Richard Niessen

"Richard Niessen graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam in 1996. He has mostly worked alone, but from 1999 to 2002 he worked with designer Harmen Liemburg under the name ‘GoldenMasters’. Niessen is also a musician, and designed the packaging, typography and artwork for each of the albums by his band the Howtoplays. Inspired by the likes of Ettore Sottsass (founder of the Memphis group) and the Scottish-Italian sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi, artists that similarly seek out the tension between structure and going overboard, Niessen developed his own systematic approach to design. He chose the name Typographic Masonry (TM) in 2002, after hearing the term used to describe the work of one of his major influences, Dutch designer and architect Hendrik Th. Wijdeveld.

Richard Niessen's work is systematic, grid-like, readable and usable, as much as it is rich in form, shape and colour. Niessen gives projects a distinct language, a secret vocabulary that makes each piece stand out. His consistent oeuvre echoes the seamless integration of typography, calligraphy, imagery and text found in Byzantine and Medieval illuminated manuscripts. Where functionalist design ends, Niessen begins. He has designed the building blocks and the system; but his work comes to life when Niessen starts building with the modular elements. He can stack them, paste them together, roll them up, fold them in, embed secret messages, and layer the elements until the system itself unfolds into a rich mosaic."(Text by Sabine Niederer)

Contact information

  • Richard Niessen