Karres en Brands

Since 1997 Karres en Brands has worked on diverse projects, studies and competitions, both at home and abroad. Our work encompasses every scale of spatial design, from area strategies and infrastructural projects to parks and gardens, and from urban planning assignments to product design. With this we rely on our enthusiasm and craftsmanship, and we continuously broaden our outlook towards developing appropriate and innovative responses to the challenges of today.

With a view to a sustainable, comfortable and healthy living environment – now and in the future – we envision important undertakings in design. Challenges such as climate change, energy issues and demographic developments require a smart and thoughtful approach. The trick is to not generate fixed conceptions, but rather to create powerful conditions and to leave room for spontaneity. A plan is only flexible and sustainable if its spatial quality does not suffer changes in programme and design. We make plans with a robust structure in which space is given to natural and human processes.

Because of today’s economic conditions, a new age has dawned for landscape architects and urban planners. Spatial programmes have become uncertain. This new time results in a changing role for the designer, wherein a strategic and initiating attitude is important – we operate in this respect increasingly as director. Proactively, we commit ourselves not only to the product, but also to guiding the steps in the process, which is crucial: we formulate and schedule urgent tasks. In doing so, we work with architects, artists, sociologists, ecologists and engineers, among others. Our bureau is a cross-disciplinary, network-centric organisation.

A successful plan begins with a clear idea that has the opportunity to grow during the planning process. Its success is in part determined by the exploration and careful consideration of alternatives. In this way, the actual task becomes clear. With an eye for results, our designs evolve in a cyclical manner. Our work is characterised by a balance between common sense, intuition and maximum creativity. We are curious, and open ourselves to further development and inspi-ration. This leads to an enrichment of our plans.

History is an indispensable aspect of our work. Our experience is a rich source from which we can rediscover and learn. Making use of history, however, does not automatically lead to historicising design – reinterpretation is often the key to an engaging transformation. Our designs do justice to past and present, and themselves form the basis for a new future. This makes our projects layered and extraordinary.

Our projects are not only based on strong spatial concepts, but are also achievable and carefully detailed. In this sense, we do not disregard the everyday and the essence of our profession: beauty and the spatial perception of a place. Well-balanced design can reveal hidden qualities in the landscape. With our projects we add new layers to the landscape; contemporary and recognisable.
Our commitment is based on the belief that through our projects we can make a contribution to an attractive, healthy and sustainable environment, now and later. We create designs with a powerful identity, strongly related to the specific context, but also resilient and open enough to respond to uncertain futures, without loss of clarity and hierarchy.
We see asking questions and giving insight as the basis of the design process. Our plans develop in close dialogue with the client and society. Our role, therefore, is never explicit, but instead based on customisation and a balance between control and participation. We are passionate builders, and contribute to the success of a plan together with good patronage.

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