The Flying Dutch By Sarah Maluf Even before arriving at their final destination, passengers flying KLM can already glimpse a bit of Dutch culture on board. Established in 1919, the airline reflects the innovative Dutch design and technology as well as Dutch traditions in every service, environment and even in the staff uniforms. The airline, which has been operating in Brazil for 63 years, sought out brainpower and ideas in their homeland to combine innovation and pragmatism, making use of cutting edge technology to understand and meet client needs. In business class, for instance, details ranging from the silverware to flight attendant uniforms have been designed so that each passenger feels at home and a little bit closer to the Dutch way of life and customs. Flight attendant uniforms have recently been revamped by designer Mart Visser, who opted to maintain the classic blue color, but created a more modern, practical and comfortable design. And KLM is ahead of the curve even when it comes to renovating their look. They recycled all of the fabric from the old uniforms, setting an excellent example that it is possible to innovate without forsaking the environment. In the capable hands of yet another Dutchman, Marcel Wander – one of the most well regarded designers in the world, and recipient of New York MoMa’s “Visionary!” Award – comes the stylized silverware, which perfectly mirror the airline’s new look and attitude. The idea behind the dinnerware, glasses and silverware, which are also eco-friendly, is to give passengers the same satisfaction they get from a fine dining experience, making each passenger a guest. To match the exclusively designed pieces, the meals themselves have also been given special attention by experts in the matter. The three different menus served in business class were created by the duo Jonnie Boer and Thérèse, of the three Michelin star De Librije restaurant, in the city of Zwolle. Jonnie, who runs the kitchen, prepped the different dishes, which will be served in flight until September of 2011. Thérèse, Jonnie’s wife and the De Librije’s sommelier, hand picked fine wines to accompany each meal. Everything is thought out down to the smallest detail, and after a fine dinner served with designer silverware, passengers receive yet another gift from KLM to relax and enjoy their flight. During the trip, each one receives a small bag in different colors, for men or for women. Created by top designers Viktor & Rolf, the bags contain toothpaste, socks, an eye mask, earplugs, and for women, facial cream to diminish the effects of the flight on the skin. A new bag color will be released every six months, and a new design every year for the next four years. In all there will be sixteen different looks, which are sure to become collector’s items. Once again the airline sought out creative minds to develop an even more cutting edge identity. All of these innovations are happening with the idea that sustainability and innovation walk hand in hand always at the forefront. In 2009, the airline was the first in the world to perform biofuel tests for their aircraft, and is increasingly concerned in creating lighter services and products, which weigh less on the aircraft and consequently result in fewer emissions of CO2, one of the greenhouse gases. While they invest in the passenger’s wellbeing and in environmental preservation, the airline also makes use of new technologies to improve communication between the passenger and the services they offer. Great examples are the miniatures of typically Dutch buildings, which have already become a collector’s item among the most eager clients. Now they can be found as an iPod app called “KLM Houses”. You can discover the history behind each building and even find their location using Google Maps. And to guarantee that clients take flight alongside each innovation, the airline has decided to literally imprint onto their aircraft the profile of KLM passengers. A campaign called “Tile Yourself” created on Facebook motivates passengers to “tile” their pictures onto the KLM’s Facebook page. The idea has worked so well that more than 50 thousand people have already taken part in the campaign, and in July of this year, 5 thousand pictures are “taking off” on a Boeing 777-200, which will be ‘tiled’ with the faces of a chosen few.
Holland-à-Porter When the theme for this issue of the magazine was defined, the goal was to find modern Dutch DNA on Brazilian soil. An invasion that affects fashion and the pillars of this issue of ffwMAG!: cutting edge technology, design and sustainability. Immediately the name C&A came up. The Dutch brand that is part and parcel of the average Brazilian’s life thanks to a fast-fashion that was born long before any global trend and has very clear values of sustainability.
So much so that in 1999, they created their first sustainability report, garnering actions geared not only towards the environment but also to the well-being of their thousands of employees and society in general. But, before we advance further on the themes, let us rewind the tape of history and look at this brand whose antennas are tuned in to global style trends. Two brother from the city of Sneek, Clemens and August, combined their initials and in 1841 opened the first store with the concept of bringing ready made fashion to the public at large, launching what prêt-à-porter would only dream of doing much later. That is truly seeing far into the future, swimming against the current and thinking big, all precepts of imaginative creators (just so it doesn’t read cr/cr creative creators!) in Holland. In 1911, the group began its international expansion in Germany. Eleven years later, they descended upon England. Country by country (there are over 1.4 thousand units spread all over the world), they crossed the Atlantic in 1976, and were one of the novelties at the Ibirapuera Shopping, in São Paulo. In Brazil, the sixth largest textile producer in the world (the sector employs 1.65 million people), C&A found fertile and unexplored ground to grow, and even began to export ideas from here to the rest of the world. “Our investments in lines created by recognized fashion creators are already being studied by our colleagues in Holland and other countries,” says Elio França e Silva, the brand’s marketing director in Brazil. He welcomed us at the company’s headquarters in Alphaville, São Paulo, so we could talk about C&A’s sustainable projects. There are many actions involving sustainability, and they go far beyond water treatment, recycling or waste in general. They began in 2007 with the establishment of an environmental responsibility committee. The result was C&A Eco, a store built in Porto Alegre that places in practice sustainable actions. “As well as reducing 10% of our energy consumption and 40% water consumption, the buildings follow construction standards inspired by the international certificate Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, which is recognized worldwide”, explains França e Silva. The thing that most draws attention about the modern project? The 640 m2 green roof, the electronic waste collection, the solar panels, the use of paints with low amounts of toxic substances, the waste management program, etc. It is the chain’s second store, created in the mold of the one in Mainz, Germany, and the idea is that this action will sweep the country. “C&A Europe, according to the latest sustainability report released by Organic Exchange, is the biggest seller of organic cotton in the world and in Brazil the brand introduced a line of children’s clothing with mechanical and chemical safety standards, unique in the domestic market. For examples, the products are dyed with ingredients that will not harm baby skin and buttons and other materials don’t hurt and are attached in a way that the infant won’t be able to remove them, thus avoiding choking hazards.” The C&A Institute, created in 1991, is the brand’s social branch, and has assisted over um million children with investments of over R$ 140 million, especially in education. Among several of the company’s initiatives in sustainability are the in-house workshops, the periodical audits to the productive chain, the signing of a pact to eradicate slave labor, the use of biodiesel for the company’s entire fleet (it is worth noting that C&A Brazil has over 190 stores spread over the country and 17 thousand employees) and the constant discussion on potential initiatives on sustainability. “That is why, in our initiatives geared towards sustainability we adopt the motto: ‘C&A is made for people, by people, to serve people’ because to us, sustainability means keeping a balance in relationships so that next generations might be able to carry on with this work,” adds the marketing director. (ZG)
The Black Forest
Artist Ruud van Empel’s boy-characters seem to ask: “Why have we never been at the forefront of Art before now?” By Bruno Moreschi When Johannes Vermeer painted the screen Girl with the Pearl Earring between 1665 and 1666, he well knew the allure of a powerful gaze. It was no surprise, after all, the artist had seen Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa time and again. That is why, for his most famous work of art, Vermeer painted a girl with a look as enigmatic as da Vinci’s La Gioconda. Today, more than three centuries later, another Dutchman is catching people’s attention by painting subjects with piercing gazes. However, Ruud van Empel’s works have a subtle difference that make an enormous difference. In his photographic collages, the artist has opted to ignore the pale-skinned boys and girls of his native land and chose instead to photograph black children.
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Published on Jul 11, 2011