Jelle Mastenbroek | Glassworks

Status, happiness, privacy, and the role of money and banks. With his objects and installations, Jelle Mastenbroek (1988) addresses social topics. He wants to make people think, in a surprising way and with a touch of humor.

Bach music

Glassworks is the title of the installation by Jelle Mastenbroek in the pilot store of ING in Amstelveen. It is a transparent cabinet that resembles a vending machine, but instead of candy or bottles of liquor we see a glass staircase. If you slide a euro into the slot, you’ll hear music as the coin rolls down the glass stairway and finally into the box ‘money back’. In the office of ABN-AMRO at the Vestdijk in Eindhoven we find a similar installation called Money Back Guarantee No. 2. Here you can hear Bach music while the euro coins dances down across the metal stairway.

"Installations that make you think, with a touch of humour."

Jelle Mastenbroek

Money back

This idea began with a question during a project at the Design Academy Eindhoven: think of a way to improve the quality of life without making use of money. Mastenbroek created a cupboard full of hanging porcelain cups, cans, saucers and plates that allowed a coin to produce happy tones on the way down. This Splendor Lender made fun, and you also got your money back. “Money is important for many people, it provides property and status. It has become a goal, while it is actually only an instrument,” explains Jelle Mastenbroek. “I want to make people aware of this, but with a wink.”


To address social themes in a surprising way, with a great amount of humor. That is the trademark of Mastenbroek. “I don’t have the intention to create products for a certain use. I prefer to design objects and installations with a story based on my own wonder, without a clear solution.”

Also in the details of the elaboration of such a story lies much of his amazement. “I'm not just doing something. How does glass, wood, metal, porcelain sound? How do I get it working? Those questions fascinate me, make me do extensive research. And I work together with specialists because I'm not a musician or composer myself. The music is composed, it’s not just a random sound.”

Shared workshop

Mastenbroek was born in the north of Holland and spent a year at art academy Minerva in Groningen before starting at Design Academy in Eindhoven. He is happy in Eindhoven. “The industrial manufacturing industry is widely represented here and working places are affordable.”

Mastenbroek has his studio at Section C, being part of a group of 15 creatives that call themselves Collaboration-O. They share a workshop with machines and tools, and sometimes work together in projects. “I’m lucky to have been here during my study time. Such a workplace is worth its weight in gold. We reinforce and motivate each other and use each other's network.” In addition, Section C houses several companies that produce parts for Mastenbroek, for example for his commercial version of the Money Socks design. From that autonomous project he created a kind of building financed with the scholarship that he received after graduation. “In that way you can create financial space to develop new work without worries.”

Driving license, debit card or credit card

Currently, the issue of Big Data and privacy keeps him busy. In 2016 he presented the Data Orchestra installation during the Salone Del Mobile in Milan and the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven. In a living room setting there is a scanner where visitors can show a driver’s license, debit card or credit card. Based on personal information, all kinds of objects start to perform a living room concert. But not everyone realizes what he or she has just given away….

Jelle Mastenbroek is the designer of Glassworks. This installation provided him with a Design Award for best technology in Milan.