There are quite a few things we find impressive about Simone Vingerhoets-Ziesmann. Let’s start with the obvious: As the top executive of Artek USA Inc., the Finnish-based furniture company cofounded by Alvar Aalto, she’s helped revitalize a classic brand and made it modern and relevant for ongoing generations. She’s also managed to seamlessly integrate her aesthetic sensibility into the Brooklyn two-story home of her young family—we’re talking a custom bunk bed, conceptual pendant lights, and a wall sculpture by the Campana Brothers (visible in the family portrait above). And given that both she and her husband work in the design industry (Jan Vingerhoets is CEO of FLOS USA), it’s refreshing to read about how her kids really use those designer pieces. Oh, and also? She’s a triathlete. So for all those parents (myself included) who—at the end of a busy day or the pre-dawn start of another action-packed one—mutter to themselves, There’s no way I can make it to the gym: Simone Vingerhoets-Ziesmann, you are a true inspiration. Below, a bit of insight into her world.
Tell us about your family.
My daughter, Malou, is five years old—a bright and ambitious young lady who knows exactly what she wants. At the same time she cares deeply about other people and looks after them, especially her little brother, Kaleo. Malou is athletic and interested in any kind of music and dance. Kaleo, our son, is 19 months old and an absolute sweetheart. Very affectionate, likes to cuddle, enjoys life and curiously explores every angle around him. He loves animals—reading books about them, seeing them in the zoo, or just hearing their voices. Feeding and caring for our cats brings him pleasure.
What is your favorite family-friendly feature in your Brooklyn home?
Our home is warm and welcoming to visitors. We like to entertain. We live in a loft; everything is open and fluid. The kitchen/living room is our favorite area to spend time in, playing or listening to music.
Given that both you and your husband work in the design industry, what is the difference between your previous home as non-parents, and your current home?
The minimalist loft is now filled with toys and color. We were able to find designer furniture in miniature kids’ versions from Moroso and B&B Italia. The kids learned to live with the unusual furniture. They especially love using the Eames La Chaise as a slide. Our son learned to walk by pushing an Artek stool 60 around the room!
Which Artek products do you use regularly in your home?
We use a lot of Stool 60s and E60s around the house. We love lounging in the Paimio chair (another well-engineered kids’ slide!) and enjoy sitting on the K65 bar stools at the kitchen counter.
How have you integrated work and fitness into your home?
[The dual desks by the staircase, seen below] serve as our office area. The bookshelf is by Vitsoe and has moved with us a few times. It’s such a great versatile system. The bike racks [in the home gym, also below] were custom-made by a friend. A lot of mileage is left behind in this room!
How has good design made your life easier?
It’s comforting and brings balance and harmony to our life. We share the same values of sustainability, craftsmanship, and history of these brands. They have been around for decades—some almost centuries. It’s about trust; you can rely on their quality.