Marike and Ferdinand Conquer the World of Lighting

Sjeiks in Qatar with lighting from Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht: They exist. Marike and Ferdinand Verbeek sell their light objects all over the world.

He is the brain behind the minimalistic, sustainable lighting designs that imitate the brightness of sunlight. She is the creative sidekick, who attends trade shows and maintains contacts. A strong duo, it turns out. In the past year, the profit of their company FERROLIGHT Design has doubled and the number of employees increased from two to six. Last Wednesday, the two opened their very own studio and showroom located on Noordeinde 97, in Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht. What’s their secret? “Being yourself, determination and following your heart.”

Twenty years ago, the couple would never have thought that light would become their source of income. Both Marike and Ferdinand previously worked in the hospitality industry. She graduated from Hotel School; he ran a discotheque and was a DJ. In 1999, a friend asked them to help with the layout of his store. “Can you not make a lamp for me?” The friend asked Ferdinand. It turned out to be an instant hit. His first design, a modern chandelier, the ‘sputnik’, and was immediately sold several more times.

Shelter

The bike shed served as a workplace. “There was no room anymore for the bikes, so we put them outside, under a roof” Marike remembers. Ferdinand went to work with designs, while Marike initially continued to work. Very quickly, the bike shed became too small and the couple decided to take the plunge together. They started their own company in 1999 and built a studio at home. “There were difficult times. We didn’t have a fixed income. I visited ten stores in a week to show our products” says Marike

But quality always finds its way to the surface. The FERROLIGHT Design collection is sold nationally and internationally by 85 dealers throughout the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, United States and Canada. The light objects have also aroused the interest of Sheikhs in Abu Dhabi and Qatar. “For example, we have been asked if we can adapt special gold into the design. The products are then transported very carefully” explains Marike. “It is always a bit unsettling as to whether the package arrives undamaged at its destination” Ferdinand adds. They cannot reveal any details regarding the identity of their wealthy buyers. Marike: “Sometimes we get a name through and I Google it. But we have a duty of confidentiality.”

After years of working in the studio on the Dorpsstraat, the house felt less and less like home. “I wouldn’t say it was inconvenient, but with a business at home, you miss a bit of privacy” says Marike. In the middle of October, the couple was offered a building by Philip Vellekoop located on the business park of Antoniapolder, and it was exactly to their liking. A month and a half later, the studio was ready. In the presence of family, friends and business relations of the duo, Alderman Floor van de Velde (sustainability) officially opened the building. The light objects are assembled in the studio and on the top floor there is a showroom, where almost all light objects of FERROLIGHT Design are available to be admired.

Read further below the photo.

Het nieuwe atelier werd afgelopen woensdag geopend.

The new studio was officially opened on Wednesday November 29th.         © Milan Rinck

Whoever admires the products of FERROLIGHT Design sees clean, minimalist designs, without too much ‘fuss’. Beautiful light, that’s what Ferdinand’s designs are all about. “I sometimes compare it with a Christmas tree; which is fun for a month, but after that you’re happy when it leaves the house again. Our designs, on the other hand, do not possess anything that you can get bored of in the long run. Other than their beauty, they don’t attract attention or create an obstacle in the interior.”

His goal is to achieve a light with a color-rendering index (CRI) of 100 percent, just as sunlight. Sunlight has a complete color spectrum. “Sunlight is the most beautiful light we have” says Marike and Ferdinand. Thanks to new developments, artificial light is improving and is ever closing towards those perfect values. At the moment there is already a LED with a CRI of 98. Which still leaves a nice challenge for lighting designers.

Marike and Ferdinand not only have a special goal in their work, but also in private: “It’s our dream to have a house in the sun.” Their dream destination is Ibiza. They celebrated their honeymoon there twenty years ago and often return with their four children. There is a special vibe on that island. It is full of creativity, artists and spirituality”, says Marike. The family hopes to be able to fulfill this dream in 2020.