Bob Manders is an architect who combines a sensitive understanding of the past with a passion for innovation. He draws on the very best from his own Dutch heritage – an appreciation of Rembrandt’s use of light, for instance – and fuses it with the sound architectural principles of acknowledged masters from Vitruvius to Le Corbusier, adding along the way his own unique approach. The result? Unpredictable yet harmonious spaces that are at home anywhere in the world. 

Bob Manders grew up in the province of Brabant in The Netherlands, the only son of two loving parents, both of whom worked hard in the family interior decorating business.

After finishing high school, Manders moved to The Hague to study architecture at the Technical University of Delft. Manders’ interest in the all-inclusive architecture of the living environment soon became apparent; he developed a strong fascination for the integration of qualitative architecture with interior design, landscaping and urban development, as well as the integration of all the necessary facets of a building with aesthetically valid architecture, achieved through innovative and detailled planning.

Responsive Systems

After graduating with honors - his graduation project was the design of an estate for an innovative consortium in Spain - Manders was accepted by the Architectural Association in London. There, Manders continued work on the conceptual disciplines begun in Delft. His main focus was on changeability and mobility in architecture -which at that time he saw as fairly static - and the development of his ‘responsive systems’. Bob Manders’ appreciation for the work of such architects as Zaha Hadid and Pawson-Silvestrin can be seen in the work he did at this school, at which these architects preceded him.

In Manders’ first Book he presents his vision on architecture and life. With the help of photographs it quickly becomes clear that Manders looks further than the normal eye would see: his minimalist structures are not bare, but in fact enriched by a focus on aspects that the users at first appears illogical. A building or structure may look perfectly simple, until you see that there is no pillar precisely where you would expect one to be. A room may look empty, until a pivoting wall turns it into a practical space with a huge (enticing) bookcase along one wall, and a comfortable sofa along the other. You may ask yourself why a white wall is entirely void of artwork or paintings, until sunlight shining through a skylight or reflected from a grappling pond paints its own tableau on this same wall. Hidden beauty, subdued passion: that is what Manders’ work is all about.

No solo arquitectura

’No solo arquitectura’ has long been Manders working title of his first book, since Manders realized that the message he wanted to share with people through his book was : ‘Look further than you are used to’ and: ‘live, perceive and enjoy the utmost’.  

Unfortunately a book is a medium that only reveals fragments of the overall experience. Fragments of a building, fragments of a celebration. A film would be better in this sense, or even ‘fragrance tv’. But nothing surpasses actually visiting a place or experiencing an event. In this age of pictures and internet, many people no longer remember that they have 6 senses  of which they only use 3 or 4 consistently.

Manders wants to provoke the sense of sight, taste, touch, hearing and balance. His maxim is to ‘exert every muscle from head to toe; and then push beyond that’, but applied in the wider sense of architecture, nature and life.

Manders first book is not only in English, not only in Dutch or Spanish. It does not deal only with architecture, and not only with odds and ends. It’s not about everything, but about all kind of things. It’s about a reinforced cohesion: about synergy.