matter .of material - extraordinary objects for extraordinary people

matter .of material is an online store for design and art objects, curated by Arne Leliveld. For 5 years matter .of material was a physical store in Amsterdam. Today, Arne’s style and taste can be found in the webshop, during pop-ups or exhibitions and collections of others. Mr Hudson speaks to Arne about his vision for matter .of material and some of his favourite places.

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Tell us about yourself

I studied Architectural design in art school. Made a sidestep towards theater and acting. And later I naturally came back to design. Not as a maker but as a retailer. I love to be in the area between the customer and the designer. Opening my own store was the best position for this. I learned the importance of the delicate balance of commerce and creativity. Now, with matter .of material being an online-only shop, I can focus on curating collections for other shops and exhibitions as well.

matter of material Arne Leliveld

Arne Leliveld

“Slowly my collection grew and evolved into a place for design, art and extraordinary gifts”

What made you open matter .of material?

In 2014 I started to develop a shop collection around design label t.e. (Thomas Eyck). I am a big fan of his choices and the quality of the objects. I wanted to present this entire collection and show this beauty. Slowly my collection grew and evolved into a place for design, art and extraordinary gifts.

What does the matter .of material brand stand for?

Initially, obviously, the material of an item was important. Meaning the way a designer uses the characteristics of a certain material. But I want to focus on objects where the material or a technical or traditional part is even leading the designer developing an idea. This is vague, I know. Curating is also very personal.

Amsterdam Canals

Photo: Bruno van der Kraan

What makes matter .of material special?

I think the fact that all items show the attention they got when made or designed. There is no ‘fast and easy’. They are mainly made on a smaller scale, by hand and with care. We offer no mainstream hits.

What is your best-selling product?

The latest addition to the collection is a huge hit right away; the hand-painted oysters. It’s a good-natured, simple and clever piece of art. Important for me is the combination of the shell as a canvas and the detailed quality of the delft blue decoration.

How do you keep up with changing customer expectations?

I don’t. It would be clever commercially to do that, but I can only rely on my gut feelings when it comes to curating my collection. Nevertheless, I am taking all kinds of external influences with this gut feeling to be at least realistic. My main goal for a shop collection is to surprise people with items they don’t know or show known things in a different perspective.

What makes Amsterdam such a great destination?

For a small city, Amsterdam offers a variety of contradictory experiences; such as high-end shopping and an offer of boring mainstream, sleazy drugs and prostitution in the heart of the beautiful old centre; the Rijksmuseum and dance festivals; the peacefull canals with the angry locals on bikes. That makes it confusing as well as exiting at the same time.


Photo: Adrien Olichon

What are some of your favourite places in Amsterdam that people need to know about?

Don’t miss the Westergasfabriek. It offers everything; from a walk in a contemporary park to a great night out in a magnificent industrial building such as the Gashouder. Shop at the Frozen Fountain. It showcases the best of what Dutch furniture design has to offer, and more. And walk around on Prinseneiland or the Hortus Botanicus. I love it.

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