Kyldo: Brighten up with aluminium
Text: Bas Van Duren | Photos: Kyldo Art & Design
When Dutchman Fred van Luipen discovered aluminium art back when he used to live in the Dominican Republic, he might not have foreseen the success it would bring by selling it in the Netherlands, but seven years after opening up his first shop, there are now six Kyldo stores. Five of them are based in the Netherlands (Naaldwijk, Spijkenisse, The Hague, Veenendaal and Oegstgeest), one in Hamburg, all specialising in predominantly aluminium art, while also offering a wide array of glass objects, vases, lamps, clocks and sculptures. Pieces that can really liven up any room, whether it’s at home or in an office space.
It’s chilly, but that doesn’t stop people from shopping outside in Naaldwijk, a city just a stone’s throw away from The Hague. Those longing for a bit more warmth can find theirs at indoor shopping centre ‘De Tuinen’ where one’s attention is easily drawn by the vibrant colours that radiate from Kyldo Art & Design. A man who can’t be older than 25 enters the shop to buy a small but sweet statue of a dog and can’t help but comment on how much he enjoys everything that’s on display. It’s music to the ears of Fred van Luipen. “We’ve done market research to get some kind of grasp on what kind of customer our art attracts and although we thought it’d be in the age category of 35 to 50, we learned we really can’t put a label on it, as we get birds of different feathers, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.”
The ‘we’ Van Luipen refers to, is the core group of Kyldo that started out with him, two friends and two in-laws, who accumulated some additional entrepreneurs along the way. All of them create their own designs for the aluminium wall art that’s on sale, send said designs to workshops throughout the world and have the results back within a few months. Van Luipen: “It’s a process that involves using grinding wheels and brushes on a thin aluminium plate. That creates depth. By using airbrushes and paint for the finish, you get the spectacle that is the end result. We get inspiration from existing designs, things we see on the internet and hold meetings with our team to decide who we send the ideas to. It’s even possible to have your own design made, provided it’s doable with the tools that are necessary for aluminium art. We’ve decorated offices, as well, such as Royal Dutch Shell in The Hague, and we’ve been featured in a Dutch lifestyle television show.”
Kyldo’s slogan is ‘new art with old-fashioned service’, and that’s no exaggeration, as the store provides the option to test their art out. Van Luipen: “We fully understand that a piece might look good in the store, but it has to match with the setting. That’s why we go out of our way to visit people at home with some selected works to try out. We don’t mind if that’s in the evening and don’t charge travel costs or any other hidden fees. If the work matches, we can do the sale right there and if not, which rarely happens, that is okay. We are often recommended to others and that is still one of the best ways to get our name across.
“We really do our best to bond with our customers, writing handwritten Christmas cards instead of standard ones.” He grins: “That did cost me quite a lot of time, but it’s worth it.”
Offering more than just aluminium art, all the other, smaller decorations on sale are items that Kyldo added at a later stage. Van Luipen smiles: “Back in the beginning when we sold just aluminium art, some people actually thought we were a gallery and asked how much the entrance fee would cost. But we did realise that we needed something that was a bit more accessible for everyday shoppers. Take this mall for example; people could be shopping for jeans, stop here along the way and leave with something small while admiring the aluminium works. Those decorations are from outside labels, curated by the Kyldo team and we make sure they’re unique to the region.” Asked if Kyldo wants to sell decorations under their own flag, Van Luipen replies: ‘We have been playing around with the idea of having decorations with the Kyldo brand, but there’s a lot to take account of. What we’re focusing on right now isn’t growth, but upping the quality even more across the board. If there’s a space in your home or office that feels empty, and our art can fill that gap, we’re more than happy to help.”
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