Powerhouse Company

Designer Profile: Nanne de Ru, Founder of Powerhouse Company

Name: Nanne de RuPowerhouse Company

Company: Powerhouse Company

Position within company: Founder

Website: www.powerhouse-company.com

Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)
Nanne de Ru (1976, The Netherlands), founding partner of Powerhouse Company and have headed up the Rotterdam office since its opening in 2005. Holding a Master of Excellence in Architecture from The Berlage, where I graduated in 2002, as well as a Bachelor of Architectural Engineering from the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, which I completed in 1998.

In addition to running a global architecture practice, I also teach and lecture on architecture and design. Between 2013 and 2016, I was director of The Berlage Centre for Advanced Studies in Architecture and Urban Design in Delft. I regularly teach at the Rotterdam Academy of Architecture and am frequently invited as a visiting professor at schools including Aarhus University in Denmark, the AHO Oslo School of Architecture and Design in Norway, and at TU Delft and the Design Academy Eindhoven, both in the Netherlands. My work takes me across the world, from Santiago to Shenzhen.

In 2015, I co-founded RED Company with Niels Jansen in order to explore new ways of commissioning and developing architecture.

I founded Powerhouse Company because I wanted to create a team of outstanding professionals – a real powerhouse that would create next-level architecture. I’m proud that we have grown into an international office with the ability to work on an exceptionally wide range of projects, from interiors to train stations and from villas to high rises. We have grown steadily, boosted by the trust that our amazing clients place in our services.

In the office what I find most gratifying is the talent of our incredible people and the wonderful times we have with our clients when we’re working together on projects.

The thing I enjoy most about my job is working with our fantastic clients and architects and engineers. The reason I chose this profession is because I wanted to create meaningful spaces, in which the sum of all the component parts add up to more than all the individual elements.

My top prediction for architecture and engineering in the future is that they will continue to be of crucial value for the development of our cities. In particular, inner-city redevelopment projects need architects as team players and visionary leaders.

How would you describe your personal design style?
We are excited about the modernist architecture legacy, while at the same time we appreciate the timeless qualities that classical architecture can deliver. So perhaps ‘modern classic’ would be a good way to describe our style.

Where does your design inspiration come from?
There are many but I would always mention Eero Saarinen, Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright. For interiors I would mention Jean Michel Franck and Philip Starck.

In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
Internet and social media have radically altered the way the larger public sees and ‘consumes’ architecture. In general, you could say that the visual and aesthetic qualities of architecture are becoming more and more dominant where qualities such as ‘iconic’ and ‘immersive’ are increasingly important. Parallel to the visual world, architecture and interior architecture have to be increasingly effect driven and ‘hi-resolution’.

Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2020 and beyond.
Texture, light, timelessness, structure and honesty.

If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?
More than ever the end-user’s experience is key. So, whatever you design, it has to perform functionally while looking fantastic.

How important are The International Design & Architecture Awards?

Very important.

What projects are you currently working on?

A very wide range, from interiors tot towers, from offices to schools.

What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?

Deliver and design amazing projects for outstanding clients.

Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations:

Your most treasured possession?

My wedding ring

Your favourite holiday destination?


Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar?

hotel: Alila Oman, restaurant: Librye, Zwolle, The Netherlands, bar: Hensepeter, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Your favourite book, film & song?

Book: Barkskins by Anne Proulx, Film: Pulp Fiction, Song: too many to mention

Your favourite food and drink?

Food: fresh fish, Drink:  slightly chilled Pinot Noir

Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?

With the family at the Feyenoord stadium

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?

Real Estate Developer

Powerhouse Company have been Shortlisted for City Space – Global Award in The International Design & Architecture Awards 2020. 

design et al only work with the world’s leading designers.

If you think you have what it takes to complete in The International Design & Architecture Awards, submit your application by clicking here.

How to Apply The Categories