Internationally renowned industrial designer Jurgen Bey was born in Soest, the Netherlands in 1965. From 1984 to 1989, he studied design at the Design Academy in Eindhoven.
Considered to be a representative of the Critical Design movement, Bey advocates challenging popular design conceptions in order to understand them and the world, an idea he addressed at the Never Mind the Mainstream conference held by the Vitra Design Museum and Premsela at Milan's Triennale Design Museum in 2012.
Bey’s vast body of work comprises furniture design, product design, and interior and public space design. Important designs include the Kokon Furniture Series (2000), which consists of various tables and chairs held together—with the appearance of one piece melting into the other—by white elastic synthetic fiber, forming an entirely new object; the Treetrunk Bench (1999), which also reimagines a seating object, though with a completely different aesthetic; the Ear Chair (2001), which does what omnipresent earphones can never fully achieve—a defined and private personal space; and the St. Petersburg Chair (2003) for Droog, which rejuvenates an antique chair by coating it in brightly colored fiberglass strengthened polyester. Bey’s designs have been produced by several international brands including Royal Tichelaar Makkum and Moooi Proof, and his products and installations, including the Treetrunk Bench and the Ear Chair, are part of a permament exhibition at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht.
In 2002, Bey cofounded Studio Makkink & Bey, where together with architect Rianne Makkink (b. 1964), Bey continues to design products with the modernist concept of form follows function within architecture and urban planning. Throughout his career, Bey had participated in numerous public projects and museum exhibitions, and Studio Makkink & Bey has been the recipient of several design awards including the Lensvelt interior award in 2003, the Prince Bernhard Culture Fund in 2005, Woonbeurspin in 2008, and was nominated for the ARC16 award for furniture designed for the European Council in Brussels.
Jurgen Bey is currently director of the Sandberg Institute at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam.