Ruiter recently made good with the follow-up, emailing me with details on this Dodge Challenger A/T Untamed Concept that pushes a lot of hot buttons for the muscle car and off-roading enthusiasts.

This all-terrain Mopar is a lot more than a Challenger body dropped on a truck chassis, too. A materialized version of the A/T would included a completely new, long-travel suspension, skid plates, body armor and rock sliders, and obviously flared fenders to help accommodate a hellacious set of off-road-ready tires. The dramatically revised underpinnings would be topped with a slick graphics package and a killer lower light bar, all making the A/T look quite cohesive in its own, radical way. And the result would be a car no longer limited to mere road-driving.

I asked Ruiter if his concept was rocking a theoretical Hellcat V8 under the hood, and while he agreed that the supercharged engine would make the A/T “the most insane ride ever,” he thinks a tuned V6 would make more sense from a weight standpoint. Ruiter also told me that he “wanted the passion given to the Hellcat to be pushed into more areas.”

That’s a sentiment a lot of you should be on board with, considering how many “Hellcat Grand Cherokee NOW!!!!” comments I read, every time we run a new HC piece.

Which is important to know, because, while the package isn’t ready yet, Ruiter really would like to offer something like the Challenger A/T for real customers. He’s working to develop a kit that could A/T-ize Challengers, Mustangs and Camaros. We’re all for it.

Do you think the Challenger A/T Untamed should transition from concept to reality? Have your say below, in Comments.

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Combining our love of American muscle and off-roading.

When products work well in the worst extremes, it will work that much better in normal use. No curb, parking gate, city ramp, pot-hole, or incline will ever be an issue.


Meet the CONCEPT Dodge Challenger A/T with more muscle than ever. It’s sleek enough for the city nightlife and rough enough for the off-road landscape.

New Products developed for the 2015 challenger:
• Front long travel arms
• Rear trailing arm with links
• Body armor with rock sliders
• Fender flares
• Front skid plate
• Integrated lower light bar
• A/T logo badge

Body Modifications:
• Wheel well trimming
• Inner fender wall construction
• Exhaust tuck and reposition
• Spare tire truck mount
• Graphic twin striping
• Off-road tool storage and details
• Safety equipment

We pushed the performance, power and capabilities of the iconic Challenger from the street to the dirt. From body armor to racing seats, this ride is customized from top to bottom and ready for some serious use.
No matter where you’re going, this car will get you there. So pick your road, we’ve got the car.

We would love to build one for you.

images by:

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REBOOT BUGGY: photos by Brain Kelly | Aug 2014

silver lake state park, 8-25-2014 @ 6pm

photo by Brian Kelly

Prints available upon request / subject BKbuggy print

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A rare chance to own a prototype from joey ruiter. These would make great sculptural elements to many different spaces-

(1) FRONTRUNNER (non-functional)

*Can be displayed inside or outdoors either sitting on the ground or hung from points built into the structure.

Aluminum / steel / paint

Dimensional details:
width: 96” x height: 72” x length: 19ft



(2) POWER BOAT (non-functional)

*Can be displayed inside or outdoors either sitting on the ground or hung from eye bolts built into the structure.

Aluminum / paint

Dimensional details:
width: 60” x height: 72” x length: 160”



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BOLD one collection, VIDEO | Jun 2014

see the full collection at

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Tesano, Nucraft conference table | Jun 2014

Nucraft Introduces Standing-Height Tesano for Versatile Elegance
May 28, 2014

Nucraft’s modern and minimalist design sensibility finds fresh expression with the introduction of Tesano,
a standing-height, powered table that promotes easy and elegant collaboration in the workplace. The table will be unveiled within Nucraft’s 11th floor showroom at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart for the NeoCon 2014 World’s Trade Fair from June 9 to 11.

Tesano’s designer, Joey Ruiter, describes the table as “clean, simple, workable and approachable — and it really shows off what Nucraft is so good at. It’s a great human- centric design that people will
want to gather around.”
Ruiter, who has collaborated with Nucraft on more than a dozen designs over the past several years, also is introducing another table program with the company at NeoCon 2014. The Kai conference table is only 5/16” thick, while the Tesano carries a 3”-thick profile.

“It’s a little bit of a yin-yang concept this time,” said Ruiter. “It gives Nucraft’s customers a world of options.”

The Tesano table boasts mitered corners and an aluminum accent ribbon to show off a limitless palette of wood veneers, laminates, and glass as surface options. And the table comes in three widths and lengths that range from 48” to 240”. Tesano also was designed with an optional monitor-support end piece to take advantage of video sharing technologies.

Like Kai, the Tesano table was designed with wireless technology in mind. It has modular power and data units, all of which are able to be discretely attached to the underside of the table top. They can easily be removed when a fully wireless environment becomes a reality.
Ruiter’s philosophy of designing tables for Nucraft follows a simple maxim — “they should be tables for today and for the future. Technology needs to be considered, but it ought not to be the first and only thing. I try not to put a time stamp on these products. I want them to live with longevity in mind.”

Ruiter designed Tesano to amplify “the plank look — it shows off the big cathedrals and tells the story that this is real wood (veneer) from real trees.”


Since its founding 70 years ago, Nucraft has worked with customers to create inspiring conference rooms, private offices, reception areas, and training spaces. The company’s designs and custom capabilities delight clients who demand the most exacting fit, finish and value for their environments. Every day, Nucraft serves customers with
imaginative solutions that integrate technology and furniture in new and inventive ways.

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Kai, Nucraft conference table | Jun 2014

DESIGNED BY: Joey Ruiter

Visually stunning yet familiar, Kai is ready for today and tomorrow. The thin aluminum top has a minimalist profile making it appear to be floating in space. The camber rail structure evokes the design of a suspension bridge, allowing for long spans with only two bases. Kai also anticipates the future needs of the workplace with power/data units that can be added, moved, or removed altogether with no visual impact when the conversion to wireless is complete.

Nucraft Launches Kai Conference Table and Credenza at NeoCon 2014

GRAND RAPIDS — The people responsible for product development at Nucraft have learned how to engage industrial designer Joey Ruiter’s creative imagination. This time it sparked in the immediate aftermath of posing one provocative question: “What is stunning?”

The question sent him to doodle on his sketchpad, and to draw on his rich visual archive of a surfboard slicing through the crashing ocean waters off the coast of Hawaii.

The result of the latest collaboration between Nucraft and Ruiter is a dramatically different and visually arresting conference table and companion credenza which debut this June at the NeoCon 2014 World’s Trade Fair as the centerpiece of Nucraft’s 11th-floor showroom in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart.

The new family of tables and credenzas has been christened with the name “Kai,” a Hawaiian word meaning ocean. The Kai conference table has a sleek, knife-thin profile with a 5/16” polished aluminum table top that appears to be floating in space. The table also has been specifically designed to bridge to a wireless future, with the capacity to include easily removable power-data modules beneath the surface of the table.

The table top has an array of finishes, including wood veneers, paint, and glass. But its silhouette is always strikingly slender with the rolled polished aluminum edge, putting the focus less on the table than on the people who congregate around it.
“I really want people to stand out, which is why I am such a minimalist in my designs,” says Ruiter. “After all, to get together is to be with people. The furniture needs to facilitate that.”

Matt Schad, Nucraft’s Director of Marketing and Product Development, notes that Ruiter is brilliant at “pushing the envelop with product designs in a way that inspires the customers, but also allows them to use the product to complement their existing environments. The fun part of working with Joey is that we generally don’t know how we are going to make his ideas and designs come to life, but we know we have to — because our customers will love it.”

Bob Surman, Nucraft’s Product Development Manager, said the company’s ambition with the Kai project was to tease out a design that was not merely “visually stunning, but also functionally interesting, providing a bridge from today to tomorrow.” Says Surman: “The wireless environment is evolving. We haven’t gotten to truly wireless yet. So the table accommodates modular plug-and-play power and data units, which can be moved and removed. It’s always fun to give Joey Ruiter a design brief and see what comes back. We give him free rein to translate our words to his designs.”

For his part, Ruiter describes his relationship with Nucraft as a designer’s delight in which he is encouraged to explore all the material and aesthetic possibilities with minimal creative constraints. “For me, Nucraft is a dream client,” he said. “They have created an environment that allows designers to do just about anything. We can push forward, take risks, and lead with innovation together. Most importantly, they have
the knowledge, people and facility to pull off the vision.” Over the past seven years, Ruiter’s product designs have garnered a dozen awards for Nucraft. In additional to
the Kai table and the complementary credenza, Ruiter and Nucraft will introduce Tesano, another conference table program, at NeoCon 2014.

5151 West River Drive Comstock Park, MI 49321 | 877-NUCRAFT | | #craftedspace
The Kai conference table can be ordered in three widths and in lengths that range from 84” to 240”. The coordinating credenza comes in two different heights and four lengths with the choice of either a wood or painted case.
Bob Bockheim, president of Nucraft, believes that Kai will appeal to companies which are introducing a more sophisticated contemporary look into traditional office environments. But he acknowledges that the “early adopters will be firms looking for a unique aesthetic, yet not too different.” No matter the marketplace for the table, Ruiter contends that Kai powerfully represents his design drive “to lead people to what’s next — to imagine, to create, to inspire. It’s important to me that people find a relationship with the objects I create.”

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BOLD one collection | Jun 2014

The fully height-adjustable double pedestal desk featured in the One Collection is completely at home in private offices; its equally comfortable in open, collaborative spaces. There’s nothing simpler than furnishing a One Collection office: one person, one part. Complement with screens and credenzas as you choose. Designed by Joey Ruiter.

“After two years of research we ended up with a handful of contradictory needs. In first couple of full sized mockups, we realized we had a modern “tanker” desk. The right mix of proportion, materials, and components, made something wonderful for us today.”

At its core it is a double pedestal desk from the turn of the century. “I went back all the way to the beginning, the reference, and the start to what we know today as the office. We have come full circle.” This desk is more relevant today than ever. One person, one desk. Height adjustable, 22” to 50”, power integration in drawers tucked under the work surface, and simple storage that meets our needs today.

BOLD One Collection

Sit-to-stand at a double-ped desk.
Yes, it’ is possible.

Just as suited to private offices as collaborative spaces.

Our commitment to sustainability includes cradle-to-cradle design practices. We plan manufacturing to minimize waste, and take into account needs for water and electricity. We use recycled materials whenever appropriate, and design for easy recovery and reuse of materials. Our finishes and glues are water-based, emitting no VOCs.

BOLD Furniture warrants its products to be free from defects in materials and workmanship found during normal usage for these warranty periods: lifetime for desk and table legs and file and storage handles; twelve years for laminate products and plate and step casters; and five years for wood veneer and MDF products, drawer slides, and accessories.

Appropriate Scale
Aesthetic Range
Height Adjustability
Application Versatility
Stable, Durable Base
Perforated modesty panels balance the scale of the desk, which is visually pleasing individually or in groups in a shared work area.

Bold Furniture

2291 Olthoff Drive
Muskegon MI, 49444

P: 888.687.6400
F: 231.773.506

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sadie:  indoor / outdoor chair | May 2014


Top Designer, Modernizes the Grand Rapids Chair™ Portfolio

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Grand Rapids Chair Company, a Michigan-based manufacturer of commercial and hospitality furniture, introduces their first indoor/outdoor seating and table collection at NeoCon 2014. In collaboration with world-renowned, Midwest-based designer Joey Ruiter, the company will debut Sadie at its Merchandise Mart showroom in Chicago. This collection heralds a new era of design for Grand Rapids Chair™.

The Sadie collection, designed by Grand Rapids native, Joey Ruiter, marks the company’s first official foray into the indoor/outdoor seating market. Exhibiting Ruiter’s minimalistic approach to design and functionality, Sadie captures a modern playfulness forged from steel and complemented by wooden accents.

“Products should always be as functional as they are beautiful,” says Ruiter. “If something needs to be as strong as steel – like an outdoor chair – then we need to make it out of steel. At the same time, we have a responsibility to push, imagine and create the next version of a steel chair.”

“Our goal with Sadie was to create a chair that would look just as good inside as it does outside, allowing designers to create a seamless environment that marries interior and exterior space,” says Geoff Miller, Grand Rapids Chair

The indoor Sadie model features a high-quality steel frame, wood seat and wood back offering various upholstery options. The frame is available in a wide variety of standard or custom powder-coat colors. The outdoor version boasts a stainless steel frame, metal seat and optional seat pad, allowing for use 365 days a year.

The entire Sadie collection will be manufactured in the United States at the company’s new production
facility in Byron Center, MI. Sadie will be on display in suite 394 of The Merchandise Mart during NeoCon 2014, June 9-11 in Chicago, and will be available for order in late summer 2014.

About the Company:

Look Fresh.™
Grand Rapids Chair Company has always helped our customers create spaces that look (and feel)
fresh – original, on-trend and always welcoming.
Founded in 1997, Grand Rapids Chair Company is a family business that has grown into one of America’s leading providers of seating and tables for corporate, commercial and hospitality environments. The company has built its reputation by offering superior-quality products, peerless
custom capabilities and quick lead times. Local manufacturing facilities enable the company to
maximize quality control for its worldwide customer base and contribute to a finer quality of life for its
employees and community.

Media Contact For Grand Rapids Chair Company:
Dean Jeffery

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Decouple E-bike (concept) | May 2014

We wanted to create an E-moto without the time stamp of technology. The idea of future proofing objects is explored with this electric city scooter. As a stand alone non-intelligent physical object, users can build up as desired for years to come.

The frame and fork is the heart of the concept. They should be first of all really interesting, fun, and inspire thoughts to create with.

With a few simple off-the-shelf components, users can create their own electric ride.

Too often our products have a short life dictated by changing technology. the wheels, ergonomics, forms, and gestures, don’t really change much in time but the technology does.

Frame and fork: innercitybikes, prototype

Hub: User choice (1000w-48v electric shown)

Battery: User choice (LiFePO4, 48v10AH shown)

Design: joey ruiter

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MIDZWL | Feb 2014

Might as well is a term typically used to make an unenthusiastic suggestion. “I might as well go to the store now; I have nothing else to do”

We flipped the phrase as an excuse to spend more money, take more time, try something new, do something ridiculous, just for fun. We smile when we get to use the term now.

MIDZWL is a Grand Rapids based car club. To be accepted, members must prove an over the top “might as well” moment on their car-

“Since I needed a new motor, it might as well be updated with twin turbos…”

Gold foil on black: available men’s or women’s, xs, s, m, L, merican

($40 + story) limited quantities available. Contact for ordering

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GQ FRANCE NOV. 2013 | Dec 2013


On Monday, December 9, 2013 by Alexandre Lazerges

A frame, a bigger engine and two seats: Reboot Buggy oversimplifies the principle offroad vehicle. You’re on the Dune du Pyla?
Reboot Buggy ou l’extrême simplification du véhicule tout-terrain

“I’m tired of cars with all their gadgets, their varied audiences and unnecessary options.” Joey Ruiter, the American designer of this impressive Reboot Buggy, is determined to swim against the current. “What interests me is the pure and simple as driving in his car when control was not so sanitized now, when he had to listen mechanics, check the oil pressure and we truly lived the road behind the wheel. “ After two years of work, the result is surprisingly straight silhouette and doors rolled sheet. “This car is the result of my research on simplicity, just like Lego constructions or Meccano.”
Reboot Buggy ou l’extrême simplification du véhicule tout-terrain
Yet it is not a toy but rather a true powered by a V8 Corvette chosen for its reliability, easily serviceable and conveniently placed just behind the two seats of the vehicle unique buggy. With its huge knobby tires Yokohama 1 m in diameter, no obstacle can resist him. The absence of roof recalls the first cars of the early twentieth century, which were only open to motor carts. Delicate attention, a windshield protects the occupants to compensate for the lack of fender crucial detail when we know that this modern reinterpretation of the buggy – exposed to the art of Grand Rapids (Michigan) Museum until February 6 2014 – is for sale against a check for € 150,000.
Reboot Buggy
GM 6.2L V8 engine 470 hp
3-speed automatic
4 m long
Price approx. € 150,000


Le Lundi, 9 Décembre 2013 par Alexandre Lazerges

Un châssis, un gros moteur et deux sièges: le Reboot Buggy simplifie à l’extrême le principe du véhicule tout-terrain. On se retrouve sur la dune du Pilat ?
Reboot Buggy ou l’extrême simplification du véhicule tout-terrain

“Je me suis lassé des voitures neuves avec tous leurs gadgets, leurs assistances variées et leurs options superflues.” Joey Ruiter, le designer américain de cet impressionnant Reboot Buggy, est bien décidé à nager à contre-courant: “Ce qui m’intéresse, c’est la conduite pure et dure. Comme à l’époque où maîtriser sa voiture n’était pas aussi aseptisé que maintenant, quand il fallait écouter la mécanique, vérifier la pression d’huile et qu’on vivait véritablement la route derrière le volant.” Après deux années de labeur, le résultat surprend par sa silhouette rectiligne et ses portes en tôle laminée. “Cette voiture résulte de mes recherches sur la simplicité, exactement comme les constructions en Lego ou en Meccano.”
Reboot Buggy ou l’extrême simplification du véhicule tout-terrain
Pourtant, il ne s’agit pas d’un jouet mais bel et bien d’un vrai buggy motorisé par un V8 de Corvette choisi pour sa fiabilité, facilement réparable et idéalement placé juste derrière les deux uniques sièges du véhicule. Avec ses énormes pneus à crampons Yokohama de 1 m de diamètre, aucun obstacle ne lui résiste. L’absence de toit rappelle les premières voitures du début du XXe siècle, qui n’étaient que des carrioles ouvertes à moteur. Délicate attention, un pare-brise protège les occupants pour compenser l’absence de garde-boue, détail crucial lorsqu’on sait que cette réinterprétation moderne du buggy – exposée au musée d’art de Grand Rapids (Michigan) jusqu’au 6 février 2014 – est à vendre contre un chèque de 150.000 €.

Reboot Buggy
Moteur V8 GM 6,2 l 470 ch
2 roues motrices
3 vitesses automatiques
4 m de long
Tarif env. 150.000 €

Dean Van Dis

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MOTO UNDONE 24 x 36” poster, signed $30

MOTO UNDONE 24 x 36” poster, signed $30 | Nov 2013

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thank you for your purchase of the MOTO UNDONE 24 × 36” poster

It will be on its way shortly, you will receive an email confirming your purchase

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REBOOT BUGGY film / baas creative | Oct 2013

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GRAM: joey ruiter / objects in motion

GRAM: joey ruiter / objects in motion | Oct 2013

Joey Ruiter: Objects in Motion
October 25, 2013 – January 5, 2014

Designer Joey Ruiter pushes the limits of what is required for an object to function, searching for new ways of thinking about materials, scale, manufacturing processes, and function. His design meets everyday needs in surprising ways, such as a motorcycle with no visible mechanical parts, or a powerboat that makes no noise. The prototypes he creates challenge established expectations and help people start imagining what is possible.

Founder and design lead of jruiter + studio, Ruiter sold his first office chair design before he earned his diploma from Kendall College of Art and Design in 2000. He won his first Best of NeoCon® Gold award just two years later.

Artist Talk: Joey Ruiter
Friday, October 25
7:00 PM
Cook Auditorium and Gallery I

To celebrate the opening of his Michigan Artist Series exhibition, Joey Ruiter will premiere his short documentary film Reboot Buggy, followed by a gallery Q&A in Joey Ruiter: Objects in Motion.

Film by Baas Creative
Photos by Dean Van Dis
Headshot by Brian Kelly

About the Michigan Artist Series

Throughout its 100-year history, the Grand Rapids Art Museum has featured the work of Michigan artists in its exhibition program. This tradition is now formalized into the Michigan Artist Series, to be presented in galleries throughout the Museum, which highlights the work of living artists or designers working in diverse media who reside in the state.

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REBOOT BUGGY, press release | Aug 2013


Reboot Buggy: Motoring back to basics.

Grand Rapids, Michigan – August 29, 2013 – Deep down, what does a car want to be? In an age of increasingly pampered human-centered design, it’s easy to lose track of pure performance—performance dictated by the vehicle instead of the driver. For JRuiter designer, Joey Ruiter, this question was the beginning of a crazed investigation into what is essential, and what is not.

“It sounds strange, but I wanted the vehicle to determine its design,” explains Ruiter, “Even if it means ignoring the driver’s needs.” To free himself from current automotive conventions, Ruiter went back the beginning. In this case, all the way back to the horse. The result is Reboot Buggy. With its roofless passenger compartment and hulking all-terrain wheels, it’s what happens when a race-bred horse evolves into a modern-day carriage.

Motoring may be the best way to explain the Reboot Buggy driving experience. Equipped with a 470-horsepower small block V8 and a fully independent suspension, Ruiter’s modern carriage is tuned to veer off road at a moment’s notice. “Before there were roads and infrastructure, buggies had to be equipped for all terrains. Capability was essential.” 

Essential is hard to come by in a time when vehicles routinely advertise self-parking and gadgetry that turn driving into a passive experience. “It seems almost novel to want to focus on one thing at a time. In this case, driving—not your smart phone or your air conditioned seat.” 

Though rooted in the past, Reboot Buggy is intentionally timeless. According to Ruiter, “There’s no defining technology to date the car to a particular point in time.” This doesn’t prevent a driver from plugging a phone into the dash and using it to display the vehicle’s instruments and gauges. “The car isn’t burdened with the demands of technology.” Ruiter explains, “If a driver wants to bring their technology along for the ride, it’s up to them.”

Remaining true to its essentials-only ethos, development of the vehicle required little more than basic tools, welding expertise, and a powertrain mated to a 3-speed automatic transmission. The result is almost alien, despite parts that are available in most salvage yards.

Once assembled, Reboot Buggy can tour the countryside by any means necessary. And, if anything goes wrong along the way, the average mechanic can put it back together again. “Folks in just about any town should be able to fix it.”

Reboot Buggy’s aesthetics are equally unfussy. Measuring 14 feet in length and no taller than a Prius, its deconstructed aesthetic is as much about what’s on the vehicle as what’s not. Pointing out the nose of the Buggy, for example, Ruiter questions the need for anything more. “A grille seemed extraneous. Why have one?”

Up next for Ruiter is an exploration of a different kind. “I’ve been rethinking the economy car.” Rather than practicality, Ruiter is in search of attitude, performance, and even a little street cred. “Rolling around in it will make you feel different. You’ll want to take it out.” In other words, it won’t be the eco-box we’re used to. “The economy car has lost touch with inspiration, wonder, and possibility. I want it back.”


Car Type: Carriage Coupe
Layout: Mid-Engine, Rear-Wheel-Drive, 4 wheel independent suspension
Transmission: 3-speed Automatic
Engine: Small Block V8
Horsepower: 470

Wheelbase: 126 inches

Joey Ruiter

Grand Rapids, MI

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Riff Raft | Aug 2013

The Riff Raft is for the non-boaters. People who enjoy the water but not all of the headaches.

It’s really simple; ride, swim, travel, layout, play, splash, and be with each other. The covers, cleaning, fuel, docking, all seem to keep us off the water. Even an E-Car could pull this to the launch.

Riff Raft is about letting the ride dictate what will be on the boat. The decking provides tie down grommets every 12” in from tip to tip and side to side. Elastic cords provide the attachment means. Umbrellas, chairs, coolers, tubes, bikes, basically whatever hooks up easily.

Remember the people you’re with, what you did, what you saw or experienced, not the boat.

Hull: aluminum

decking: SeaDec foam

length: 18’

weight: 250 lbs

motor: 200# electric motor

fuel: Sun / solar charging battery system

range: 4 hours

capacity: 980 lbs

options: colors

At J.RUITER we are always looking for opportunities to link up with manufacturers. Our prototypes are to lead discussions about products we have options for. To image more or maybe less, to wonder why.


photo credits: Dean Van Dis

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REBOOT BUGGY, release interview Q&A | Aug 2013

An interview with Joey Ruiter

*why the automobile?

“The automobile starts with the simple task to move us from one point to another. Anything extra is purely for our personal comfort and enjoyment. It has very little to do with getting us somewhere.”

*why did you decide to design and build a car?
“The answer is two parts, First, I wanted to learn how to make a car. To really know what it takes from every system, aspect, and physical packaging. To figure out why they are the way they are. There is no better way to find out why than to do it for yourself. Taking something apart and putting it back together is a completely different story.
Secondly, I’ve personally becoming more and more frustrated with new automobiles. The fluff, the marketing, the gadgets, the nicknacks, and the do-dads are overwhelming. I want to go back to the drive. When the drive was enough. We’ve layered and layered until I saw a cover for a cover under a hood covered in paint with a cover to protect the paint?… Seems silly to describe but that is a true statement. It’s just all gotten out of control. I drive old era cars. Cars that need your full attention when driving. I can feel the road, I hear the motor, and I understand whats happening around me mechanically.

As an artist I want to make a statement about the car. Starting over from the beginning seemed the right choice. First, we rode horses, then in buggies behind a horse, engine replaces horse, the horseless carriage began.
That to me was the start to all of this stuff we lump together as the automobile. What if we kept that notion of a carriage without a horse. That is really what this project became. Roads aren’t needed, infrastructure isn’t needed, and most folks in any town could fix whats on it. Although most parts can take a pretty good beating.”

*So what is it then?

“Its basically an exercise in creating a capable vehicle with really common parts. It doesn’t fit into a category since it came from nothing. As the thoughts started to become reality, I shifted towards something more fun for me personally.

It’s free design expression. To allow yourself expression as thought, as a physical thing, and not just in rendering form, really pushes the thinking. To allow yourself to do it is the biggest challenge.

I wonder and ask why a lot. Too much really. I want to investigate those thoughts to the fullest. Sometimes that means I have to build it and drive around.”

*What was challenging about this design, or process of design?

“Building a car from scratch was not easy. I’ve restored, modified, re-imagined lots of cars personally and through my design firm, but from nothing is a completely different story. We don’t really have the collective knowledge we used too. The products around us just are, and just do and we don’t really know how and where they came from.
It takes parts confidence, one part naive, and the rest is about finding really talented people to work with.
I learned that everyone’s opinion is really valid and correct. Although each opinion is different from person to person. There are many ways to solve a problem. Its easy to get bogged down with what should be done and when. That is what is challenging, sifting through the collective thoughts and picking a direction.
I learn and fail and win. Each new part or thought failed twice at least on every aspect. Keeping the momentum moving forward is hard. Really hard. The saying, “third times a charm.” is really correct.

The nice thing about metal is you can add and take away. Having the balls to cut apart something you just spent a lot of time and money on is hard but in the run its better. It only hurts when you go back to where you started, but only for a bit. Realizing why you had it right in the first place is worth the pain later. Then the next time you feel more confident to back up your intuition.
Designers don’t trust themselves because they hadn’t had their hands dirty. My advise to them is to get your hands dirty, make something that holds something up. You’ll learn a lot really quickly.”

*photo credits, Dean Van Dis

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Bodie, lounge by Grand Rapids Chair | May 2013

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Grand Rapids Chair Company introduces Bodie, a new line of lounge furniture designed around the user experience.

Designed by Joey Ruiter, the winner of multiple “Best of NeoCon” awards and owner of 25+ design patents, Bodie .proves that exceptional design can be made affordable.

“Bodie is a new direction for us in terms of style and application,” says Grand Rapids Chair founder and CEO Dave Miller. “But our existing customers will recognize all the hallmarks of a Grand Rapids Chair product – superior craftsmanship, remarkable durability and infinite personalization in addition to affordability.”

The line includes:

• A lounge chair in a choice of fully upholstered, upholstered front/wood back, for wood/upholstered seat-pad versions, plus two base options: five-star or pedestal.
•an Ottoman that mimics the form and material options of the chair; pedestal base.
• Personal side table, low coffee table, and work-height boat-shaped table in wood or laminate, with a pedestal base.

Lounge spaces are intended to provide comfort and support collaboration. The Bodie chair satisfies the first requirement with wide seats and an open, armless design that allows unrestricted movement. An optional ottoman offers additional comfort.

The chair’s narrow back and unobtrusive base “disappear” when in use, keeping the user squarely in focus. This enhances face-to-face communication and group collaboration. It also ensures that interior design choices drive the aesthetic of a space.

That’s not to say that Bodie fades into the background. Its clean lines and modern profiles, combined with near-infinite upholstery, finish and color options, make it a signature statement piece for any organization.

“I have always been fond of designers that ensure their designs maintain their initial vision – like when a swivel lounge returns to its original position” says Ruiter.. “It’s about making statement pieces work well while in use, and look visually pleasing and inviting when not in use.”

The Bodie Table collection-

Informal, Intimate, and Infinitely Adaptable.

Bodie’s streamlined design creates a relaxed, sociable feel perfect for spurring collaboration and engagement. A personal side table, low coffee table, low conference and standard conference height table accommodate numerous environments and tasks, while endless wood and laminate finish options allow a one-of-a-king look. Matches beautifully with Bodie lounge chairs and ottomans.

Like many of its products, Bodie is named after a member of the Grand Rapids Chair family – in this case, President Geoff Miller’s Labrador Retriever, who accompanies Miller to work every day.

Bodie is one of three new product lines debuting at NeoCon 2013, each developed by a prominent designer working for the first time with Grand Rapids Chair Company. Together with a new permanent showroom in The Merchandise Mart, these design collaborations represent the company’s expanded emphasis on the contract furniture industry.

Bodie is on display in suite 394 of The Merchandise Mart during NeoCon 2013. It will be available for order entry in September 2013.

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REBOOT BUGGY, testing | May 2013

5-17-13, reboot buggy seen on 28th street sw Grand Rapids Mi.
6-14-13, reboot buggy dune testing, silver lake state park, Mi.
8-28-13, youtube test link
9-21-13, reboot buggy dune film shoot (snapshot)

EMAIL for press and upcoming motoring events-

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Matthew Carpenter’s KTM 125sx

Matthew Carpenter’s KTM 125sx | Mar 2013

graphic punch by JRUITER+studio

moto: KTM 125 sx
rider: Matthew Carpenter

Location: Zeeland, MI
Date of Birth: 1998-12-20
Racing Class: 85 Sr; Supermini
My Ride: 2012 RM85; 2009 Supermini
Home Track: Red Bud
Crossover Sports: Skiing / Snowboard
Sponsors: J.RUITER, FMF; ProTaper; PitPosse; Lake Cycle

Matthew learned how to ride on 2 wheels by the age of 2 and began riding motorcycles at the age of 4. He began riding in his Grandparents back yard on an XR50 until age 5 when he graduated to a KTM ProJr and began racing MX in the winter of 2004. Matthew is now racing the 85 Sr and Supermini classes and is consistently running at the front of the pack locally. He has developed into a great student athlete throughout his MX career and has been a great representative for his current sponsors both on and off the track.

Date Finish Event
2009 2nd Red Bud National Amateur Day 65 7-11
2009 1st GLMX Mideast Championship Series 65 7-11
2010 2nd LLQ Budds Creek 65 10-11 Stock
2010 4th LLQ Budds Creek 65 10-11 Mod
2010 4th LLQ Paradise MX 85 9-11 Stock
2010 1st LLQ Paradise MX 85 9-11 Mod
2010 1st Red Bud MX National 85 9-11
2011 2nd LLQ Dutch Sport Park Mini Sr 12-14 Stock

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the GROWLER city bike | Jan 2013

This “Growler” concept concept city commuter is a working sketch prototype in a series of thoughts on what we carry around with us and the importance of those items. We took a Growler from a local pub and set off to design a bike around it. With or without the beer, this changed how we view typical beach/ city “cruisers.”

29er fat wheel set, monarch springer front end, 2 speed internal kickback hub, disc brakes

photo: dean van dis

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“one horse” electric moto

“one horse” electric moto | Jan 2013

At JRUITER we build, test, and reshape all sorts of things. This “one horse” concept E-bike was a working sketch prototype in a series of electric thoughts. E-bikes don’t need to be bikes with motors and batteries.

34mph + single front brake + 48v 1000watt hub motor = sketchy…

photo: dean van dis

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kendall | winter issue | 2012, PORTFOLIO | Jan 2013

Portfolio, Kendall college of art and design winter issue


On the cover, Kendall Alumnus Joey Ruiter (industrial design ’10) illustrates “innovation” for the covr of this issue. Though an industrail design graduate, Joey has earned international recongnition for his innovatinve and thought-provoking work across multiple industries. Read more about Joey on page 13, and visit his website at


You’re just as likely to find Joey Ruiter re-imagining a birdhouse as a boat, a workspace or a warehouse. The 2000 Industrial Design graduate – and 2010 Kendall Alumni Recent Graduate Achievement Award winner, and illustrator of the cover of this issue of Portfolio – is a major influence in the global design community, with a career that spans disciplines, media and industries. We tossed him a few questions about what makes him tick.

How do you define what you do?

I don’t. My degree from Kendall is in Industrial Design, but I do my best to avoid all labels. I’m just an artist, trying to make an impact in whatever floats my boat at any given time. And sometimes, that’s an actual boat.

When did you first develop an interest in machines and/or art?

Growing up, I was always changing, altering, re-doing, toys, bikes, things around me. I don’t have a matchbox car that isn’t repainted or changed somehow. (before I had a drivers license,…) When I was 14, I was buying and restoring Porsche’s. I wasn’t modifying it or improving it in any way, but my curiosity for all things mechanical, especially vehicles, provided a great foundation of knowledge.

It sounds like your family was a big influence on you.

Absolutely. I have two older brothers, an older sister, a gear head dad, and my mom was a teacher. We all are highly creative, confident, self-motivated individuals. I suppose we all influenced each other, and it’s interesting that we all have different jobs today. Engineer, nurse, sales, bio-chemist, etc. I have been lucky to be surrounded by a long list of great people throughout my life.

Why are so many of your projects related to vehicles?

I love to work in transportation because it’s so personal to people. It makes a connection through redefining something they thought they knew everything about.

Do you look for people to have a certain reaction to the objects you design?

It is important to me that people find a relationship with the objects that I create, inspiring new stories, memories and interactions with each other.

Talk about your experience at Kendall and how that shaped you.

During a break from Muskegon Community College, I went to a senior show at Kendall that involved a scooter and other industrial design projects, and I was hooked. Coming from public schools, I had been exposed to a traditional education, and chasing grades just didn’t appeal to me. I was learning physics, math, geometry, science and art by working in the garage, I just didn’t know it. [Thanks to instructors like Tom Edwards, Karl Mead, Alan Rheault, Bill Heighstler, and David Greenwood] this was the first time that grades weren’t the ultimate goal in school—it was all about creating something unique. Even failures were successes, because you learned something from it. And exploring classes outside my major was very positive. I learned it was fine to experiment even further without fear of failure.

How important is it to be willing to accept failure as part of the process?

I see the role of the designer as being to lead people to what’s next… to push, to imagine, to create something great. Ultimately, you can’t achieve that kind of breakthrough without a failure or two along the way.

So, what are you currently working on?

I’m applying everything i know to stripping a car down to its basic function: a mode of transportation. What we think we want is very different from what we need or have. This will have a “green” element to it, but not in the typical way. Al the parts are locally sourced or reclaimed, with collaboration from a lot of creative people right here in West Michigan. I won’t share many details yet, but it’s fast, it’s efficient, and it’s my favorite thing so far. Althougth to be fair, every new thing I work on is my favorite.

Never one to sacrifice fun for function, you’ll continue to find Joey exploring and experimenting, pushing himself as hard as he pushes the notions of what a designer represents to the world. Watch the future unfold at

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reboot buggy

reboot buggy | Jan 2013

We have decided to unleash our design philosophy on the automobile. Particularly the notion of a city car.

project-named “reboot buggy”, it’s an exercise in curiosity and what-if’s. Starting from nothing, we gathered hot-rodders, race car builders, trained and “home-grown” experts to see what is possible without what we already know.

I want to know what a vehicle would be without the “user-centered” philosophy. What does it want to be without the things we place in as needs. we are sure to polarize our fan base with this one.

The automobile starts with the simple task to move us from one point to another. Anything extra is purely for our personal comfort and enjoyment. It has very little to do with getting us somewhere.

“I drive old era cars. Cars that need your full attention when driving. I can feel the road, I hear the motor, and I understand whats happening around me mechanically.”

This isn’t a shape contest. With little body work highlighted and no decorative grille shapes to design around, the raw parts necessary for movement become highlighted. The resulting vehicle, like objects in the rear view mirror, appears larger than it is.

“It’s grossly basic and crude, and I am loving it.”

The car will be powered by a small block chevy, gasoline, high power motor. It may seem like an odd choice, but anyone knows this motor, anyone can work on them, and they are easily re-built from local sources. In all, over 90,000,000 small-blocks have been built in carbureted and fuel injected forms since 1955.

“I think this car is somewhere between a prius and a horse & buggy. It almost needs to be both at the same time. We have to reconsider everything and ignore what we should do.”

Stay tuned… our nuts and bolts, locally sourced, re-used, re-claimed, and re-thought vehicle is becoming a reality.

EMAIL for press and upcoming motoring events-

*a special thanks to a couple of our supporters already-

Spectrum Sand Sports, Holland MI

FabFarm LLC, Holland, MI

p. 616-532-5200

Metro Engineering, Grand Rapids, MI
p. 616-458-2823

Dean Van Dis photography

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Grand Rapids mag. Dec 2012 | Nov 2012

art & design


Designer Joey Ruiter has channeled his hobby of breaking things down and his penchant for breaking rules into a carrer.

Pushing the limits

by Alexandra Fluegel / Photography by Johnny Quirin

YOU DON’T BREAK RULES if they don’t exist,” is a motto Joey Ruiter lives by.
The industrial designer has built his success upon re-imagining concepts and objects in new ways. As founder and principle of JRUITER + STUDIO, he thrives on stripping things down, ingonring the accepted norm and starting over again.

Ruiter has worked as an independent designer for the past seven years, providing everything from concepts to prototyping an manufacturing. His projects range from office design to an interesting take on bicycles that has earned him national recognition.

One of the first things Ruiter stripped was a riding lawnmower when he was 14. “I fixed it up according to what I thought it should do,” he said.

This meant making the machine faster and giving it new wheels and a fresh paint job.

Then Ruiter thought he should ride it to school. A sign promptly went up in the school parking lot informing students of teh accepted means of transportation – and souped -up riding lawnmowers did not make the list.

Where some may have viewed the incident as boyhood exuberance gone awry, Ruiter saw it as a good thing.

“When you get a sign or a rule put up after you do something, you know you’ve done something right,” he said.

Ruiter continued taking things apart and putting them back together. As a student at Kendall College of Art and Design, he realized that pairing his hobby with his penchant for breaking rules could be channeled into a career.

Two years before graduating, Ruiter sold his first office chair to furniture giant Steelcase, which became his first post-graduation employers. While with the company, he was involved in research, concepts and product launch, and continued to cultivate the streamlined, simplified approach to the type of design for which he is now known.

“I try to reset things, give them a black slate,” he said.

When approaching a concept or problem, Ruiter said he asks himself: “If you only had what you have now, what would you do to move forward?”

The answers result in his signature designs, which he describes as “meeting everyday needs in surprising ways, pushing the limits of manufacturing and confronting established expectations.”

Ruiter’s Inner City Bike is a visually striking yet functionally basic two-wheeler suited for short trips in urban environments.

“It’s not a better bike,” Ruiter pointed our. “Just an interesting take on design.”

Interesting indeed – the bike doesn’t have a chain.

Instead, it operates on a free-wheeling, unicycle-insprired hub that relies on fewer movable parts, makeing the bike cheaper and elimination the need for that often seen pant-let roll-up. The degn lauded Ruiter prase from Popular Science, The New York Times, and Men’s Journal, which dubbed it on of its “59 greatest things.”

Another of Ruiter’s designs earned gold at this year’s NeoCon for him and collaborator Chuck Saylor, founder of izzy+, a Spring Lake-based furniture company. the Nemo Bar and Trellis is a space concept suited for environments from offices to airports, employing elements that encourage sharing and communication.

Ruiter said the team “created the spaces as straightforward and simple as possible” using feedback reeived in previous NeoCon shows when the idea was presented as a concept product.

The human-centric design is representative of RUiter’s people-oriented aesthetic.

“It’s important to me that people find a relationship with the objects I create. Inspiring creates new stories, memories and interactions with each other. Ultimately, that’s really what it’s all about.” GR

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Design Matters Q&A, (MIBIZ)

Design Matters Q&A, (MIBIZ) | Oct 2012

Sunday, 28 October 2012
Design Matters Q&A: Joey Ruiter, Owner, JRuiter + Studio
Written by Carl Dunker

Design Matters Q&A: Joey Ruiter, Owner, JRuiter + Studio PHOTO: Katy Batdorff
Exposed to design at an early age, Joey Ruiter is an independent industrial designer whose clients include Nucraft Furniture Company and izzy+. Ruiter cut his teeth working on engines in his garage before attending Ferris State’s Kendall College of Art and Design, where he discovered industrial design and product development. Ruiter’s designs have won awards at trade shows such as NeoCon and have been featured in the New York Times.

How do you see design as being different from art?

They are identically the same, and if they disagree with that, it’s just semantics.
What constraints do you have as an industrial designer as opposed to other designers?

The products I generally do are used by humans, and usually are scaled to that size. They need to hold up things. They need to work and sell. They need to ship. They need to be built. There’s just a lot of variables involved. For a graphic design or a web page, for example, it’s a lot more straightforward as far as what it can physically do or not. Nobody’s going to be sitting on a website, or you don’t ship it across the U.S. in a trailer and hope it doesn’t get damaged. They both have huge constraints, it’s just with product design and industrial design, they all just collide at once. There’s graphic design on the products. There’s mechanical design in the products, and architectural design in the piece as well.
What should the next generation of designers be thinking about?

It’s going to be more of a lifestyle that you have, and you get compensated for it, hopefully. Do what you want to do and not what you think others want you to do. Have high ambitions and high goals.
How does education play into that?

Education is the only time you’re going to freely express your product design or art truly, and I think students lose sight of that and start listening to their teachers. I don’t know if you could ever fail at an art school, but I think people think you can — that’s the odd part. If you’re not failing, you’re not pushing the envelope – you’re not trying. If you’re failing because you didn’t do enough, that’s one thing, but if you think you might fail because you tried something too weird or too far out there, that’s good.
Should designers bring that fearlessness to the job as well?

I’ve made a pretty nice studio out of failing pretty hard, and it works well. When you fail a lot, and it’s an open failure, clients respect that, and you sort of share in what happened. Then you know what doesn’t work, and you know what really can work. I don’t really do anything mediocre. It’s either really awesome or really terrible. It’s like Evil Knievel: He either makes it or he doesn’t. You can’t skip over the tops of the buses.
Going forward, how do you see the future of industrial design?

There’s just so much that we’ve got access to. You put something online and it goes viral immediately. Privacy is pretty much gone; it’s an open-source environment, so the speed of things is going really fast. I think things are culturally changing really quickly, and I don’t think designers have their eyes opened yet.

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Award winning and globally acclaimed designer, Joey Ruiter pushes through the boundaries of the norm and finds new ways to solve problems which leads to products that are as useful as they are jaw dropping. He has the ability to see around the expected and to notice the unexpected in otherwise ordinary things. He can’t wait to strip a machine down to the bare parts so that he can start over. From office furniture makers and power boaters to urban fashionistas, Ruiter helps businesses redefine and reintroduce their products to the design-savvy public who is always ready for something new.

With over 25 design patents, you can find Ruiter featured in a wide range of various media including Popular Science, Metropolis, GQ, Auto Blog, Discovery Channel and GeekWeek. When he’s not meeting with industry leaders or magazine interviewers, he’s probably at home in West Michigan doing what he loves best. Making things. Things that are seen, made and sold all over the world.

*We are always looking for new challenges and partners, contact us at

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front runner video/ oddlyeven

front runner video/ oddlyeven | Aug 2012

the frontrunner conceptual video by oddlyeven

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front runner prototype FOR SALE | Aug 2012

The frontrunner prototype is up for sale. This is a full sized, non-functional prototype. This prototype would be a great addition to an interior space, car collection, boat collection, or museum setting. We would offer set up and installation if needed.

This boat has been featured all over the world. Discovery channel, and popular mechanics to name a few. If interested email us at to discuss pricing and conditions-

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riff raft (prototype test)

riff raft (prototype test) | Aug 2012

Riff Raft is for the non boaters, to the low class, and to those who don’t know what boating shoes are. Simple, cheap, and with no up-keep. Riff Raft is a floating, moving platform for the water. Feel from to swim, sit, lay, and be still. It’s as basic as you get.

High res photos and press release with details will be available in September

email, for information

photo: melissa vannest

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inner city bike in “top 100 bikes,” by Zahid Sardar

inner city bike in “top 100 bikes,” by | Aug 2012

Publication Date: September 12, 2012
A collection of the best and most popular bikes to be found anywhere right now, this book gives the overview of what is out there for every kind of cyclist. Whether you are a BMXtreme or mountain bike enthusiast, a keen tourer or racer, a city commuter or courier, or simply fascinated with the constantly advancing mechanics and engineering of folding and other innovative bike designs, this book has something for you. 100 Best Bikes is the essential resource for anyone wanting to know what is the best they can find now in design and engineering for every kind of bike.

check out for information and availability

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izzy wins GOLD!

izzy wins GOLD! | Jun 2012

check out the fly through of the Neocon showroom 2012 for izzy-

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yellow diamond ring

yellow diamond ring | Jun 2012

custom yellow diamond gold ring

We have been working with gold on a few projects recently. What better way to stand a wonderful material out even more than to load it up with yellow diamonds.

This modern take on otherwise traditional methods makes a huge flash in any lighting condition.

*private client collection

design & construction with Scott Carey from Metal Art Studio

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Neocon 2012, Nemo by Izzy design | Jun 2012

Nemo Bar and Trellis

NeoCon World’s Trade Fair 2012: June 11-13, 2012
The Merchandise Mart, Showrooms 11-100

CHICAGO – June 2012 – Through the years, Joey Ruiter and Chuck Saylor have dedicated untold hours to sketching out and thinking through furniture that can support a balanced approach to new styles of working and learning, both for individuals and for teams.

The result of that effort and inventiveness is being introduced to the contract interiors marketplace at Neocon 2012, with the commercial launch of the Nemo Bar and Trellis by izzy, two pieces that can function very well independently but may be even more effective and better together.

“This is step one of a continuing journey at izzy+ to create products that inspire, encourage and support the power of collaboration,” says Saylor, founder and CEO of izzy+.

“We’re lowering the barriers to communication and connection,” adds Ruiter of JRuiter + Studio in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a long-time collaborator with Saylor and izzy+. “People need space to develop and share ideas.”

The Nemo Bar and Trellis by izzy, both of which were shown in concept form during the two previous NeoCon shows, help create inspiring spaces for next-generation knowledge workers and learners. The Bar offers a hub for connection and collaboration, where ideas may be freely shared. The Trellis provides a sense of enclosure and privacy for one individual to several people at a time, along with options for power and technology.

Equally at home in a corporate office, college setting or airport lounge, the Bar and Trellis create a flexible environment that fosters, supports, and stimulates a free-flowing exchange where two or more are gathered, while also providing a sanctuary for semi-private work or reflection, according to Saylor and Ruiter.

The Bar is available both in counter and bar height and the tabletop surface comes in 8, 10 and 12-foot lengths to accommodate 6, 8 or 10 people. The surface choices include an array of veneers or laminates. The Trellis, both freestanding or wall-mounted, can be ordered in 20 standard configurations.

Both the Bar and Trellis are built primarily of steel and cast and extruded aluminum for maximum durability and recyclability to reduce the impact on the environment at the end of the product’s life. Customer and designers are free to specify materials to fill in the frames of the Trellis or the leg base of the Bar to make a colorful and customized design statement that can change over time. The fresh and extensive izzy+ flavors palette offers designers a plethora of choices in materials and colors.

Consistent with the izzy+ modernist design philosophy, the Bar and Trellis reflect clean and simple geometric forms. Both elements support the ideas associated with layering, change of scale and intuitive functionality. Using recyclable materials, both the Bar and Trellis strive for a balanced, organic pureness of form that elegantly fulfill the desired function of each.

Ruiter and Saylor continue to hone and develop new concepts for the Nemo collection, and several prototype pieces, including lounge seating, low benches, tables and privacy “cocoons” for heads-down work, will be shown in the izzy+ showroom space 11-100 during NeoCon 2012.

By providing some structure for informal space, says Ruiter, community is created and information can be quickly shared. “This is how learning happens today,” he says.

“Encouraged by easy access to information, transparency, a strong desire to contribute and grow,” says Saylor, “people are increasingly seeking to leverage each other and looking for inspiring places that encourage spontaneous interaction and reflection.”

With Nemo Bar and Trellis by izzy, he adds, the interactive and reflective adventure has just begun.

About izzy+

The employees of izzy+ ( design, manufacture and market office furniture and seating that solve real problems for real people. The focus is to provide designers with the tools to create inspiring work spaces for forward-thinking customers in home offices and small businesses, in executive offices and board rooms, in hospitals and classrooms. Its award-winning products are marketed under the brand names izzy, HÅG, Harter, Fixtures Furniture and ABCO. Based in Spring Lake, MI, izzy+ is a business of JSJ Corporation of Grand Haven, MI.

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Nuctraft, Passport “BEST OF NEOCON AWARD | Jun 2012

Getting Static Conference Rooms Moving

The development of Passport conference furniture, Nucraft’s award-winning meeting and collaboration solution, started as an open-ended question: What’s a better way to accommodate project teams in conference rooms? To find the answer, Nucraft turned to the experts: Its customers. Over the course of six months, Nucraft conducted extensive customer-site research with users, facility managers, and designers into the issues that they face every day with conference rooms. What obstacles do they face? What do they need to enhance people’s productivity, efficiency, and comfort? “We know conference rooms are in high demand and often used by different project teams,” said Matt Schad, (Director of Marketing and Business Development). “The concept of a single project team reserving a conference room for weeks or months at a time is no longer viable, because the rooms are often left vacant. It’s a waste of space. But how do we make them efficient for multiple users?” He said Nucraft didn’t draw any conclusions ahead of time, and didn’t have any preconceived notions about products. “Our goal was to define the issues up front and let that guide product development.”

Joey Ruiter: The Designer for the Job

Accompanying Nucraft teams on research visits to customer sites was Joey Ruiter, Nucraft’s choice to design the solution. “Joey was perfect for it,” said Schad. “When we have a tough problem, we always bring it to Joey because he’s such a creative thinker with a sophisticated, innovative, and elegant design sense.” Ruiter, a Grand Rapids, Michigan industrial designer, has a strong relationship with Nucraft. He’s previously designed Nucraft’s Cavara casegoods and Flow conference table. And he is gaining worldwide recognition for his ability to look at common products, like bikes, cars, and boats, in new ways that embrace today’s materials, technology, and trends. “I want to give people something they can own, or discover, or conquer,” he says. “Something that they deserve and makes them feel better about themselves.” For this project, he put the challenge this way: “What is a hard-working room today? Once we learn that, what kind of products do we want to work on?”

The Roots of an Idea

Passport designer Joey Ruiter says he drew inspiration for what a project room could be by studying Winston Churchill’s war room. After studying the Nucraft research, Ruiter started to come up with concepts for what might be a solution for conference rooms. His early sketches for the project show that Ruiter had devised the basic concepts for Passport almost immediately, which is fairly typical for the inventive Ruiter. “Here’s the secret to my process,” he said. “I start with a schematic drawing to define users’ needs and the design constraints.” To illustrate, he sketches his thinking process for a new stool he developed, starting with the measurements and angles that people require for ergonomic sitting. The simple lines and proportions of the stool logically and quickly followed, and the design was well underway. For Passport, Ruiter first considered the basic possibilities for a conference-room-size space: One table that doesn’t move; mobile tables that users can reconfigure; or a fixed table that moves. And what about the walls? How can they be used more efficiently and effectively? And then there’s storage to consider. Ideas, explorations, and sketches turned to detailed mechanical drawings and a proposal for Nucraft, whichincluded two industry-firsts that make Passport a unique and truly innovative solution.

Passport adjusts the conference room to the guests, instead of the other way around. Its unique sliding top, the first of its kind in the industry, lets users properly position the table relative to the marker surface or monitor, reconfiguring easily to solve any meeting or project need. Power/data access is designed to move with the table top, remaining fully connected in every position.

The Passport activity wall features a vast presentation/marker board with concave curves that wrap toward the audience and built-in storage for racked equipment and other items. An optional mobile display panel lets you adjust flat screen monitors horizontally and vertically while neatly managing cables.

visit for more information, images, and pricing

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1962 lincoln continental

1962 lincoln continental | Apr 2012

“triple white”

Accuair air bags, Detroit Steel Wheels, Ford Racing 460, fast EZ 2.0 throttle body, Magnaflow exhaust, Nick Hardy interior,

I can’t believe I found this car just a few miles from our shop. After 18 years of sitting, this 1962 Lincoln Continental was basically all intact and rust free. An awesome example of American 60’s design at it’s finest or worst. It was heavy, slow, and big. Now, it’s just big.

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songbird fantasy feeder | Dec 2011

Beautiful songbirds are in our yards: We feed them, wait for them, and journal what we’ve seen.
I thought it would be fun to create a moment that levels the feeding field for our feathered friends. Now your songbird stoops to the level of a road side scavenger.
Imagine the stories they will share while flying south for the winter. Imagine how tough they feel after devouring a full sized rabbit.

molded bird seed, stainless steel skeleton

*Limited quantities available

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“power boat” at Cranbrook Academy of Art

“power boat” at Cranbrook Academy of Art | Nov 2011

“No Object Is an Island: New Dialogues with the Cranbrook Collection”
On View at Cranbrook Art Museum through March 25, 2012
For more information, visit

Photo credit: Courtesy of Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum.
Photography: James Haefner for The SmithGroup, Detroit.

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polygon sedan

polygon sedan | Nov 2011

charcoal on canvas, 44” x 76”

An American sedan from the mid 70’s exploded in polygons

prints available,, shipped rolled in tubes, 32 lb. paper

small (11” x 17”) $15
large (36” x 58”) $60

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NORM stool (DESIGN AVAILABLE) | Oct 2011


Inspired by an off shore fishing reel this stool is as simple as it gets.

Too often our products conflict with each other in spaces. This stool is designed to sit perfectly well with lots of other “designery” type products. Not everything has to stand out.

material: cast aluminum

We are looking for a new supplier and manufacturer to support the Norm stool.

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Contact | Sep 2011

616 283 1610


studio (by appointment only)

mailing address
3480 bayberry NW, grand rapids, MI, 49544

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Men’s Journal | Sep 2011

Volume 20, Number 8
September 2011

The Style and Design Issue
59 Perfect Things

The current fixed-gear bike trend has spawned a mass of less-is-more models, but Inner City Bikes’ 36er is the most strikingly minimalist we’ve seen. “Our goal was to hit the reset button on bike design,” says designer Joey Ruiter. The end product is a sci-fi cycle with the essentials only: an aluminum frame, freewheel rear hub, 36-inch tires, disc breaks, custom fit cranks, and a seat. Not even a chain or drive train. “It’s a city cruiser” says Ruiter. “More fashion than function.”

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moto undone | Aug 2011

From the familiar to the unexpected, moto undone ignores what makes motorcycles interesting.

At jruiter I.D. we want to re-set the definition of a motorbike by stripping away historical attributes that make them so great. It’s hard to image a motorcycle without fancy paint, overpowered motors, exposed mechanical genius, and sweet exhaust tones.

Moto undone is pure generic transportation and by motorbike category definition it isn’t very cool.

There motorbike references are small and when someone is riding they are all you see. The bike almost disappears. The rider just floats along the streets silently.

Powered by a 1000w 48v electric hub motor, moto undone has a range of 90 miles or about 3 hours. All gauges and riding information, like speed and gps, is displayed through smart phones by downloadable apps.

On display at the GRAM, Grand Rapids Art Museum, september 21 – October 9, 2011

photo credits, Dean Van Dis
rider, Pete McDaniel

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trumped trial rig,... Buick Estate wagon

trumped trial rig,... Buick Estate wagon | Jun 2011

This past Saturday we took our decently built up 2003 Land Rover discovery to silver lake sand dunes in Mi. My wife, kelli, snapped this photo of a mid-90’s Buick estate wagon next to me.

For perspective. Our Disco sits on 33” bfg M/T’s with a 3 inch lift. Not a small truck.

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nucraft funiture, cavara | Jun 2011

Nucraft, cavara

casegoods furniture-
A full line of reconfigurable components serves a broad range of application needs while minimizing its cost of ownership.

contract Gold award, casegoods 2011

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nucraft funiture, flow

nucraft funiture, flow | Jun 2011

Floor 11, Showroom 1166

The new benchmark for technology accommodation in an elegant form, Flow provides powerful scalability concealed beneath a floating center island, allowing for simple adaptability over the life of the product.

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izzy + neocon 2011 dewey | Jun 2011

Dewey finds fresh ways to inspire creativity and connection on campus and beyond with new cart and storage solutions

NeoCon World’s Trade Fair 2011: The Merchandise Mart, Spaces 11-100 and 1150

CHICAGO – June 2011 — Dewey’s back, and this time it’s bigger, smarter — and more personal.

The collection from Fixtures Furniture by izzy+ made an impressive debut at NeoCon 2009, when an award-winning portfolio of tables, benches, bookcases, lecterns and help desks was introduced as a fresh approach to the future of learning and teaching. Dewey took another leap forward at NeoCon 2010 with the addition of the celebrated and versatile Dewey 6-Top Table for spur-of-the-moment gatherings all over campus.

This June, at NeoCon 2011, the Dewey collection expands from the classrooms to the commons to the media labs and libraries to the professor’s office space. Dewey’s adding an array of storage and filing options, along with a privacy screen that transforms a Dewey table into a hard-working desk. The Dewey Connection Cart completes the 2011 enhancements to the collection, a mobile stand that encourages idea sharing in and out of the classroom.

“Dewey has redefined and reconceptualized the classroom over the past few years, and now we’re rounding out Dewey as a more robust answer for imaginative open-workplan areas and private offices and meeting spaces,” said Brandon Reame, the Brand Manager for izzy+. “We’re continuing to grow and demonstrate Dewey’s adaptability and its thought leadership throughout all learning environments.”

The new Dewey storage elements include a mobile pedestal file that features an open bin for briefcases or backpacks, as well as bookcase-based doors and drawers to neatly hide files and personal items in new configurations.

“It’s the same kit of parts, with more functionality and flexibility,” Reame explained. “It’s reconfigurable, freestanding, modular furniture which allows us to swap out shelves with different storage components.”

The Dewey Connection Cart incorporates storage elements along with a shelf beneath its whiteboard display. The cart also can accommodate up to a 40-inch flat screen monitor for digital and video display. The stand is designed to enhance connections among learners and workers in a variety of applications.

“It brings technology and a collaboration surface right where it needs to be,” Reame said.

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izzy + neocon 2011 concepts | Jun 2011

Concept vignettes by Joey Ruiter at izzy+ explore deeper meaning of collaboration and inspiration

NeoCon World’s Trade Fair 2011: The Merchandise Mart, Spaces 1150, 11-100

CHICAGO – June 2011 – Joey Ruiter of JRuiter + Studio calls it a search for “a tone or a vibe” within a physical space. Chuck Saylor of izzy+ describes it as a quest to provide meaningful places for inspiration and effortless collaboration.

The duo’s shared vision continues to sharpen and develop and a number of new or refined concept pieces will be on display in the 11th-floor showrooms of izzy+ during NeoCon 2011.

The vignettes include quiet alcoves with arbor-like elements, a 12-foot standing-height bar for impromptu meetings, and a grotto that includes sofa-like lounge seating within a semi-enclosed aluminum arbor structure that gives definition to the space.

“We’re designing to lower the barriers to communication and connection.” explains Ruiter, who launched the experimental exploration with izzy+ three years ago. “We’re not thinking about the corner office and wood paneled walls, anymore. People need space to develop and share ideas, along with need for solitude at times.”

The project, code-named Nemo, creates three distinct collaboration zones: extrovert, social and private.

Saylor, the founder and CEO of izzy+, notes that the Nemo experiment “all revolves around explorations into the characteristics of the places that encourage and support collaboration, inspiration and reflection. When you ask the question, ‘Where is the most inspiring space you go to think,’ no one says, ‘My cubicle.’ They respond with answers like, ‘My beach house,’ or ‘The library,’ or ‘Under the tree in the park.’ “

By providing some structure for informal space, says Ruiter, community is created and information can be quickly shared. “This is how real learning and real work happens today,” he says.

Saylor says the time is right for this exploratory project. “We see the emergence of a new social culture being formed within work and learning places,” he says. “Encouraged by easy access to information, transparency, a strong desire to contribute and grow, people are increasingly seeking to leverage each other and looking for inspiring places that encourage spontaneous interaction and reflection.”

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GQ France | Jun 2011

Number 40
June 2011

Le Plus Simple Appareil

Un cadre, une delle, un guidon, un frein (à disques) sur la roue arrière: voici le prototype de vélo du futur, l’Inner City Bike. “Nous avons réfléchi à la façon de simplifier le concept de bicyclette au maximum et une idée s’est imposée d’elle-même: supprimer la chaîne”, explique Joey Ruiter, designer américain basé dans le Michigan. Le pédalier, soudé directement au moyeu de la roue arrière, offre une variante bienvenue à la tendance des fixies, ces vélos à pignon fixe que l’on a vu fleurir ces dernières années. Pour faciliter le démarrage, le ratio de pédalage est de 1:1 car “nous avons voulu proposer une bécane qui soit davantage liée au style qu‘à la performance pure, raconte Ruiter. Je ne pense pas que l’on puisse parcourir des kilomètres avec ce vélo, mais nous l’avons conçu comme l’objet idéal du jeune urbain qui déambule en ville.” – Jean-Vincent Russo

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Cyklar! | May 2011

Please visit Vandalorum in Sweden April through August- Prototype #6 of the inner city bike 36er is on display.

Vandalorum is a new art & design Center in the south of Sweden due to be opened to the public in April next year.
Buildings are designed by Italian architects Renzo Piano Building Workshop.
The opening exhibition will be with BICYCLES (Cyklar!)

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jruiter + studio, office | Mar 2011

jruiter + studio

workshop, by appointment only

grand rapids- Michigan

616 283 1610

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New York Times, design - travel

New York Times, design - travel | Nov 2010

The Light Fantastic Design, Travel
Design, Travel

Inner City
For his Inner City bicycle, Joey Ruiter of JRuiter + Studio brought the bike back to basics. First, he unchained it. The bike, specifically tailored for short-distance trips on city streets, operates with a free-wheeling, unicycle-inspired hub that relies on fewer movable parts (which also makes it cheaper).

November 12, 2010, 9:23 am

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inner city bike 36er, (big city cruiser) | Sep 2010

big city cruiser

the inner city bike, big city, is ready to ride. check out for more information-

The Inner City Bike is how I’m starting a conversation about new products and how they change the world. The bicycle is iconic. Throughout its history, its design has evolved. Big wheels, small wheels, even the number of wheels. It’s been made of wood, metal, and plastic. Is there room for another take on the bike? Can we re-define classic objects? I think so.

It is about simplicity in design. The Inner City Bike is the ultimate stripped away piece. So stripped even the chain is gone. Its a statement on bare essential transportation and new ways of thinking about materials, scale, manufacturing processes and function.

For me, the art of design happens when you change the way things are perceived, when a new word is coined to express what you’ve done. It challenges conventionality and creates new stories, interactions and
rarity we strive for.

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Fast company blog,  by Kaomi Goetz

Fast company blog,  by Kaomi Goetz | Aug 2010

Can A Mere Product Design Win a $250,000 Art Prize?

Why shouldn’t great designs rank with great art? Designers are testing the waters.

Industrial designer Joey Ruiter is trying to blur — no, obliterate — the line separating art and design. “I don’t think there’s too much difference,” says the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based designer on why he entered one of the world’s most lucrative open art competitions, Art Prize, with a sleek, minimalist city bike.

Wayne Adams, a longtime friend of Ruiter’s and a Brooklyn-based painter, disagrees. “It’s not design prize, it’s Art Prize,” he says. Adams has also entered Art Prize with an oil painting that looks like a real-life photograph of bunched up aluminum foil, and he doesn’t think designed objects should be considered art and entered into an art competition along with traditional art mediums.

Their debate will be put to the test next month in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the second year of Art Prize, an open art competition with a $449,000 kitty, including a jaw-dropping $250,000 top prize. Last year about 1,200 artists from around the world showed a signature piece of sculpture, performance, or painting. Art Prize drew 200,000 visitors to the city in its inaugural run last year, doubling as both art event and economic stimulant. The winner of the top prize is determined by popular vote, via text or online voting, a la American Idol. This year, organizers made a conscious effort to encourage more designers to enter — a move that is sure to not only complicate the ongoing debate over what constitutes as ‘good’ art, but art itself.

Adams concedes it’s not a simple argument—and that not all designed objects hit the mark. “If someone brings in their old 10-speed, it’s harder to make the argument and design equals art,” he says. But does it? The 10-speed bike has arguably transformed more lives than any piece of art.

Even Ruiter isn’t sure a street bike can win Art Prize, if last year’s winner gleans any clues about.

But Ruiter, who has done work for Herman Miller and izzyplus, sees himself as an artist, regularly exploring his own creative limits. His bike was a design exercise in stripping away the parts of a convention bike: Think of it as a unicycle with a front wheel, no chain, and a single front disc brake. “There’s no grease, no moving parts, we’ve really deconstructed something that was already something simple,” Ruiter says. But it’s impractical for other than as a well-dressed spin down the block: “It might not even be functional at all and that’s hard to swallow for a lot of designers,” says Ruiter.

Which raises a question: Should Ruiter’s entry be judged as a piece of design—and thus on how well it functions? Design usually only becomes great when it serves its purpose well—But does being an entrant in an art contest change that criteria?

And does that mean souped-up washing machines or electric cars could win the next Art Prize? It’s totally possible, says Bill Holsinger-Robinson, the executive director of Art Prize. He and other organizers realized at the end of last year’s event they needed to reach out to more designers — from fashion to graphic-design — to really widen the contest’s reach and impact.

“To a large extent we see ourselves as social designers,” Holsinger-Robinson says, who along with most, if not all, of the Art Prize team also work for Spout, an online networking site for movie fans started by an Amway heir, whose family also underwrote last year’s startup costs. “Some audiences won’t view design as art. But for the broader group, I don’t think they will have issues with trying to make those lines of distinction.”

South Korea-based artist Chulyeon Park explores duality and bipolarity in this bench called “Schizophrenic’s Debris.” It’s made of MDF, laser cut and coated with graphite, then finished with lacquer. [As we were going to press, Park decided to withdraw from the competition, citing shipping costs.—Ed.]

Progressive AE, an architectural and engineering firm in Grand Rapids, entered with “Rabbit Hole,” an interactive installation based on the theme of discovery and curiosity. The visitor will find clear tubes hanging like chimes that emit a kaleidoscope of effect on color, the walls are designed to manipulate sound, texture and balance for the overall experience.

“There will be a variety of texture and sounds. It’s something that’s asking to be touched,” says Brian Koehn, one of the project’s collaborators.

Last year, they entered d.ploi, a mobile, modular structure of wood and steel that could work as your own mini-room inside a room or outside.

Go to Art Prize and see (and judge) for yourselves, September 22 to October 10.

Kaomi Goetz

Kaomi Goetz is a writer for Co Design. She also uses audio to tell stories about technology and social and economic trends for National Public Radio and others.

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Nucraft, Ativa | Jun 2010

Congress style table without the legs to hinder seating applications-

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Nucraft, Fleet | Jun 2010

*gold award, Neocon 2010, training tables

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Nucraft, mobile monitor stand | Jun 2010

*gold award winner, Neocon 2010, technology

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izzy + neocon 2010 concepts, NEMO | Jun 2010

New concepts by Joey Ruiter at izzy+ invite people to explore social dynamics, energy of third space
Why the kitchen island is such a draw, and how posture changes interaction
NeoCon World’s Trade Fair 2010: The Merchandise Mart, Spaces 1150, 11-100

CHICAGO – June 2010 – How do you structure the unstructured space? Good question. That’s why the izzy+ team asked designer Joey Ruiter to conceptualize how people connect at anchor destinations within a lobby, commons or student union.

Two unusual concept pieces during NeoCon at the 11th floor showrooms for izzy+ explore the answers, inviting Chicago visitors to test and provide feedback on third space.

The first concept draws you into a small alcove composed of a table, seating and an arbor-like ceiling resembling woven branches, where you might spend an hour, thinking or talking privately to others, recharging your energy in reflective solitude.

But when you have 15 minutes to check the scores, recharge your phone or debrief after class, head to the second concept piece. You can’t miss this 24 foot bar-like structure, capped off with a semi-enclosed seating area. The entire product creates three distinct collaboration zones: extrovert, social and private.

“We’re designing to support a culture of relevance,” says Ruiter of JRuiter Studio. “People need something to gather around, to share ideas and confidences, or to be alone while they’re standing next to someone else. These two concept pieces show how informal space builds community, where information is shared quickly. And it’s where real work and real learning take place now.”

izzy+ Founder and CEO Chuck Saylor is excited about the “concept car” conversation. “This is experimentation 101. It’s another stage of our research on how people act and use space for collaboration and personal reflection, and how we can best support them,” he says. “Why do you naturally rally around a bar, or kitchen island? In the five stages of posture, from sleeping to standing, the stand-up aspect is so intriguing. The body is completely engaged. Your inhibition is low and your energy level is high. In contrast, in the arbor setting, there’s an element of mystery and intrigue. Who’s in there? Who are they with and what are they saying?”

Mixing open and intimate spaces helps explore threshold barriers, says Ruiter. “How do you decrease these barriers? That’s the idea of a bar-height lounge,” he says. “When you sit in a restaurant booth up on risers, it’s more comfortable when people walk by. You have a visual connection to others but you’re not in their space. Can you mix complete privacy with complete openness? We do it all the time today, in the subway, in a stairwell, sending emails from the cafeteria. Converting that idea into physical products is a new idea.”
About izzy+

The employees of izzy+ ( design, manufacture and market office furniture and seating that solve real problems for real people. The focus is to provide designers with the tools to create inspiring work spaces for forward-thinking customers in home offices and small businesses, in executive offices and board rooms, in hospitals and classrooms. Its award-winning products are marketed under the brand names izzy, HÅG, Harter, Fixtures Furniture, Zoom Seating and ABCO Office Furniture. Based in Spring Lake, Mich., U.S., izzy+ is a business of JSJ Corporation of Grand Haven, Michigan.

Media Contacts:

Debbie Goode, 616.847.6539,
Clare Wade, 616.644.1090,

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Rapid Growth | Jun 2010

Joey Ruiter has designs on downtown Grand Rapids
Matt Vande Bunte Thursday, June 03, 2010

Design an award-winning office chair: Check. Design an aquatic pod-racer: Check. Design a bicycle for urban commuters: Check.
Now, Joey Ruiter has designs on a new Grand Rapids workshop. Check this out: The 33-year-old industrial designer has bought a tiny parcel west of Founders Brewing Co. and plans to construct “a little office-garage” estimated to cost $180,000 to support his work.
“The office today for me is barely a setting. It’s a state of mind,” says Ruiter, looking over design concepts for the studio he envisions on Bartlett Street SW. “Every week I do something different, so it’s gotta be able to change and shift and move.
“This is really a shell to accommodate a lot of different things. This is an experiment in how to work in the future.”
Ruiter does a lot of forward thinking. The Grand Haven native sold an office chair design to Steelcase while still in school at Kendall College of Art & Design, which honored him last month with a distinguished alumni award. He also has earned honors at NeoCon, the National Exposition of Contract Furnishings that will soon be taking place in Chicago. And a “totally experimental” boat he designed was featured in Popular Science magazine.
On his own
After working for Steelcase’s Turnstone division after school, Ruiter five years ago opened his own studio. In addition to furniture companies including Herman Miller, Nucraft and izzy, Ruiter’s clientele crosses industries ranging from dental tools to hot tubs. He spends about half of his time developing new stuff, or creating new designs of existing products.
One of his latest creations, the Inner City Bike, seeks to engage a growing cadre of urban commuters by putting some new tread on the traditional bicycle. It sports a pair of 36-inch wheels with a seat atop the one in the rear. There is no chain.
“I basically took away everything that you didn’t absolutely need,” Ruiter says. “You don’t wear one of those cone (racing) helmets on this. It’s probably a reverse in evolution.”
Then again, less can be more in terms of design to Ruiter. His current workspace at 3 Oakes St. SW is smallish, adorned by a Herman Miller marshmallow sofa and a conference table that doubles as his desk. There’s a photo of the Inner City Bike on the wall and a few of his designs on the floor, including an OFS-brand Swank lounge chair made to use a 4-foot by 8-foot sheet of plywood so there’s no scrap.
“The key to my business is low overhead,” he says. “I own a computer. I own a printer. I own a couple tools. And that’s my business assets.
“I’m not really building a business to sell. The sale is me doing the work.”
Ruiter moved his assets six months ago to Oakes, the most recent of several workspaces that together have been phases of an ongoing experiment. He previously worked at his Grand Rapids home, a task complicated by the presence of two children age two and younger. There also was a rented space that needed a bigger elevator to fit materials. There was an owned building with a ceiling too low. Ruiter even squatted for awhile in vacant buildings on Ionia Avenue SW.
Hey, he likes the downtown bustle.
“I feel like I’m part of a bigger world,” he says, looking out on Oakes. “I feel like I have co-workers walking by.”
Altogether now
People will be the focus of his design for the new workshop, Ruiter says. He’s striving to make it “like the second home I can work at.” For entertaining clients, there’ll be a kitchen in the back of a second floor that has an outdoor deck on the roof. A third-floor loft would be for storage, with a ground-floor showroom housing a model shop.
The design combines elements from previous workspaces into a single, new building on a 2,000-square-foot lot.
“I’ve moved probably five times in the last six years, and I just haven’t been able to find the right space. It has been a learning process,” Ruiter says. “This building is really the consolidation of a lot of those components at a manageable scale.
“I want the people to stand out rather than the architecture. Products should be in the background to support interaction.“

Grand Rapids city planning officials have embraced Ruiter’s concept for the workshop.

“It is always exciting for us to meet with individuals who wish to build up the urban core and be living pioneers in nearly unchartered territories, like on his site,” said Suzanne Schulz, planning director. “The little postage-stamp size of a lot that he wishes to build on captures the imagination about what could be there. 

“To have an individual like Joey want to invest in the city and choose that spot speaks to the enthusiasm that exists about downtown and the confidence people have in the city’s future.“

Ruiter concedes he might never build his workshop, and whether or not he does may not matter. It’s the process of designing that inspires him. It’s another experiment to check off the list, another form given a fresh take.
“I’ve been doing this for years. This is, like, number 30,” he says, looking over the latest workshop design. “It’s a change disorder, an experiment disorder. Maybe there’s an acronym for it.
“I’m really in no hurry, but it’s kind of fun having the aspirations.”
For a designer, it’s an aspiration afforded by Grand Rapids. Shoot, he paid cash for the property. Plus, the business community is rich in world-class manufacturing and the geography suits Ruiter’s penchant for outdoor action like fishing, boating and snowboarding.
Not to mention that Grand Rapids fits his design philosophy.
“We design our own lives to make it easier all the time,” Ruiter says. “It’s simple and easy to live here. I couldn’t even think of doing this in New York.”


Matt Vande Bunte writes about business, government, religion and other things. His work has appeared in newspapers including The Grand Rapids Press and Chicago Tribune and in assorted sectors of cyberspace.
Joey Ruiter
Newly purchased parcel of land
Future building design -Rendering Courtesy of Joey Ruiter
Joey Ruiter in his current studio (2)
One of Joey Ruiter boat designs -Photo Courtesy of Joey Ruiter
Photographs by Brian Kelly -All Rights Reserved

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Izzy plus shows Neocon concepts | Jun 2010


New concepts by Joey Ruiter at izzy+ invite people to explore social dynamics, energy of third space
Why the kitchen island is such a draw, and how posture changes interaction
NeoCon World’s Trade Fair 2010: The Merchandise Mart, Spaces 1150, 11-100

CHICAGO – June 2010 – How do you structure the unstructured space? Good question. That’s why the izzy+ team asked designer Joey Ruiter to conceptualize how people connect at anchor destinations within a lobby, commons or student union.

Two unusual concept pieces during NeoCon at the 11th floor showrooms for izzy+ explore the answers, inviting Chicago visitors to test and provide feedback on third space.

The first concept draws you into a small alcove composed of a table, seating and an arbor-like ceiling resembling woven branches, where you might spend an hour, thinking or talking privately to others, recharging your energy in reflective solitude.

But when you have 15 minutes to check the scores, recharge your phone or debrief after class, head to the second concept piece. You can’t miss this 24 foot bar-like structure, capped off with a semi-enclosed seating area. The entire product creates three distinct collaboration zones: extrovert, social and private.

“We’re designing to support a culture of relevance,” says Ruiter of JRuiter Studio. “People need something to gather around, to share ideas and confidences, or to be alone while they’re standing next to someone else. These two concept pieces show how informal space builds community, where information is shared quickly. And it’s where real work and real learning take place now.”

izzy+ Founder and CEO Chuck Saylor is excited about the “concept car” conversation. “This is experimentation 101. It’s another stage of our research on how people act and use space for collaboration and personal reflection, and how we can best support them,” he says. “Why do you naturally rally around a bar, or kitchen island? In the five stages of posture, from sleeping to standing, the stand-up aspect is so intriguing. The body is completely engaged. Your inhibition is low and your energy level is high. In contrast, in the arbor setting, there’s an element of mystery and intrigue. Who’s in there? Who are they with and what are they saying?”

Mixing open and intimate spaces helps explore threshold barriers, says Ruiter. “How do you decrease these barriers? That’s the idea of a bar-height lounge,” he says. “When you sit in a restaurant booth up on risers, it’s more comfortable when people walk by. You have a visual connection to others but you’re not in their space. Can you mix complete privacy with complete openness? We do it all the time today, in the subway, in a stairwell, sending emails from the cafeteria. Converting that idea into physical products is a new idea.”
About izzy+

The employees of izzy+ ( design, manufacture and market office furniture and seating that solve real problems for real people. The focus is to provide designers with the tools to create inspiring work spaces for forward-thinking customers in home offices and small businesses, in executive offices and board rooms, in hospitals and classrooms. Its award-winning products are marketed under the brand names izzy, HÅG, Harter, Fixtures Furniture, Zoom Seating and ABCO Office Furniture. Based in Spring Lake, Mich., U.S., izzy+ is a business of JSJ Corporation of Grand Haven, Michigan.

Media Contacts:

Debbie Goode, 616.847.6539,
Clare Wade, 616.644.1090,

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joey ruiter

joey ruiter | May 2010

Joey Ruiter is redefining expectations in the world of art and design. A major influence in the global design community, he has earned best-in-class recognition for his work. His signature is design that meets everyday needs in surprising ways — pushing limits to confront established expectations. His eclectic mix ranges from office furniture to sculpture, concept watercraft to household objects, even bicycles and birdhouses.

“I see the designer’s role to lead people to what’s next…to push, to imagine, to create something great. It is important to me that people find a relationship with the objects that I create, inspiring creates new stories, memories and interactions with each other. Ultimately, that’s really what it’s all about.” joey ruiter

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(7 questions) herman miller blog. invterview

(7 questions) herman miller blog. | Apr 2010

Design, Products April 19, 2010
Seven Questions for Joey Ruiter, Industrial Designer
By Kate Convissor

Industrial designer Joey Ruiter
Joey Ruiter is having way too much fun for a grownup. From his boyhood penchant for dismantling things, Ruiter has continued to finesse the art of stripping design to its essentials. And he brings this aesthetic of the unfussy to his work as well as to his play. So, Herman Miller’s new Intent line of furniture, designed by Ruiter, is meant to look as cool in private offices as it does in open plan and to offer affordable mix-and-match choices.

At play, Ruiter has stripped the bicycle to bare-nakedness, and the Inner City Bike, “a café racer with the performance of a beach cruiser,” is the result. He also tinkers with boat design. “Why are boats so complicated? A boat just needs something to make it float and something to make it go. Maybe something to sit on, too.” Ruiter’s boats are minimalist and easy to maintain; they have the lean, hungry look of a shark. He even manages to make a pontoon boat look like furniture rather than a barge.

A native son of utilitarian West Michigan with a studio in Grand Rapids, Ruiter has managed to marry his engineering bent to an artist’s eye. So we get fun bikes and boats, and some nice furniture, too.

Here are 7 questions for Joey Ruiter:

1. What are you working on right now?

My current list of work is awesomely random. A bicycle, a boat, a bathroom sink, some soft lounge pieces, and outdoor furniture, to name a few.

2. Which of your projects are you most proud of?

The really complicated projects that end up with a simple solution. Like it was there all along.

3. What inspires you? Where do you go for inspiration?

I am inspired by all sorts of people, objects, and funny things that I surround myself with. Inspiration for me is about finding the obscure, hidden, underground, collections and groups. There are so many creative and talented people from all walks of life all doing wonderful things. You need to get off the path a bit to meet them because they’re not in any fancy magazines or blogs.

4. What work do you most admire by another designer or artist?

Pioneer Raymond Loewy for creating new adjectives, thoughts, and inspiring generations; designer Marc Newson for implementing space travel; and artist Wayne Adams for thinking differently.

5. What would be your dream project?

Unlimited resources to implement creative diplomacy in our world.

6. What place in the world would you most like to visit?

After a little time in Holland, Michigan, of course, I would love to take a ride in the Dakar Rally through Chile and Argentina.

7. What one thing do you want to accomplish before you die?

I want to create a new word for an object or thought that I came up with. Words like computer, bicycle, automobile, and even panel system, were new at some point.

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VELO, bicycle culture and design | Apr 2010

Bicycle Culture and Design

Editors: R. Klanten, S. Ehmann

Release: April 2010
Price: € 35,00 / $ 50,00 / £ 32,50
Format: 21 × 26 cm
Features: 240 pages, full color, softcover
ISBN: 978-3-89955-284-3

Velo introduces a wild bunch of passionate cyclists – frame builders, urban planners, artists, photographers, and those who ride professionally – who are making an impact. They are not only shaping styles, but promoting cycling as a primary form of transport. The book also explores the aesthetic of today’s cycling culture and presents custom-made frames and art bikes as well as a selection of contemporary illustration and design influenced by the cycling movement. Geared toward anyone who has a personal or professional interest in cycling, Velo is the fast lane into a current topic that is both entertaining and socially relevant.

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tufted sofa | Mar 2010

Outdoor seating ready for all weather conditions.

This sofa traces tradition tufted seams, cracks, and buttons, in powder coated steel. Water, dirt, and grime, won’t find their home here.

laser cut steel, formed and welded. available in many colors

74” wide x 35” deep x 28” tall

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art4d, architecture / design & arts | Feb 2010

number 166
dec 09 – jan 10

Easy Rider. A Michigan-based design firm, JRUITER + studio has just designed Inner City Bike to simplify people’s inner-city personal transportation needs. As the trarget group lives and works in the city environment with minimal space, bicycling at this level might be more about fashion and culture than speed and performance. The design team simplifies a typical bicycle structure and inner city bike is the result. The bicycle includes planetary gear, free-wheeling hub, and is on the slow side – quirk, but fatiguing over longer distances. The positives are easy quick turns, and huge power to the rear wheel to go over curbs and other cityscape structures.

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the Doctors TV show

the Doctors TV show | Jan 2010

Jan. 15th, “The hottest health trends for 2010”
The inner city bike was shown on the Doctors TV show.

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About JRuiter + studio | Jan 2010

For Joey Ruiter, the joy of the design process is seeing around what is expected. Founder and design lead of jruiter + studio, Ruiter can’t wait to strip a machine down to the bare parts, to ignore the accepted norm and to start over. From office furniture makers and power boaters to urban fashionistas, Ruiter helps businesses re-conceptualize their products to present today’s design-savvy public with a fresh look at what’s next. A recognized rising talent, Ruiter sold his first office chair design before he earned his diploma from Kendall College of Art and Design. He won his first Best of NeoCon® Gold award just two years later. You can find this owner of 25+ design patents in Popular Science, Metropolis and Discovery Channel’s Geek-Week, meeting with industry leaders or doing what he likes best – creating inspiring products from his studio in West Michigan.

“When companies hire me, they get a broad range of experience that crosses the design disciplines, to create objects at their core that stand out. To get there, you have to see around what we are being asked to do. FInd the real, honest answers and try to establish a plan. Sometimes the answer doesn’t even involve me. But when you can get rid of all the cheese, fluff, and doodads, you can create icons. Great products of yesterday and today simply do what they are supposed to do. It’s not mysterious. And you wonder why it hasn’t been there the whole time.”

“Stripping machines down to their core essence and rebuilding them leads me to new discoveries, thoughts and inspiration. I love to spend time browsing in antique shops. You can learn a lot from past technologies that changed our cultural outlook. These are ideas that changed our lives, like the micro computer does now. What if you could find a new way to use things or see things that are already familiar? It creates another chapter, just when you thought you were at the end of the story.”

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inner city bike | Nov 2009

Our project, simplicity in inner city bicycling, was at first glance a fun aesthetic opportunity in new trends, color, and materials. Our target lived / worked in an inner city environment with minimal space. Bicycling at this level can be more about fashion and culture than speed and performance.

After the first few brainstorm sessions we knew there were bigger opportunities. The project rethought what a “frame” meant, getting rid of basic key components, and creating a new type of compact bicycling. Inspired by the “hobby horse” from it’s simplicity and the cafe race scene. Each is an exercise in stripping something down to its core.

The final design came down to a frame system and a free-wheeling unicycle rear hub. Everything else is rider preference.

Before all of the bike fanatics get all fired up, we know this bike doesn’t solve everyone’s personal transportation dreams. Performance wise, the bike is on the slow side, quirky, and fatiguing over longer distances. Consider it a cafe racer with the performance of a beach cruiser. The positives are easy quick turns, huge power to the rear wheel to go over curbs and other city scape structures, and great start / stopping / sitting situations. 

We rethought everything 2 wheeled with simplicity in mind. This is as stripped as you can get.

Very few parts.

29 × 2.35 tires
29” rims, choice
Fork, shock choice
handle bars, choice
rear hub (planetary internal freewheeling, unicycle through axle)
brakes, front disc only
pedals, choice

The Inner City Bike is how I’m starting a conversation about new products and how they change the world. The bicycle is iconic. Throughout its history, its design has evolved. Big wheels, small wheels, even the number of wheels. It’s been made of wood, metal, and plastic. Is there room for another take on the bike? Can we re-define classic objects? I think so.

It is about simplicity in design. The Inner City Bike is the ultimate stripped away piece. So stripped even the chain is gone. Its a statement on bare essential transportation and new ways of thinking about materials, scale, manufacturing processes and function.

For me, the art of design happens when you change the way things are perceived, when a new word is coined to express what you’ve done. It challenges conventionality and creates new stories, interactions and rarity we strive for.

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Bizmode Magazine

Bizmode Magazine | Nov 2009

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power boat | Oct 2009

We need to look forward again-

“First of all, it’s a sculpture, a visual prototype, that explores simple forms and gestures,” says Ruiter. “I think that we should be able to see ourselves in objects. These objects should point us in a direction, and should create situations where we can be inspired.”

“’Power Boat’ has a few simple lines, a wicked sweet surface-drive propeller and some shiny paint,” he adds. “All the nouns you’d associate with a power boat are there and bring it to life. Nothing visually suggests a watercraft, yet its design is all about speed and performance. One can easily imagine themselves driving this, especially since you can see the reflection of your head in the driver’s seat.”

Ruiter used welded aluminum to create the core structure. Surface drive propeller, OEM controls, electric motor, batteries and some trick hydrofoils, make up the rest. “When you connect the lines and arrange the marine type objects in an unconventional way, it doesn’t feel like a boat,” he says. “That’s the whole idea. In reality, it isn’t an abstract version of a vessel, but a small step forward in performance, fuel consumption and natural un-disturbances – low horse power, no noise, no wake and nearly zero intrusion into the water.”

“Power Boat” is intended to raise questions, inspire new ways of thinking and challenge stereotypes of why we do things the way we do today. That is Ruiter the artist and the designer together at work.

Technical details:
width: 60” x height: 72” x lenght: 160”

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airboat | Sep 2009

personal watercraft airboat. The ultimate, go anywhere, personal watercraft.

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decorative bird feeder

decorative bird feeder | Aug 2009

stainless steel for all weather conditions, finish options include raw stainless or powder-coated in various colors.
dimensions 16“x11“x3”

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outdoor bench, wave | Aug 2009

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Fixtures Furniture, IZZY + | Jun 2009

Neocon 2009 Gold Award
The best learning tools don’t just accommodate new teaching styles. They also inspire better approaches. That’s why Dewey by Fixtures Furniture, a complete collection of ready-to-roll tables with power/data troughs, mobile storage for wireless technology and freestanding bookcases, is listening, learning and leading in design for today’s and tomorrow’s learning environments.

Leading means listening and learning first. During Dewey’s development, instructors from leading universities and community colleges helped evaluate its design and functionality. These focus group discussions inspired secure storage, reconfigurable class settings and technology-enabled furniture – including the iPod-ready teacher’s station, the Helpdesk.

Think social networking. Dewey’s tables, teacher’s Helpdesk, Lectern and Buddy help level the playing field for students and instructors with function, approachability and scalable power options. In particular, the teacher’s Helpdesk features easy access to technology and power connections. Its inviting soft urethane edge topography intuitively illustrates how the teacher-to-student classroom has morphed into collaborative learning that’s more peer-to-peer.

“On the bus, in hallways, and in stairwells – it’s outside of the classroom where the real learning takes place,” says Joey Ruiter of Jruiter Studio, designer of Dewey for Fixtures Furniture and izzy+. “With Dewey, these things happen naturally because of the intricacies of the design. The top and underside urethane edge of the teacher’s Helpdesk edge is very approachable. You won’t know why you’re more comfortable approaching it, but you just are. On the surface, the Dewey collection is clean and basic. But underneath, as you peel away the layers, it gets more involved.”

With aluminum frames and legs, and solid and wood-grain laminates, Dewey features more than 20 percent recycled content. Designed for minimal impact on indoor air quality, it has powder coat finishing and PVC-free components. No welded parts ease product breakdown for reuse.

“As a result of our acquisition last year, izzy+ is fortunate to offer our customers
Dewey as part of the Fixtures brand, a well-established name in the higher education
market,” says Chuck Saylor, chairman and CEO of izzy+. “Dewey is influenced by
today’s mobile, wireless technology, which you can see manifested in the integrated
teacher’s station. Dewey is also based around the Socratic nature of learning, a
shared interactive knowledge and leveraging of each other’s ideas and experience.
The timing is right for Dewey. And we’re excited to work with designer Joey Ruiter on
this collection.”

Opening June 15, izzy+ showroom 1150 at The Merchandise Mart in Chicago hosts
an entire space devoted to the learning market, showcasing the Dewey learning
collection by Fixtures Furniture. Architect design firm Perkins+Will created the newly
designed showroom.

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Herman Miller, Intent furniture | Jun 2009


A mix of private offices and open plan workstations? Nothing brings a consistent look to both types of workspaces better than Intent furniture. That’s because Intent is designed to be compatible with Vivo® interiors. The same parts that come together to form desks and storage in private offices can join with Vivo walls in workstations.
Thoughtful design and smart engineering let you combine Intent’s concise set of parts into everything from a single or double-pedestal desk to returns, credenzas, and hutches. Whatever the form Intent takes, its parts come together with a few simple tools. That makes assembling and rearranging Intent easy and straightforward. With Intent, you have the choices needed to tailor furniture to match the way an individual works. And those choices are very affordable. A variety of materials options as well as multiple leg options let you scale Intent furniture’s price to match your needs. Which makes Intent very easy to own.

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Nucraft, Neos Conference | Jun 2009

From the innovative Articulating Table, to the glass & wood stationary tables, media consoles, visual products & benches, Neos delivers a family of hard working, value-oriented products for a wide range of applications.

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Winter Frame

Winter Frame | Feb 2009

laser cut steel, powder coat finish *frame will hold any 1/4“x 24“x 36” material
overall dimensions, 36“x 50“x 3” (available)

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Solace fall & winter 2008–2009 | Nov 2008

Pushing design limits in search of the next big idea-

As a child growing up in Grand Haven, Michigan,Joey Ruiter spent a lot of time playing on the beach and in the water. When he wasn’t physically active, he recalls, he was drawing. Either way, Ruiter was busy doing what kids do when they play: finding boundaries and experimenting with how much freedom he could wield within them. This expression of freedom within form is still a big part of who Ruiter is today, as a young, successful industrial designer working from his own studio in Grand Rapids. It’s at the heart of why he ended up in industrial design, which falls somewhere between two other careers he explored: engineering—which is all about parameters and exactness—and fine art—which is often seen as an exercise
in freedom.

“Industrial design has boundaries that I’m able to understand and accept, and then work within,” Ruiter says. “That appeals to my creative side, plus I was able to see career possibilities.”
After discovering industrial design and getting a degree at Kendall College of Art and Design, career possibilities quickly became realities for Ruiter, right in West Michigan. He is in high demand as a designer for many of the region’s contract furniture companies.

“I guess I’m known for having futuristic concepts—the next big idea,” Ruiter says. “People who approach me to work on a design for them usually don’t know exactly what they want. They’ve reached a place where they need some problem-solving and direction for certain issues within the industry.”
As if the pressure of coming up with “the next big idea” isn’t exciting enough, Ruiter keeps himself hopping by setting near-impossible goals and imposing crazy deadlines.
“I’m kind of a mad scientist of design, the way I push myself,” he says. “I’ll call someone up and say ‘I have a great idea I want to present in a month.’ They say ‘Great,’ we set up a meeting, and then the pressure is on to pull off a prototype within the time frame. It keeps
it exciting.”

Inspiration: found everywhere in everything.

For these great ideas, Ruiter is inspired “by everything,” but particularly by the gear and trends surrounding activities he loves, like biking and boating. The design issues he examines and pushes range from form and function to the use of unexpected materials and new manufacturing processes.

“For me, doing something new is about simplifying things in a way that makes them smarter and better,” he says. “Sometimes when you do something new and smart it throws everything else around it into question. That can be scary for a lot of people, but it’s definitely exciting. My goal is to push those limits, but also to promote change in a way people can accept.”
Ruiter is as mentally inspired as he is visually. He loves trend forecasting, following current events, and observing people—how they interact, how they work, and how they play.
“I look for all kinds of social and economic triggers, and I’m a news junkie with lots of opinions,” he says. “I also think I have a lot of empathy. I understand how different situations make people feel, which really comes into play in my designs.”
In addition to being human-focused and forward-looking, Ruiter’s designs are known for their cleverness. It’s not a loud, goofy cleverness, though. It’s more subtle, like a touch of humor that takes people by surprise but then quickly makes all the sense in
the world.

Some of that cleverness is imbedded in the object’s function, but other Ruiter designs incorporate jokes that are at once visual and conceptual. Ruiter’s bird feeder, for instance, has a cutout of a bird on it.
“The bird watching the other birds eat while people watch the whole thing is funny to me,” Ruiter says.
When several people asked if his bird feeder was squirrel proof, his response was classic Ruiter: designing a squirrel feeder. “Squirrels have to eat, too,” he says.
“I look for all kinds of social and economic triggers, and I’m a news junkie with lots of opinions,” he says.
Back to boat basics.

While Ruiter is known for his furniture designs, his other big love is designing boats. He is starting a boat company called just that: A Boat Company—mostly because he loves boats and worries that the boating industry is “backwards,” and needs a new approach.

“The materials used to make boats are very dangerous and are killing the people working in the factories,” Ruiter says. “And then a lot of people who own boats don’t use them because they require too much maintenance and work covering and uncovering them, storing them, getting them back out. I thought ‘Why are boats so complicated? A boat just needs something to make it float and something to make it go. Maybe something to sit on, too.’”
That’s how Ruiter’s Front Runner design and his new take on the classic pontoon were born. The boats are perfect representations of Ruiter’s philosophies about design, materials, manufacturing and fun, all rolled into one.

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OFS, swank chair | Jun 2008

A cube with a dynamic,flexible seat that expresses itself from every perspective. Swank is a statement about comfort and convenience through simplicity in form, and brevity in material use. It’s designed for a wide range of applications: team spaces, lounge areas, project rooms, and reception areas. The integrated shelf below the seat is an intuitive and convenient place for all the stuff we seem to carry along with us these days.

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Pontoon - Huck Finn | Jun 2008

No covering, minimal parts, open to the elements, and useful even at the end of the dock as it is parked. Built with Michigan grown wood deck, 26” aluminum pontoons, 25hp tiller style motor, and solar navigation lighting. This boat needs as much upkeep as your dock.
24ft length, 8.5ft beam, 10” draft

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Holland Herald | Jun 2008


For US designer Joey Ruiter, the Front Runner is all about “going where other boats can’t and having a lot of fun getting there.” With two 215-horsepower engines it can also get you where you want to go pretty quickly. Able to operate in as little as 15 centimeters of water and run over debris such as rocks and logs, it features durability of a monster truck and the thrills of a sports car, spinning and sliding around corners in a blur. It’s not on the market yet, but be patient: there are product plans for spring 2009. The expected price is $55,000-$70,000. Ruiter is also working on a twin 400-horsepower prototype for military applications, scheduled for production in 2010.

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Nucraft, Neos | Jun 2008

Neocon 2008 Gold Award
In the era of the incredible, shrinking 401(k) comes the amazing, shrinking office. Neos saves the day with a U-shaped station and a bevy of storage compartment sidekicks. Fit for use either as an executive open workstation or as a private office case good system, it has double-height overhead storage cabinets, high and low wall partitions, a single-pedestal desk, wardrobe compartment, and an 18- or 24-inch-wide tower. It is available in FSC-certified wood, with 75 percent rapidly renewable content and up to 80 percent recycled content. It comes in 18 wood finishes with clear, anodized aluminum hardware.

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Front Runner | Feb 2008

Imagine the thrill of off-roading, but on the water. Carve. Spin out. Drift a corner. Or imagine packing up your camping gear into a boat and setting off to a deserted island for an overnight adventure.

The boat is the Front-Runner, a full-size hydrofoil watercraft made unique by twin forward-mounted jet-drive motors. More aircraft than boat, it has an airplane-like steering system that allows changes in heading, pitch and bank. The Front-Runner can navigate waters that are usually inaccessible. It is 11’ long and has two 215 horsepower motors, ergonomic crew chairs, a retractable top and ample space for storing gear. On top of it all, it’s made of entirely recyclable materials. 

In the boating industry, options for the adventure seeker are limited. But the Front-Runner is one notable exception. Its estimated production cost and selling price are comparable to any typical twin-engine jet boat of its size. This design isn’t far from reality. 
Ruiter has designed, engineered, and constructed an innovative watercraft. What makes this boat unique are the twin forward-mounted jet-drive motors.

“You can take the this kind of boat into un-chartered waters.”

The Front-Runner is more aircraft than boat. It has an airplane-like steering system that allows changes in heading, pitch, bank, and a design that allows it to navigate waters usually inaccessible.

The position of the motors, along with the suspension, allow it to pierce the water and carve in and out of turns. The rear hydrofoil lifts the boat body out of the water so the driver can control different aspects of the ride. This design changes the rider’s experience. Because the motor is extended in front of the bow, there is more of a ‘pulling’ feel compared to the “pushing” feel of a traditional boat. “The advantage is this boat can do more, with more control and function, and go so many more places,” comments Ruiter, a local award-winning industrial designer. “This boat will go where most boats can’t because it will run in extremely shallow water, and it’s got a tremendous range.” The boat itself is eleven feet long, and features a robust interior roll cage. Twin supercharged 215 horsepower motors provide a small boat like this with a lot of power.

Ruiter has designed boats, motors, and interiors for the boating industry
before, but this concept boat brings a whole new attitude to small boating.
He calls it the Front-Runner. It is functional yet loaded with design

Ruiter describes why he focused on a new design for a smaller boat. “Large scale boats get most of the attention in this industry. Smaller boats for the average weekend boater are often ignored when it comes to new and innovative approaches. I wanted to challenge the thinking about small boats. The Front-Runner takes advantage of new technology, and creates a new boating experience. There isn’t another small boat out there like this.”

Ruiter brought in Spectrum Sand Sports of Holland, MI to help construct the Front-Runners unique tubular frame. They build long-travel sand cars for west coast style Baja racing. Andrew Prinns, owner of Spectrum, was surprised when Ruiter asked him for a tubular frame with full suspension and articulation for a boat. Ruiter and Prinns built the boat’s ‘suspension’ together and both enjoyed collaborating on this innovative concept.

In addition to the forward-mounted jet-drive motors, the Front-Runner features:

Modified four-link suspension and steering for aircraft-like controland feel
Hydrofoil on four-bar linkage to control boat elevation and ride
Environmentally sustainable design
An all-aluminum frame and skin that resists rust, dents, and dings
Materials are easily separated, and recyclable
Retractable California style top
Ergonomic crew chairs for all-day cruising comfort
Spacious cargo area (approx. 30 sq. ft. of deck space) with integrated lash cleats
Tambour rear door that allows for easy loading and unloading
Overall dimensions: 18’2” L x 8’6” W x 5’2” H
Twin 215 horsepower motors

The Front Runner could be produced and sold at a price comparable to a typical twin-engine jet boat. Ruiter would like to see a manufacturer put the Front-Runner into production. “This design isn’t that far from reality. It’s a new way of thinking about small boats. From a production standpoint, I’ve reorganized and repositioned semi-standard components in new ways.

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Dwell | Feb 2008

Mirror, Mirror..
Our top 6 picks

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Grand Rapids Magazine | Feb 2008

Making a splash

What’s good for the office is good for the dock at least when it comes to Grand Rapids-based industrial designer Joey Ruiter’s work, which looks very good in both places.

Ruiter studied fine art at Muskegon Community College before transferring to Kendall College of Art and Design where he discovered industrial design. Since graduation in 2000, he’s done product design for a number of West Michigan’s companies, must recently Steelcase subsidiary Turnstone.

With one foot still planted in the world of office furniture, he set up shop on his own as JRuiter Studio four years ago. “They get what’s going on,” Ruiter said of his office furniture clients, which these days include Haworth, Nucraft and izzydesign. “They’re sort of ahead of the ballgame, as far as pushing industries to move forward with the green processes and sustainable design. Great fashion, great products – they get it.”

Yet, like a human Slinky in a competitive game of Twister, Ruiter continues to stretch himself, bouncing between contract furniture work and other design challenges – primarily, he says, to keep himself entertained. “It’s hard to do boxes all day,” Ruiter deadpanned, referring to the foam core prototypes of modular office components that occupy vast chunks of his west side studio. never mind the fact that some of these “boxes” represent a quantum leap forward in the way executive office furniture suites function.

Practically everything Ruiter designs seems to advance an idea about improving the way that product’s end-user works, plays or lives. And no product illustrates that better than the watercraft Ruiter is designing for industry upstart A Boat Company. Last February at the Grand Rapids Boat Show at DeVos Place, the company debuted Ruiter’s Frontrunner – a dual engine watercraft reminiscent in concept to the pod racers from Episode I of the latest trilogy of the “Star Wars” films. The “wow” factor in a boat like the Frontrunner comes from its form, not the bells and whistles that tend to drive up the prices of conventional boats.

“Form and style and color – that’s all fashionable and free,” said Ruiter who grew up near the water in Grand Haven. “It’s the components that are expensive, so our goal is to break those down. … When you do that, you end up with a product that’s a lot simpler to make and is more likely sustainable.”

Other than the fact that they all float, Joey Ruiter-designed watercraft have little in common with conventional boat. In addition to the futuristic Frontrunner, which he classifies as a UFO (Unidentified Floating Object), he is working on a new class of slick runabouts powered by small airplane engines, and pontoon boats he calls platforms, which essencially are floating decks with customizable architecture and motors. Ruiter predicts that A Boat Company can make these basic platforms for a price that starts at $6,000 to $10,000. That would be a coup in an industry that has seen boat prices soar, driving would-be customers towards used boats.

“The public has caught on that most new boats are the same boats they were 15 years ago,” Ruiter said. “And they’re only $5,000 versus $70,000!”
Each class of boat he’s designed – UFOs, runabouts and platforms – attempts to be something special for the boaters.
“I guess I’m just interested in inspiring people around the products that I make,” Ruiter said. “People ask me what I do, and it’s sort of hard to answer that, because at the end of the day I make objects – but I feel I make experiences.”

Jruiter in the house

When he’s not meeting the high demands of the office furniture industry or shaking up the boating world, Joey Ruiter makes bird houses.
Even though his growing list of clients leaves him little time for spec work, Ruiter still manages to create whimsical objects d’art when ever he finds a moment.
He sometimes imposes arbitrary deadlines on himself for these creations. For Festival of the Arts last year, for example, he entered an ornate squirrel feeder in the Regional Arts Exhibition.
“ I need to leave room for myself to sort of create without any boundaries,” he said.
But that doesn’t mean sacrificing a commitment to sustainability. By sticking to 100 percent recyclable materials and simple manufacturing processes, Ruiter’s home and backyard accessories deliver style and conscience.
“For me, there’s really no purpose in the world for some of the things we surround ourselves with, so we shouldn’t wreck the world trying to make them,” Ruiter commented. “They’re just temporary fashion, but this is the type of stuff that big retailers will do whatever it takes to get out as cheaply as possible.” – Curt Wozniak

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dog house

dog house | Nov 2007

bent steel with 2” removable pad

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Illustreret Videnskab | Nov 2007

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Popular Science | Nov 2007

The Aquatic Pod-Racer

A passerby recently asked Joey Ruiter where he found his aluminum-encased Star Wars pod-racer look-alike. “It’s from the future,” Ruiter replied. Apparently convinced the woman nodded and walked away.
A lifelong boater, Ruiter believes that manufacturers focus too much on creature comforts, at the expense of the the driving experience and environmental concerns. So the Grand Rapids, Michigan, product designer decided to try to create a scaled-down recreational boat that would handle like a small twin-engine airplane and could maneuver into hard-to-reach places typical cruisers can’t go. He stripped down two jet skis, built a cockpit, and worked with a local dune buggy shop to construct the frame that holds his 18-foot-long prototype together. For the three main sections, he cut and formed shells from aluminum, instead of fiberglass.
With no external propeller, the boat can run in as little as five inches of water. It’s green too, since Ruiter used all recyclable materials. Now he’s building a retractable hydrofoil, which would crank the top speed from an estimated 45 mph to over 65. – Gregory Mone

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DeIngeniuer Technologietijdscrift | Sep 2007

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3 Rms, Lk Vu | Jun 2007

The first goal of the 3 Rms, Lk Vu concept was to create an inspiring living environment that jettisoned old ideas about what a “pontoon boat” should be. This is a study in creating small interior spaces for the exterior environment: how a comfortable boat on the water can offer a variety of spaces for dining, entertainment, relaxing, and cruising.

The second goal was to bring an up-to-date residential furniture perspective to a boating environment.

3 Rms, Lk Vu is part apartment, part outdoor living space, part family room. It includes a kitchen/dining space, a living room area, and a “basking deck” complete with fireplace pit and teak floor. The deck is ideal for practically any activity under the sun, from swimming, sunbathing or picnicking during the day, to sunset cruising or stargazing during the evening. Its varied spaces give users more freedom to use the boat on their own terms.

The boat’s defined spaces work equally well for small groups or one large gathering, and offer varied seating choices. The living room space is a welcoming space positioned amidship –a step down from the dining and deck areas– and integrates the two ends of the boat. The residential furniture aesthetics suggest actions to users: mingle, relax, move about, gather, adapt the spaces to your activity.

Traditional needs for a water craft are not ignored, but are designed to be both more efficient, and inspire and comfort boat users: Partitions above the main sidewalls protect from the wind, but they’re translucent and provide light and visibility. The dining area’s canopy is peaked, echoing a house roof, shedding rain and offering shade. Safety equipment is stowed, yet visually apparent and easily accessed. A full-length bumper rail is quietly integrated into the hull Typically unused space here becomes storage area. The pilot’s space for operating the boat has also been reconsidered. The controls and seat are positioned near the center of the boat, bringing the captain into the conversation.


The new concepts here are simple, low cost, and easy to manufacture. Yet the boat uses space in new ways to create more opportunities for people to interact with sun, wind, and water, as well as with each other. Space is also used in new ways for equipment and storage. Finally, the residential aesthetic offers a new take on comfort and convenience.

3 Rms, Lk Vu speaks to my design philosophy: the design process is less about creating a product than it is about creating a person’s experience with the product. I see people using 3 Rms, Lk Vu as an efficiency apartment floating on the water: entertaining, cruising with family or friends, fishing, enjoying a sunset by the fire, dining –with many ways to move about the boat to find a space that works just right.

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the thousand dollar club. | Jun 2007

1957 Wagemaker and 1958 Evinrude Lark 35
Could an inexpensive boat that is light-weight to tow, easy to use, very durable, and great to look at, be less than $1000? It turns out yes. Just add 10hrs of polishing, a little paint, new seat covers, and a vintage in-dash eight track player. (some assembly required)

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intersection, land, air & sea | Jun 2007

The Aquatic Front Runner

When Joey Ruiter’s not working on furniture, designing art or turning Alfa Romeos, he;s thinking about how we travel on the ocean. “I grew up in a beach community in Michigan. I’ve done everything stupid there is to do on the water. I simply wanted to do more.” His Front Runner was the solution. “When we were thinking how to design a new type of boat, we approached it from the point of what do we want to do. Personally, I want to go fast, but have lots of control like an airplane. I want to be able to pack a bag and go on an adventure where I may hit stuff, rocks or logs, and not have to worry. We then figured out how to do all that.” the pod-racer design seems to fulfill his wildest desires. With 450 hp delivered from twin jet engines tethered to the body like horses to a chariot, the Runner can certainly haul. It has a complicated foot pedal steering system that allows for changes in pitch, bank, heading, and the flat bottomed hull and hydrofoil allow for close to zero drag as well as the ability to go over things a curved hull couldn’t. It’s what all suburbanite fathers have been waiting for, an SUV for the water. – Frank Hentic

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nucraft, moment | Jun 2007

Moment, a collection of contemporary occasional tables, benches and consoles. The collection incorporates mitered corner joints for crisp, straight lines on the top and outer edges that contrast with soft curves on the underside, creating a dynamic visual interplay. The signature element of the tables and consoles is a back-painted ½”-thick glass top featuring optically clear glass to allow the true color of the painted underside to shine through.

“The Moment collection was designed to blend the natural warmth of wood with the bold, reflective nature of glass for a unique, contemporary aesthetic,” says Joey Ruiter, designer of the Moment collection. “The piece began by incorporating soft curves on the undersides of the support structure, reminiscent of the curves found in turned or hand-carved furniture, and combining that with crisp, straight edges on all outer surfaces. When combined with the shimmer of the back-painted glass, the end result really pops!”

Moment’s breadth of offering provides solutions for a wide range of needs. The Moment collection of tables are available in square and rectangle shapes in two heights, providing a simple yet flexible offering suitable for most settings. The Consoles feature an adjustable glass shelf and two storage cabinets, which make them a perfect solution for anything from food service to technology accommodation. Finally, the bench offering includes a large Island bench designed to accommodate multiple users in a single piece. Individual cushions and an optional power & data device in the center of the Island bench offer both aesthetical and functional flexibility.

Nucraft quality sets Moment apart.
Moment’s handcrafted artistry is enhanced by Nucraft’s modern high-quality manufacturing processes, which are used to produce fine wood furniture. The product meets or exceeds BIFMA durability standards and is backed by Nucraft’s 10-year warranty.

“Moment is a very progressive contemporary design while being both elegant and timeless,” says Bob Bockheim, Nucraft’s President and Chief Operating Officer. “The combination of soft curves and sharp, clean lines in the wood pieces creates a simple, minimalist structure that can work well in a variety of settings. When you add the iridescent qualities of the back- painted glass, the result is very striking. This product was designed specifically for customers who appreciate a mix of materials in clean, contemporary forms.”

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Grand Rapids Magazine | Jun 2007

Nucraft Design, Strategy

Tapping deign talent both locally and nationally set Nucraft up for an exciting product launches at NeoCon 2007.
Based in Comstock Park, the company tapped Grand Rapids designer Joey Ruiter for a new occasional table, bench and console collectively called Moment.
The handsome, well-scaled pieces may expand into a larger line for Nucraft in the future.
For View, a new occasional table, Nucraft turned again to well known NewYork designer Mark Goetz, whose designs for Nucraft’s Shine table won a Silver Best on NeoCon Award in 2006. Nucraft president Bob Bockheim described View as “very contemporary, light in scale and right in line with the direction of the company.”
Nucraft also plans to launch strategic expansions of its Saber conference collection by West Michigan designer Mitch Baker, and its Aerial line of casegoods. Saber will take on a more environmentally friendly focus through increased recycled content and the possible addition of rapidly renewable or Forest Stewardship Council-certified woods as an option. Aerial will offer a customized solution in response to the specific office needs of the legal profession.

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