Page 1

number 2 january 2009

Artists conquer the world of business

Room with a View

at DSM

HEMA: design for the masses Final Report Creative Challenge Call

Magnetizing at Koninklijke Tichelaar Makkum l Art collections reflect company identity l Creative transformation of company premises l


Preface Daimon Xanthopoulos has made the majority of the portraits reproduced in this heART & Society. Daimon is a so-called WIAA artist (Work and Income for Artists Act) and received this commission via “Kunsternaars & Co”. He is a photographer who makes documentaries and series and has a passion for portrait photography. He often works abroad on large-scale photographic projects that he combines with his photographic commissions in the Netherlands. His work is colourful, just as the portraits of the people and countries where he works. That is why he feels that the portraits in this magazine fit exceptionally well with his own style of photography: photographing flamboyant people in their own colourful surroundings


Artists conquer the world of business Creating boundaries leads to creativity. Moreover, creativity can help us develop more and better ideas. During a recession, companies often cut down on research and development. Often successful companies initiate innovations. For example at the beginning of the 1990 global recession, the number of patent applications in the United States broke all records. Even the PC saw the light of day during a recession. Innovation and creativity are essential. Companies work continuously to find better and more varied solutions to the challenges they face. The value of products and services is increasingly being defined by the creative component, that is the meaning, the identity, and the experience it gives people. The more authentic a company appears, the more customers it attracts. To do this requires technological, as well as social and cultural innovations. Whether artists will succeed in conquering the business world will depend in part on their ability to present ideas, to create images, generate meaning, and combine various worlds. It depends on how they react to questions posed by others, how well they apply their ideas and their projects to inspire others to carry out innovations. In this special edition of heART & Society, you can read what the business world and artists mean to each other and how they can collaborate. DSM’s Marketing Director, Athur Simonetti, has developed a concept for such collaboration: the matching culture and economy concept. This concept will be described fully in this

edition. The concept distinguishes four types of collaboration based on the involvement of the company and the artist(s). In this edition of heART & Society various beautiful examples of the differing levels of cooperation will be discussed extensively. For instance how the exchange leads to a better and more purposeful cooperation (DSM), unexpected marketing (Vodafone), more efficient production processes (Social Design), and better looking products (Royal Tichelaar Makkum, HEMA). In the interview with Joeri van den Steenhoven, the chairperson of Kennisland you can read how the government wants to boost “creative economy” . Of course, we want to stimulate artists as well as businesses to work together, in whatever way possible. Are you going to join in?

Jo Houben

Jacqueline Pijcke


Lenthe Publishers








14 From heavy industry to

Creative Industry, pictures of architectural renewal

20 How the HEMA

distinguishes itself using high-quality design

26 Art Collections as part of a



company’s ‘corporate image’

30 Vodafone chooses artists

Editorial Staff Yolanda Bakker, Petra Befort, Cindy van den Bremen, Joost Heinsius, Ernst Houdkamp Text Yolanda Bakker, Sofie Coronel, Jos van de Haterd, Mariette Huisjes, Conny Lohuis, Ad Maatjens, Joannet van der Perk, Bert Platzer, Jorrit Roerdinkholder Illustrations Peter Boer, Design Drift, Frank Hanswijk, Stichting Walter Maas Huis, Renaat Jansen, Gerald van der Kaap, Jannes Linders, Ruud Pos, Daan Spruijt, Sabina Theijs, Captain Video, Daimon Xanthopoulos, Zebra Fotostudio’s Editorial Board Yolanda Bakker Art-Management and Design

Boomerang Publishing

Magazine Management Heidy Hardeman Publisher Lenthe Publishers BV, Jacqueline Pijcke ISSN 1875-4074 © Lenthe Publishers BV, Amstelveen, Kunstenaars&CO , For subscription and single issues please contact

during its introductory campaign

34 Royal Tichelaar Makkum

6 6

10 Marketing Director of DSM, Arthur Simonetti

On the cooperation between business and artists

10 Joeri van den Steenhoven

Chairperson of the Foundation Nederland Kennisland on “the lessons learnt” From the Creative Challenge Call

craftsmanship, innovation, and creativity

38 Creative Co-makership

stimulates entrepreneurship in art education

42 Social innovation at


46 Leftover Rooms how to turn

empty spaces into creative places of work

48 Social Design



18 Sandra Boer 24 Gerald van der Kaap 32 Sharon Geshiere 36 Anna Kirah 40 Lonneke Gordijn en

Ralph Nauta

The matching culture and economy concept of DSM’s Arthur Simonetti


Both the company and co-creation “When a company exploits the creativity of artists just to raise profits, this quickly becomes a gimmick”. This is what Marketing Director of DSM, Arthur Simonetti, believes. “Cooperation is only successful if it moves in two directions and only if both parties are prepared to learn from each other.” The success of the product launch room which Simonetti developed together with artists started him thinking about the relationship between artists and business. Article by Mariette Huisjes


“Have you already read it? This weekend in the newspaper?” This is the first thing Arthur Simonetti asks after greeting me. “The Department of Waterways and Public Works has created a lounging room and it cost €5 million. Five million!!. I won’t say what our launch room cost, but it was considerably less.” As its Marketing Director Simonetti is responsible for the launch of new products made by the multinational DSM. In addition, such a launch must be an immediate success. DSM sells its semi-manufactured products to a relatively small group of large companies, and it cannot afford to make a mistake. It was only a year ago that the experts concerned met in small meeting rooms to work out a plan. Last year a large room, once the library, became available and Simonetti saw his chance to completely remould the run up to the product launch. Literally and figuratively. Now, the project teams spend a couple of weeks in an inspiring pressure cooker. The results are terrific. The scepticism that first greeted Simonetti’s plan not to employ an architect but a mishmash of would-be artists has now turned to enthusiasm. A second inspirational room is now being constructed and

it seems that the artists have found their niche within the company. Arthur Simonetti is the driving force behind the turnaround. He really believes that artists and business can make an excellent match, provided certain conditions are met. What’s the use of a writer or a dancer to a marketing man? “These days a company has to work in a satiated world. We have hundreds of solutions for every problem in the Western world. Of course, as a company, you want your product to be the one selected but that requires more and more inventiveness. We have to be conspicuous, seek out new frontiers, and do things differently than we did in the past. Moreover, that is where artists can help. Not because they are necessarily more creative than we are. There are a lot of creative and talented people working in a large company like DSM; you do not need to recruit them from outside. However, it can be difficult to tap into this creativity. The special quality possessed by artists is that they have a different outlook than we do. After all business only has one intrinsic motive: making money. Artists do not think this is so important. Passion and

beauty move them. It is their very nature to be curious and inquisitive. So are we, but we have been trained to think analytically, they work using an association of ideas and emotions. Precisely because they are different from us our interaction with them awakens our interest in all kinds of things. Their very presence is disarming and charming providing the new impulses we need. If this artistic collaboration is so productive, why is it not applied on a larger scale? I have often asked that question. This is so much fun. All the people who visit our product launch room are enthusiastic about it; how is it that this kind of cooperation has not yet been widely accepted? That started me thinking about ways in which artists and business can work together. That is how I conceived the matching culture and economy concept. The connection between culture and economy is not new; however, I think the problem is that too often the investment made is one-sided. Either the company’s involvement is considerable but that of the artist is slight, for instance if you engage a sculptor for a team

the artist benefit from building session. Alternatively, the artist’s involvement is considerable, but the company’s is lukewarm, for example, when someone is commissioned to make a work of art. I think that cooperation can only prove its worth provided both parties are prepared to enter a dialogue and are prepared to get to know each other and to learn from each other. Only then does something actually happen, both of you are creating something new. Management guru, C.P. Prahalad calls that co-creation. Just like the project at Unilever with Creamer & Lloyd (see heArt edition no. 1, ed.) who hauled a number of international artists into the firm. This was a good start but still too one-sided. Unilever uses artists to alter its processes. It is mainly a “drain the brain situation”, only the artist’s expertise is being used, there is no dialogue. Moreover, as a consultant is involved it quickly becomes a gimmick. Something only really happens when both parties gain new insights. I am proud that the artists we have worked with have learnt to speak our kind of language and have started their own company. That is when you both profit; that is really great.” What does one need to make co-creation possible? “Artists and business people speak a different language. Therein lies the power of cooperation, but it does mean that you have to build bridges. For instance, at the start of our project with the artists, we were uncertain what the results would be. That is quite difficult to sell to a company normally geared to productivity. Sometimes it costs me a lot of time and effort to understand what an artist wants to say. On the other hand, they find it difficult to understand that we have a lot of rules and regulations. If a wall needs to be painted then they say: “Tell

you what, we’ll just come by this weekend with a paintbrush”. That does not work here. I first have to ask permission. Those worlds are miles apart. Both sides have to be prepared to relate to each other asking themselves what they can contribute. This means, for instance, that co-creation is impossible to do with artists who see the business world just as bags of money, or who by definition feel that the business world is dirty and distressing. People who are essentially interested in each other, and want to learn from each other can carry out co-creation. The second condition to carry out co-creation is that the participants are not afraid to give something away. That is quite abnormal for a company that is used to dealing with intellectual property, yet it must be done. You put your ideas on the table, and you must not become frustrated if something different emerges than you had intended. Nevertheless, the one who does something with your idea also throws it back on the table. You must have a desire to build, together improve on an idea, don’t reject it, but let it grow.” You once said that artists and businesses require interpreters, because they both speak a different language. Is that not a little too formal? Put that way, you must not be too formal. Even so, in each group there must be at least one person who speaks the language of the other. For instance, the artists must have one person among them capable of presenting a report the way business is accustomed to hear. The report can be as good as it gets, but if it does not come across, then it is useless. The company too must have a standard bearer, somebody who can break a lance internally in the company. Somebody who has been around for quite some time has built an internal


Photograph:: Daimon Xanthopoulos

“Artists as such are not more creative, but they

can help people tap into creativity”

“Artists should not see the business community

as a bag of money”

network and enjoys people’s trust. Somebody to whom one can say: “I don’t understand what you are doing, but you’ll get autonomy to complete the project.”


What else are you going to do in this field? “Two things I hope. First of all that we extend the cooperation with artists further into the international arena. After all, DSM is an international company. Secondly, I would like to stimulate the cooperation with artist in such a manner that this form of cooperation becomes an integral part of our approach. It would be nice if in about three years this approach were fixed in the minds of many managers as being a way to improve performance and products. Just sitting around a table during an afternoon you can think of hundreds of projects involving artists, for example, design, innovation, cooperation between people, making products, trade fairs, and so on. Maybe we should set up a central group for arts and business within DSM, just as there is a special department to look after the art collection.” Co-creation between artists and business is still in an embryonic phase. Do you think that it will take off in the future? Nothing brings universal happiness, but this has a lot of potential. It really is alive. For us in the business world it is sometimes difficult to stay focussed. Procedures and processes bind you. Cooperation with artists helps, as it is not threatening. Here we talk a lot about partnerships; we really want to work with clients and other companies. Then our interests are not always identical. Sometimes, it can take years to build up sufficient trust to tell each other the tricks of the trade. There are no conflicting interests when working with artists, as the interests complement each other. We can really

Product launch room at DSM

help each other, a combination of learning, inspiration and fun. This latter point is very valuable; working together with artists is just very nice and pleasant.”

“You can think of at least a hundred projects

where the involvement of artists can help”

X shows the company’s involvement going up from low to high. The y-axle shows the involvement of the artist, going up from low to high. If the involvement of both parties is low (left bottom) then it is a matter of simple transactional cooperation, for instance, businesses buying art. An example where the involvement of the artist is considerable, and the involvement of the company is limited is when the artist receives a commission to paint a picture based on the company. However, when the skills of the artists are engaged and the company shows it is really involved, then a form of cooperation is created such as “team events”, team building activities. Co-creation can only evolve if both parties are really involved.

Four artists who had taken part in the course “Artists in Society” of Kunstenaars&CO helped DSM develop a product launch room: a room where production managers, technologists, marketing people, controllers and people involved in logistics and communications could withdraw for a couple of weeks to draw up a plan for the launch of a new product. The former library was turned into a pressure cooker. The various departments all have their own atmosphere and duties. Thus, there is a brainstorming room, a games area, a cutting and pasting area, a presentation area, a silence room and a real small garden. There is an electrifying atmosphere because the rooms and areas contains not only modern design furniture but also old leather armchairs that belonged to the management, reliquaries from the company’s history and an antique twisting stairway leading up to a virtual sky. The space is frequently used. Whether or not the team leaders can make better decisions is difficult to say, but it is done more quickly than when they met in various little conference rooms.

pany hires a sculptor to teach people to use clay as a kind of teambuilding exercise, then the company is an actual participant being inspired by the artist who in turn remains at a distance. Finally, co-creation means that both parties open their minds to each other’s knowledge and skills. Only then does real innovation come into being.

Buying brain time

The four artists who developed the product launch room at DSM are the dancer, Erik van Duijvenbode, the graphic artist, Nienke Jansen, multimedia artist, Michiel Koelink, and writer, Moniek Spaans. They decided to start their own company after their positive experience at DSM. Their company is called Art&Organisation. They particularly want to work on cocreation projects. Projects that get a company going. An organisation can buy “brain time” from them “in order to think about anything they consider exciting”. For starters, Art&Organisation together with DSM is designing a second inspirational area. This time it is for the Innovation Department in Urmond.


The Matching culture and economic concept In order to get a grip on the relationship between artists and companies Arthur Simonetti developed the “matching culture and economy concept”. It distinguishes between four different types of cooperation depending on the involvement of both participants. The simplest type is where a company buys a work of art. The involvement of both parties is minimal. Should an artist be commissioned to create a work of art, then he must get involved in the company. His involvement is considerable, but that is not the case with the patron. For example, if a com-

Photograph: Peter Boer

Final Report Creative Challenge Call


In-between-land and rhizome as a foundation The last couple of years thirty nine projects took part in the Creative Challenge Call. Now that the final report is completed, the balance can be drawn up. Joeri van den Steenhoven, chairperson of the Foundation “Nederland Kennisland”, responsible for the implementation of the Creative Challenge Call, makes his assessment. What are the factors for success, what are the ‘lessons learnt’? What does Creative Challenge Call, part 2, look like? Article by Ad Maatjens


The Creative Challenge Call was one of the important mainstays of Our Creative Capacity, the Paper on Culture and Economics published by the Ministry of Education, Cultural Affairs and Science and the Ministry of Economic Affairs in 2005. According to the official wording, it was a “call to the business community inside and outside the art world; professional organisations and other networks to make suggestions for projects that could build new promising bridges between them and other sections of the Dutch business community”. The foremost thought behind the Creative Challenge Call was creating a network. Research has shown that this factor was missing. “The two sectors did not know each other sufficiently well, they did not speak each other’s language, and they did not notice the added value of working together”. That is how Joeri van Steenhoven characterises the situation at the start: “The regular business world can give added value to the products and services they offer by introducing a little originality. The art world has its qualities, but that doesn’t mean much if the customers don’t know you. Network formation is one of the first forms of “meddling” one can use to bring the parties together.” The second goal of this regulation was to stimulate awareness of what could and could not be done in this area. Van den Steenhoven says “It

was a general appeal. Really the aim was to experiment, so that both sides would become more aware of how important these bridges are”. In-between-land and rhizomes According to Van den Steenhoven two metaphors “In-between-land” and “rhizome” characterise the creation of networks in the Creative Challenge Call. In-between-land is a term used in environmental planning and has to do with open spaces between factories, towns, roads, etc. Creative Challenge Call sees these in-between-lands as open spaces between organisation, companies, businesses and areas in which renewal is taking place. “Often enough innovation does not take place within an organisation, but exactly outside it. You need places where people can congregate outside of their familiar surroundings and processes. The Culture Factory’s Beam-lab is a good example. Beamers’ video artists, congress organisers and hardware manufacturers came together for six evenings. Those three branches had something going. Video artists seek out the frontiers of what hardware has to offer, congress organisers want striking new solutions and the providers of hardware get to know what the marker wants and can use their R&D to anticipate the market. Beam-lab created something new where such people


raph s:


n X an



“Network formation is one of the first forms of “meddling” one can use to bring

the parties together”

can meet each other and make contacts. This is the way innovations are developed” The second metaphor is the rhizome, a concept of the French philosopher, Deleuze. Rhizome is underground root systems that make all kinds of invisible connections. Thus as Van den Steenhoven says “A rhizome is an underground network that gives the plant above the ground strength so that it can flower. You cannot always be certain of the outcome. That is the case with Creative Challenge Call. But in the meantime beautiful things have flowered.” Three Levels Van den Steenhoven distinguishes three stages in realising the success of the various projects. The first step is getting to know each other. It is a necessary step. It is one that cannot stand alone. Van den Steenhoven: “It is not enough to organise a party just to say hello. Then very little happens and most people don’t turn up.” The second step is knowledge sharing. Then people investigate what they can do with the knowledge, products and ideas of other individuals. It is important for you to put into words what you want from someone else, and to mention what you can and cannot offer. Van den Steenhoven knows that the majority of the projects fall in this category. The third step is actually creating things together. Make models, develop strategies. Anyway, the development of new products was not the explicit intention of the regulation. That could have been seen as illegal government support. From these contact business models and new businesses did emerge. One example is Dianne Krabbendam’s Beach Foundation. She now advises large companies how to use creativity as a business strategy. Via Creative Challenge Call, Bas Ruyssenaars developed a Creative Hothouse where companies and creative people can brainstorm together. That model has been introduced to Krabbendam’s company. Factors for Success Looking back on what the actual conditions were that made Creative Challenge Call a success, Van den Steenhoven mentions three important reoccurring aspects which have

to do with the participants of the Creative Challenge Call. “Participants must be able to see, or start to see the importance of the subject. Furthermore, it is important that the right people are brought together with the necessary competence and right to take decisions. Finally, it is important that people define in detail each other’s values and talk about them.” Van den Steenhoven understands that creative people find this complicated because it is difficult to put creative processes into words. “This is not a reproach, but more of a question to find ways of doing this”. It is not surprising that at the organisational level it is a question of time and money. “The Creative Challenge Call proved a success because generally companies and organisations do not have enough time and money to think about these kinds of questions. The regulation created this kind of space. An intermediary was required to organise the network properly: such as trade and professional organisations, umbrella organisations. People must have confidence that it is not just about profit.” Recommendations The final session of the Creative Challenge Call took place at the end of September with all the project participants. The English philosopher and author Charles Leadbeater was also present. The final report has been handed in to the Ministry of Economics and the Ministry of Education, Cultural Affairs and Science. The other activities mentioned in the Paper Culture and Economics have also been completed. What the future will bring, no one knows? The results of the initiative have surpassed all expectations. Both Ministries can be satisfied. Van den Steenhoven does not plead for another second, exact copy of the Creative Challenge Call. “Then you only get a copy of what took place whilst the situation is quite different now to when we started in 2006. Awareness has increased and there are more connections. Using the website, new initiatives can learn the lessons from the first Creative Challenge Call. For that you don’t need a second copy.” That doesn’t mean that things should remain the same. “If you are talking about network formation between companies and the creative

“It is not enough to organise a party

just to say hello”

.11 world then there is still a lot to accomplish” says van den Steenhoven. “The Creative Challenge Call was large fishing net, a general wake up call. It now needs to be expanded. Of course, there have been a number of connections that you can say have been very promising or successful. That can be within a particular section, but also determined by location. For instance regions that seem to have been successful are Arnhem and fashion, Amsterdam and the new media. To me it seems logical to work on that and try to realise more permanent networks. But that is something the government must facilitate again. According to Van den Steenhoven the 2005 letter put the creative sector on the map. “The added value for the Dutch economy has been detected and has been given an impulse. All around you can detect the enthusiasm for the project. That is why I think the government must continue. It would be a pity if we were to discontinue what we have put in motion. If nothing is done then I am afraid we will fall back again. An example is people in companies who have just been given a

little leeway to do this. It is the same in other countries.”


Invisible It is not clear how the present Minster of Education, Cultural Affairs and Science and the Minister of Economic Affairs view the connection culture and economics. Neither Plasterk nor Van der Hoeven has spoken very much in public about the subject. However, Van der Hoeven was Minister of Education in the last cabinet and responsible for this scheme. In fact the subject was in her portfolio when D’66 resigned from the cabinet. Van der Steenhoven “I get the impression that the Ministry of Economic Affairs recognises that the creative sector is an important sector which requires economic policies. Plasterk has not yet shown his colours on this subject, but he did promise that there would be follow-up letter to the first one. The question is: what is it going to say? Plasterk is the Minister who stimulates cultural entrepreneurship; otherwise he would not have adopted the recommendations of the Commission Culture Profit. It is important that the sector itself gives him a little push and a shove. The organisations involved must ring the bell that they want join in. The government is needed to help with certain factors.” Foreign initiatives Van den Steenhoven thinks it would be a good idea to look at foreign initiatives should there be a follow-up scheme. Especially England, Belgium and Sweden have taken new

Photographs: Captain Video

initiatives. “The British have developed a new strategy for the creative economy and are now ahead of us. The Flemings and Swedes ditto. Nesta in England and CultureInvest in Belgium are two examples of investment companies set up for creative businesses. On the whole banks are not eager to invest in creative businesses. Creative businesses rarely or never visit a bank with their business plan. The reason is that banks don’t understand the business model and the risks are often a little bigger. If you are producing a musical then you don’t know how many people will buy a ticket.” Another point is that foreign countries can bring their creative industry better to the attention of the public in other countries than the Netherlands. The British are especially good at that. The Creative Challenge Call was a national initiative, maybe the next step is to do it internationally. Cross the border and form international network and thus strengthen Dutch companies. Being Dutch we can create a lot of chances internationally speaking. Dutch Design, dance, architecture, advertising companies, media companies. All highly regarded internationally and for which you require this type of business”. Van den Steenhoven sees the following as final point of interest for the next couple of years, namely an important debate on the differing methods to approach the creative industry and the cultural sector. “A lot of suggestions in The Creative Challenge Call came from the creative industry (games developers, design studios, fashion) as well as from

the cultural sector (theatre, dance companies). They were often subsidised institutes with a public task to perform. The two sectors have a lot in common and sometimes overlap. But one mustn’t throw them on one heap. You must realise that there are different dynamics and bottlenecks. In the Creative Challenge Call both sectors kept getting in each others’ way which was often very confusing. You have to offer each sector its own thing to work with. Cultural entrepreneurship within the cultural sector without losing your public task and independent artistic job requires totally different dynamics than that of a games producer who is financed by the market and just want to make a profit. We need to foster more understanding of that difference. ”

The figures for Creative Challenge Call

A total of 424 projects applied to Creative Challenge Call. In the end thirty nine projects were accepted € 3 million was to be divided between the projects, with a maximum of € 100,000 per project. Furthermore, one of the stipulations was that the projects had to finance one third of the budget themselves. A little more than half of the projects were from North and South Holland. Creative companies and the cultural sector put in 71% of the applications, whilst normal businesses submitted 29%. About four hundred meetings were organised, from large conferences to meetings of 10 people. Approximately 40,000 participants took part in the conferences. Two thirds of the project owners indicated that they wanted to continue after the end of the Creative Challenge Call.

Connecting conversations

“On the whole banks are not eager to invest in

creative businesses”

Connecting Conversations was developed by the Walter Maas House, The Bank of the Netherlands, PricewaterhouseCoopers, The University of Leiden, the Royal School of Music, and the Academy for Graphic Arts in The Hague. The goal was to start a dynamic exchange between business, the arts and science in a physical (the composer cottage of the Walter Maas House) and virtual meeting place. A returning element in the Connecting Conversations method is the use of citations and reflections. Between January 2007 and February 2008, 10 network drawing rooms and 4 connecting labs were organised. Forty distinguished Dutchmen from the arts, sciences and business were asked to write their views on the future based on a quotation. The Walter Maas House decided to continue the project in 2008. The House is having talks with several partners (Kunsternaars&CO, the Zuidas Academy, the Bank of the Netherlands, and Dutch Railways) to use the method in the programmes of others. Project leader, Bas van Roosendaal says “It was surprising to see that within the multiplicity of professionals whom we reached, there was an incredibly large demand for alternative, non-rational action and knowledge: intuition, imagination, sounds, emotion.

.13 Also needed to make decisions on and get results regarding complex questions. We examined a couple of business programmes. These can be churned up and served in the business world, but that isn’t our work. We are not a commercial office that constantly repeats a number of courses. We provide tailor-made work. It relates to a method of renewal that is not self evident. It develops from an artistic process. It is art. It can’t be done just like that. It conjures up questions about ways of working, the involvement of artists. We have made a start with research that can be done even more thoroughly. Reflection takes place only after proper anchoring. One project is ready but we still require financing. This project has brought partners together and they have become involved with each other. Including artists, it is essential that this basis remains strong. A start has been made, but the artist still needs to be embedded. The business world does not finance such matters automatically. And that is the raison d’être of the Creative Challenge Call.”

From heavy industry to

Creative Industry

There are various sites in the Netherlands where pieces of land and buildings originally meant for use of heavy industry have been “occupied� by the creative sector. Businesses such as IdtV, MTV and the HEMA (NDSM Shipyards) and museums and the hotel and catering industry (Las Palmas) have followed their example. The settlement of artists and creative entrepreneurs is an indicator of the development of an interesting area. That is where it is going to happen.



Dynamo Architects designed within a listed building at the former shipyard of the Nederlandse Droogdok en Scheepsbouw Maatschappij (NDSM) (the Dutch Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Company) a steel frame called NDSM Studio City in which artists could build their studios. It consists of more than 7,000 m2 of stacked workshops with about 80 tenancy agreements. NDSM Study City is part of the NDSM dockyard, the largest cultural breeding ground in Amsterdam. About 250 artists work here active in the field of graphic art, design, theatre, film, the media and architecture. Photograph: Frank Hanswijk

In 1953, Van den Broek & Bakema designed the warehouse, Las Palmas. It was originally the building housing the workshops of the Holland Amerika Line. Benthem Crouwel restored the building between 2003 and 2007. Now Las Palmas houses various cultural users, including the LP II area for urban culture and the SKVR PictureFactory, and the Netherlands Photograph Museum. There is a restaurant on the ground floor, the third and fourth floors are offices and the basement houses the depot of the Photograph Museum.



Photograph: Jannes Linders

Sandra Boer


“All cooperation is unpredictable and inspiring” In 2005, Sandra Boer managed to build a bridge between artists and the public with the large art project Art-forSAIL. During the SAIL fifty young artists worked surrounded by the general public. The project received a lot of publicity and provided the starting artists with an income for the first time. In 2006 Boer set up Art Partner, which linked artists to companies for a collaborative period of two years. During the National Culture Ball held on the 9th of October, Art Partner won the Stimulation Prize 2008, presented by the Foundation “DOEN en ING” with one of its cooperative projects. Article by Joannet van der Perk

“From the time I received my first salary, I have put money aside to start my own business. I wanted to find my own solutions. Contrary to convention, determine my own way” Sandra recounts. She set up House-of-Initiatives in 2004 after having worked as a salaried communications advisor for 7 years. She immediately went against the current with her first big project, Art-for-SAIL. “Three years ago it was not done to have artists working in such a commercial event as SAIL. To prepare for Artfor-SAIL I spoke with forty people from the cultural sector. I discovered that it was actually not possible: taking artists out of their studios, getting companies involved, and finishing off with a sales exhibition….” She laughs, “The nice thing about being an entrepreneur is that you do it anyway. In the meantime a lot has changed, people are thinking more and more about this type of cultural entrepreneurship. Boer thought of Art Partner as a followup to Art-for-Sale. She runs it together with her partner, Robert Tordoir and artistic director, Joannette Balvert. Since 2006 Art Partner has developed 30 partnerships between artists and companies and has fifty artists in her files. Boer says, “At Art Partner, we are concerned about long-term relationships between an organisation and one or more artists. A special relationship can grow between both parties during a period of two years.” Sometimes companies request special artworks meant for the company collection, and often the artists are asked to do


Photograph: Daimon Xanthopoulo

more than that… Then it can be about a change in mentality or emphasizing internal values. Boer continues, “Take for instance Mn Services, a large Dutch pension provider. Four of our artists are working with the company to visualise in a very special manner the results achieved and the contribution made by the staff. You get a different and stronger view of internal communications”. Boer again: “another tremendous example is sound artist Nathalie Bruys and the Ministry of Education, Cultural Affairs and Science. The Ministry is carrying out a flexibilisation process and asked Nathalie to think of an art project that would allow staff to look at their organisation in different manner. Nathalie wanted to reach all members of staff and thought of the ‘Brain Tonic’ system where you can hear a composition of voices, sounds, aromas and light all within the Ministry of Education. Well known sounds in a new, special setting. The installation is at the entrance to the Ministry so everyone walks through the artwork. It is also special that Minister Plasterk unveiled the work during the celebrations to mark the 90th anniversary of the Ministry of Education. “Boer, Tordoir and Balvert supervise the whole process to ensure that such an art project makes a thorough impact. They involve the top of the company as far as possible in the project and stimulate the artists to adopt a businesslike attitude. Boer “That is how it became possible that

the Ministry staff all the way up to the Minister himself “lent” their voices to the work of art”. All three of them often act as “translators” between artists and organisation. Sometimes companies do not immediately understand the language of the artists, whereas the artists are unacquainted with company jargon. Boer “But it is unbelievable when you see company staff listening with bated breath to a young artist. For us cooperation is unpredictable and inspiring. Whatever the question a company may have, artists’ solutions are always personal, innovating and inspiring”.


Art Partner works together with Balak Coatings, Boer & Croon, The Dutch National Bank, Dicke Röell Breedveld Executive Search, Houthoff Buruma, KPMG, Krans & Van Hilten - Law Firm, Korn/Ferry International, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Mn Services, Plexus Medical Group, Stadgenoot, Synchroon, Van Doorne, Watson Wyatt

A Contemporary Adaptation. Work of the winner of the Stimulation Prize, video artist Daan Spruijt en consultancy Watson Wyatt.

Sandra Boer at a glance 1972 Date of Birth Study Cultural Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam 2004 house-of-initiatives 2005 Art for Sail 2006 Art Partner

Lees meer over de Impulsprijs 2008 op pagina 54.

Design for the masses rewarded with love and confidence

Projects El Hema Under the title “El Hema,” cultural centre Mediamatic mounted an exposition exploring the question of what an Arabian HEMA would look like.

Everyone loves

New products in the temporary store’s assortment included halal sausage, shirts with a HEMA logo in Arabic and an Arabian Jack and Jill. The HEMA organisation followed the project with interest, acting as a jury in the design competition.

The decision of the HEMA management to distinguish itself by making high quality design has brought the company nothing but good. Turnover has increased and the brand is trendy and strong. Via the HEMA Designers, artists and museums are very glad to gain access to the public. Article by Mariette Huisjes


Who remembers? In the 70s the Hollandse Eenheidsprijzen Maatschappij (The Dutch Uniform Price Company) or the HEMA was an unadorned shop with fluorescent lighting, shop assistants dressed in pink nylon dust coats and cheap goods that looked like cheap goods. Its smoked sausage was already famous; other than that the HEMA was there for that part of the population who could not afford anything better. The old grey looking HEMA has disappeared completely. Meanwhile shopping at the HEMA has become an event for the poor and the rich. People are no longer ashamed to be seen in the streets with that red and white plastic bag. There is an actual HEMA fan club on Internet. A few years ago a book was published with emigrants’ stories entitled “I only miss the HEMA”. High quality design The base for this revolution was the decision taken by HEMA management to embrace high quality design as a central component of its marketing strategy. René Repko, the marketing director of the HEMA explains this logical decision of his predecessors as follows “Why should you punish people because they buy low priced goods? Just because something is cheap, doesn’t mean that by definition it needs to look awful.” From the beginning of the 90s the HEMA has slowly

transformed itself into a trendy store, where, it is true, the goods are cheap, but look good and are of decent quality. “Positive, colourful, strong, stylised uncomplicated and not exuberant”. These are some of the catchwords HEMA sees as its brand nucleus. The HEMA design competition is a purposeful expression of the attention the chain give to design. Each year students from the schools of fashion and design are invited to make a design based on a theme, such as “kettle”, “service” or - the 2008 theme - “hard wearing” design that fits into the HEMA profile. The company strives to take the winning design into production. That has already happened for the 20th time (see page 23). The competition has already become a household word, and for every young Dutch and Belgian designer the opportunity to make a name. Students get an opportunity to cooperate with business and the HEMA get beautiful designs for peanuts. A student on the point of seeing his first product appear on the shelves of Holland’s most popular chain will be the last person to bargain about a fee. A spokesperson for the HEMA stresses the fact that the costs are not a considering factor for the design competition. The goal is to see what kind of new inspiration and vision the people from the outside can bestow on the brand.

“If a lot of people have lovely things, it also develops their taste.”

In the autumn of 2008, the El Hema initiative expanded, opening temporary El Hema stores in Utrecht, The Hague and Rotterdam.

Difficult René Repko of the HEMA thinks that the competition has contributed to the fact that young designers do not now turn up their noses at making something for the public in contrast to twenty years ago. Quite the reverse: “There’ll always be design clubs that will choose to work at the upper end of the market, but a lot of young designers see it as an extra challenge to produce something that the general public can afford. That is in fact more difficult than a lonely designer making something that is so exiting and exclusive, but which nobody finds interesting. That it is difficult is may be also part of the charm. HEMA for Rijksmuseum The HEMA does not only take advantage of the design competition but also profits from art in other ways. Last spring there was the project “HEMA for the Rijksmuseaum”. The Rijksmuseum wants to make its collection more accessible to the broader public and offered the HEMA its top pieces for designs on toilet bags, writing paper, teacloths and bonbons - It was the HEMA or nothing,” says the director of the museum, Jan Willen Sieburgh. “The challenge was to “translate” these old, often dark pictures into the colourful, optimistic HEMA feeling. Our designers succeeded above expectation,” says René Repko. That his


- Winners of the HEMA design competition company was able to make a bridge between “low culture” and “high culture” emerges from the fact that the HEMA calls in prominent and innovative artists for large commissions. Documentary photographer and the winner of the silver camera, Moard Bouchabour, made the photographs for the new HEMA campaign. They are also creative at the other end of the spectrum. Using “Doodle Art, the art of boredom” pupils were invited to send in the doodles they drew during a boring lesson. They might find these back in the school collection 2009.


portance of good design. “We must and we want to grow fast. How can you grow fast in the retail business? By being different and strong. The strongest businesses in the present retail market are H&M, Zara and IKEA. What they have in common with the HEMA is that they have put their cards on good design. If you want to succeed in this very competitive market in which we operate then you must not only compete with price and product, but especially with design.”

More turnover What has the HEMA gained, this turn about taken about 15 years ago and the strong attention for design and art? “First of all, a higher amount below the line” says René Repko. “We have managed to create a strong profile; we thus sell more and finally earn more. Furthermore, we have gained the confidence and love of our clients. We are a brand which people have come to love.” According to Repko the take-over by a British investment company last year has only strengthened the im-

“Something that is cheap, doesn’t need to be ugly?”

Nicolai Karels Kettle The Rabbit (1987)

Jurre Groeneboom Servies Tuit (2004)

“The gulf between your first design and what finally ends up on the shelf can be very large.”

“What I have learnt I pass on to my students.”

“When I took part at that time a lot of designers were not prepared to identify themselves with the HEMA. It appealed to me that my designs would make a large group of people happy. Since designing the kettle, I have continued to work for the HEMA on a freelance basis. I still see it as a challenge. At the HEMA, the gulf between your first design and what finally ends up on the shelf can be very large. After all, concessions always have to be made. The leading factor is the price. The challenge is to take care that the look and feel remains about the same as you had outlined. In the end, the HEMA also profits. Bringing many people in contact with good design you can influence their taste and vision on consumer goods. If designers distance themselves from the general public, the design always remains elitist. Thank goodness, companies like the HEMA and IKEA do their bit to make the world a little lovelier and user-friendly.

At the time, I was studying Industrial Design in Delft. The study is mainly about complex objects, such as medical aids or household appliances; a table service was not a daily occurrence. We did learn to look properly at ergonomics and comfort in the interaction between man and product. That was a great help when designing the spout service. The idea for the spout came about when I noticed that if you drink coffee with sugar the spoon always jabs you in the cheek. The spout in the cups removes that problem because the spoon is fixed. Bit by bit I discovered all sorts of other handy ways to use a spout, drink the dregs of your soup in elegant fashion, serve plates with a spoon elegantly, a handle. I was surprised that I “a boffin” won the prize. It gave me sufficient self-confidence to realise my dream and start my own design bureau. Amongst other things, I designed a new kind of rollator walker. This is supposed to be in the shops next year. Meanwhile I teach design at the Technical University. I have learnt a lot from my work with the HEMA and pass on what I have learnt on to my students. For instance, do you know that being able to stack things is an important factor in the decisions whether or not a product is to be displayed on the shelves?

Annet Hennink Cake plate Tast Toe (Dutch acronym for “be my guest”) (2007) “It is my dream to work for the HEMA.”

I have always been a big HEMA fan and for a long time it was my dream to work for the HEMA sometime. There is a good ratio between price, quality and design. I like to design a product for the public and give people’s houses a little extra something. I do not think it was a coincidence that I won the competition. As I have been a fan for so long, I have developed a good feeling about the nuances of the brand. In 2007, there was no theme as there had been during previous years; this was because the competition was being held for the 20th time. The commission was to design a new HEMA hero, where such a hero is a successful product. I got the idea for my disposal cake dish whilst at a birthday party. Everything had a festive look and the table was beautifully laid, but the cake - a HEMA hero from the beginning - was kept in a cardboard box. It looked rather uninviting. Winning the HEMA design competition is the best thing I could put in my CV. I now have a lovely, creative job with a financial services provider, and I am learning a lot about business. Who knows I still might join the HEMA as a designer sometime in the future.


Gerald Van Der Kaap


Creating things that are not yet there Video artist and photographer Gerald Van Der Kaap balances between the transience of being a VJ and the work with which he wants to stimulate thought processes.Article by Jorrit Roerdinkholder

Van Der Kaap started his work during the punk era and from it learnt the doit-yourself ideology. He says that this is like a theme running through his work. “Certain things are not there, and you start doing them, yourself.” He attended art school with the idea in his head that could make what you wanted and now, thirty years later, he is still doing what he wants. “These days it is much easier. Not just due to networking which many people mention continuously, but by finding methods of working that fit you. My method is the one you stick your teeth into. Everything is possible provided you put enough time and effort into it. Of course, you sometimes need equipment, but for me, a photo camera, a telephone, and a laptop are sufficient.” When he was at art school, he started his own photographic magazine. Just do, do not let conventions hinder you. He used a handy cam to make the weekly hour Robotnik TV for local Amsterdam TV. “At the time a lot of people found the quality insufficient, but we just did it, a kind of YouTube before the term existed.” It turned out that Robotnik was a forerunner of later VJs.” When the Roxy club opened, I was asked to do something with a video beamer. That became a kind of live TV, where using my intuition, I manipulated pictures cut from self-made videos and pieces of art videos using an image mixer so that they were in sync with the music.”


Photograph: Daimon Xanthopoulos

Gerald Van Der Kaap: “Moi Non (I), 2008” Collection FRAC Nord - Pas de Calais, France © 2007-2008 Gerald Van Der Kaap

Projects This year Van Der Kaap completed three big projects. The regional art depot, Frac, in Dunkirk, which was moving, asked him to make a photograph sixteen by sixty meters of the outside wall. He made a film still of a young girl with a black wig reading, laying on a bed, just like Brigitte Bardot in Godard’s film Le Mépris. Underneath the text “C’est toi qui a changé”. The second project was for a workshop in Bangkok where the writer, Han Nefkens, a collector of his work, invited him. “It was a project within the framework of ARTAids in Thailand. I showed portraits of six university students together with written interviews about their friends, about sex, and the use of condoms, and I used these portraits as wallpaper. I’m just back from the New Media Biennial in Seoul, where I showed an extended version of the St. Matthew Passion on several screens which I had made in 2006 together with dj Joost van Bellen. Decorative As a matter of principle he does nothing to sell his work. “I think I went to see a gallery owner once at beginning of my career”. He either initiates projects himself or is given a commission. “I had a shock when I showed the work I had done in China and suddenly sold a lot to large banks and private collectors. I

thought I haven’t suddenly been making decorative work, have I?” His theory is, make something good, because that is something people always recognise. When you are working, you have to expel all optimism, only then are you working all on your own. Of course, you then have to show it. However, the whole world does not have to see it. That is not how the art world works. Small groups of people are busy with that.” Implants There is very little of his work on his website and on Myspace so the public has a problem finding him. “Do you have to make a work of art or do you have to document it? I hardly ever record my VJ sets. It takes about five hours, there are a couple of good fragments, but the remainder is very short, maybe a light effect, nearly wallpaper. My other work is not short. For instance, I am going to be working in a university building used by the Department for Veterinary Medicine in Utrecht and I want to make something that really sets things in motion, and brings about a change. You provide people with an idea on which they can elaborate further”. It will be a short, trailer like film, entitled The New Vet. The film is set in 2030 and is about the adventures of a female vet. She drives a Land Rover, has two cats and does research on implants in animals, uses soft crayons to draw a

Gerald Van Der Kaap: “Kwan, BKK, 2008” Collection ArtAids, Bangkok © 2007-2008 Gerald Van Der Kaap

horse’s anatomy on a mare and wears self-disinfecting boots. “Through the introduction of fantasy and pictures of the future I hope to provoke the students to reflect on their own future and that of the faculty as a whole. Very ambitious therefore. Maybe all my work is meant to be a catalyst.”

.25 Gerald van der Kaap at a glance 1958 Born in Enschede 1978-1980 St. Justus School of Art in Breda 1987-present VJ in clubs and at festivals 1992-2002 Lecturer new forms of media at the Rietveld Academy 1996 Capilux Alblas Prize for his complete works 2007 Singer Prize 2007 for his complete works 2007 Video clip Fuck More for Junkie XL, together with Joost van Bellen 2008 Moi Non, 16 x 60 meter print on the outside wall of AP2, Dunkerk, France

Gerald Van Der Kaap: “070401 1624 (Sjai), 2007” Photograph according to a still from “St. Matthew’s Passion - The ReMIX” © 2007-2008 Gerald Van Der Kaap

Company collection play an active role


Art as a company profile

third of the turnover. Last of all, Hermida says, this has nothing to do with a change in mentality within the art world. “When I started this work 20 years ago this was already changing, but at that time artists did not want to be associated with big business. Twenty years ago, we had problems trying to find artists prepared to make something for Shell. At present, if you look at an artist’s CV, he very pleased to demonstrate that some of his work is in known company collections.

Company art collections are not only there to decorate company offices, they are being made more accessible to the public. Thus company collections are becoming part of the corporate image. “If you hang up a painting of a naked woman then people will have a certain opinion of you.” Article by Bert Platzer


A whole floor of the new head offices of Akzo Nobel in Amsterdam will be set aside in 2011 for an exhibition hall, where changing expositions will make the company’s art collection accessible to the public. Since 2001, Würth Nederland has its own museum in Breda when it recently extended “Location Art Würth”. It is a logical next step to the guided tours organised by many companies at their office to show their company art collection. The art companies collects is directly associated with their character and in consequence they can present an image of who they are, says director Erik Hermida of Onderneming en Kunst, consultancy for art and culture. “Companies look at art just like you and me. What suits me, what do I like? At such a moment, you see that a company has a particular character and chooses art that suits itself and its employees. You can furnish your house in a certain style, but if you hand a large picture on the wall showing a naked woman, then people will have certain opinion of you. It stands out.” A broader purpose A number of companies started to collect art in the sixties and seventies in order to create a more pleasant atmosphere for their employees. The underlying thought was that the employees would perform better. The most talked about example is the cigarette factory, Turmac, where the director, Alexander Orlow started to hang up pictures above the machines from 1960 onwards. He started the Stuyvesant Collection, one of the first Dutch company collections. The NMB bank started to collect art

“Company collections constitute part of the corporate image”

for the same reason in 1974. NMB is now ING bank and the collection has grown to include 25,000 works. “Using art you can overcome the problem that people hang their own things on the walls of a beautifully furnished office and that its professional character is negated by a jumble of tastes and styles.” says conservator Sietske van Zanten of ING Art Management, the eight-man strong department that manages the ING art collection. These considerations still form the basis of the collection. “We don’t have a depot, everything hangs on the walls. When we buy art, our aim is to immediately find a space within the work environment to hang the picture. ING’s company collection has acquired a more broad application. Special exhibitions are set up for contacts and ING clients from the top of private banking and wealth management can get advice about purchase, collecting, tax laws and all other aspects about art. “In order to make the collection more accessible for the general public we try to organise one exhibition a year of works from our collection in a cultural organisation in the Netherlands and one abroad,” says Van Zanten. “Critics always say that company collections only hang in offices and this inaccessible to the general public. Last year we organised four exhibitions in the Netherlands and three abroad. This year we held two in the Netherlands and one abroad. A museum can also ask for a piece to be given on loan. I think that we have a hundred requests a year for pieces to be given on loan from national and international museums, which we honour”.

Rationale It would seem as if companies that open up their collections are taking over the task of museums. Strengers, Van Zantern and Hermida say that this is not the case. “A director of a museum does not walk through his museum thinking the place is empty, I’ll hang up a nice picture” says Hermida. “Museums have an art-historical reason to buy art. It has to do with exposition, or that the collection is missing something. Such considerations are of no consequence to a company.” Neither should one ascribe too much social value to company collections. “Every one agrees that it will be a great loss that a collection such as the Stuyvesant collection, the actual foundation of company collection in the Netherlands, will vanish,” says Van Zanten. “On the other hand you presume all possibilities and option have been studied by the management of the collection and that this was well considered choice. The company is the owner, and decides what is going to happen to it”. The Stuyvesant Collection often acquired pieces at large discounts, because artists and galleries wanted to contribute to the realisation of the special collection. According to those directly concerned, the owners have realised a kind of debt of honour and it is not done to sell the collection for as much money as possible, as British American Tobacco is doing now. Hermida thinks that the squabbling about the Stuyvesant collection rather exaggerated. “You could say that the collection fulfilled

The Dutch National Bank loaned 8 pieces to the exhibition “Black is Beautiful”

a certain social role, because all kinds of exhibitions were organised using its material.” he says. “When a company stops collecting then its purpose ceases to exist. But there are still enough company collections left”. That is what Deborah Wolf thought, who had been responsible for the ABN AMRO collection until her retirement in 2003. Last winter she said in the NRC daily newspaper that the splitting of the company as recorded at the time meant that the rationale for ‘her’ collection had disappeared. Absolutely peanuts The social worth of company collections is specifically their role in the art market. Because after private collectors, who are responsible for half of the turnover in the art market, companies are responsible for about a

If large buyers disappear, the market feels it. Especially if the shutdown of a collection means, “suddenly five thousand good quality works are being dumped on the market”. As Hermida puts it. This is also the case with an eventual recession. He estimates that in 2002 the art budgets of the biggest companies reached about 450,000 Euros a year. The market felt it when Rabo Bank reduced its art budget by 15% and Akzo Nobel by 10%. “These days the large financial institutions and companies have the money or maybe I should say had the money,” Hermida explains. “Art follows the money, these days you can see pictures of four by six meters. That is not art to hang on walls at home. There are not many clients for artists who produce expensive art, though there are galleries that exist on a handful of clients. That is possible because now and then they buy something very expensive. But should a number of such clients withdraw from the market, then that is not very nice.” Yet Hermida is not afraid of the consequences of a new recession. “Large companies are big art collectors and have large budgets, but that is course peanuts in comparison to the company’s budget. A company does not go bust by buying one painting less. I don’t believe they stop buying immediately.”


Vodafone paints 9 little alleys red

Projects Joris Kuipers

Rather something exciting than a respectable campaign Recruit two hundred qualified employees, become a firm fixture in the community and give the city a present. Those were Vodafone’s motives when at the beginning of September it asked artists to use all sorts of methods to paint the Nine Alleys in Amsterdam red. Article by Mariette Huisjes


“We already do tough commercial campaigns 365 days a year”

Red is the colour of the arms of Amsterdam, red is the colour of Vodafone. Red is the colour of passion and single-mindedness; you need passion and single-mindedness to work at Vodafone. Amsterdam is the city of artists and of freedom; Vodafone provides freedom of communication. Looked at logically it seems natural that Vodafone celebrated the opening of its second head office Amsterdam by asking artists to carry out a red project in the heart of Amsterdam. A hundred employees decided to move with the company from Maastricht to Amsterdam. Two hundred new employees needed to be recruited; that was a success. On September 1st, Vodafone’s new office opened in Amsterdam Sloterdijk. Time to party. In addition, it was very logical that artists had to do something in the nine lively small shopping alleys in the heart of the city, something in red. Worn out sticky tape However, was it so logical? The phone company stuck its neck out when it held a competition and had nine of the most original ideas out of 124 entries carried out. The reason is that having projects carried out by artists is much more unpredictable than commissioning a straightforward advertising campaign. Not all passers-by are equally enthusiastic. Some find the whole thing ’not clear’ or are disappointed because they feel the way the happening was an-

nounced was not realised. Not all the shopkeepers thought the party was a success. Some of them would have preferred to see Vodafone’s money invested in another way, or they had comments on the organisation. Not all the entrants were equally happy because they were offered a chance. There were 115 losers whose ideas were not selected. Finally, not all the art projects turn out as good as one thought. The project where passers-by walk over red tape stuck to pavement of zigzagged routes quickly turns into a mess of worn out sticky tape. And the red plastic bags handed out with ’tourist’ for tourists and ’local’ for Amsterdam people meant to have both groups talking to each other, well, the busy shoppers hardly looked at them let alone taking time to start communicating with other passers-by. Ice cream Why so complicated and why not just distribute red ice cream with the complements of Vodafone? We ask The Director, Consumer Business Unit Vodafone Nederland, Bart Hofkeraske. He thinks distributing something tasty is just “too easy”. “We really wanted to produce something for the general public. Art does something more to you than a simple ice cream. Of course, there are risks. There is no art that everyone thinks is fantastic. However, we did remain positive. When making our selection we deliberately avoided shocking

and confrontational art. After all, the Nine Alleys remain a public space; they are not a museum that deliberate people visit on purpose. In addition, no, this was not traditional advertising or sponsoring nor was it a tough commercial campaign. We already do tough commercial campaigns 365 days a year. Now to celebrate the party we wanted to do something completely different. Something exiting in the heart of Amsterdam to show we have come to stay. As far as I am concerned, it was completely successful. Everybody put their heart and soul into the party; we received many positive reactions. All the employees of Vodafone, new ones or those who have just moved, all received a voucher of €50 to spend in the Nine Alleys. That is the way to get to know the city. It released a lot of positive energy outside and inside the company. A small bag with ‘local’ printed on it may have missed its artistic aim, I myself think it’s a nice souvenir and I am now proud of being a local.” Flirting Redheads Extinction threatens red heads. This gave Patrick van Ginkel an opportunity to think up the power performance ‘death of red’. In the Wolvenstraat, unwary passers-by were subjected to the advances of red headed actors. They asked for a light, sought eye contact via the shop window and presented red roses. They literally flirted as if their life depended upon it.

what Sharon Bakker and Willemijn Schellekens think. They built an intriguing red cot in the Reestraat where tired shoppers could pull up a chair to listen to a story. Just along the road, Little Red Riding Hood was peeling red apples. Hearts in Heart Street A structure had been put up at the corner of the Heart Street that consisted of a giant cross-section of the human heart. Joris Kuipers wanted to literally interpret the organ mentioned in so many proverbs - a pounding heart, a beating heart - and create a surprising effect.


Patrick van Ginkel

Katinka Simonse

Brolly plus a poem The slight intimate character of the Nine Alleys inspired Maria Lakeman to convert the Huidenstraat into a landscape of brollies. Passers-by could grab a red brolly at the entrance to the street. When opening the brolly you could hear poems recited about the colour red. “People can put themselves into the position of being a street and experience its shelter and embrace.”

Roberto Voorbij

Stories The streets are the best places to tell stories and stimulate the senses, because you don’t expect it.” That is Daniella Wesseling

Royal Tichelaar Makkum


“We do magnetizing not marketing”


Jan Tichelaar, the present managing director, is now the 13th generation of Tichelaars to run the company. Working together with architects and designers he transformed the company into an innovative traditional laboratory that no longer produces just stock but now produces on demand. Continuity is one of the core values of the company. “This centuries’ old continuity has to do with making the right choices”, says Tichelaar. “And our choices were always based on knowledge and craftsmanship. We wanted to continue using our craft. We did not want to produce for what is referred to as the ‘market’, but produce goods we thought were beautiful. The whole range of arts and crafts - from tin to silver and from leather to glass - has nearly disappeared from the Netherlands and been moved to the Far East. However, we as ‘the pearl of Makkum’ (also the name of one of the design projects being carried out in conjunction with Alexander van Slobbe ed.) have continued to exercise our trade. It is all our own doing: artisanship and craft knowledge, or what you might term trade skills and knowledge of pottery. For the last 10 years we have been cooperating more and more with designers and artists.” Tichelaar explains that his surname is ‘derived’ from the trade carried out by one of his distant ancestors, ‘potter’. We want to show that it is still possible to carry out this old trade even in 2009. Take our ceramic restorations we demonstrate that is still done the

way it was back then. For example, our architecture commissions show that we also use new up-to-date methods. Autonomous Tichelaar does not identify with a market nor does he advertise. “The use of words such as ‘market’ or ‘advertising’ suggests that you aim is a particular segment of the market. The advertising avalanche overwhelms people. That is not our game. It does not fit us. We work as designers. Autonomous. Of course, we need to earn money; after all, we are a commercial company and employ more than seventy artisans. We must keep on ticking, but we do not have to get rich. The most important objective is continuity. That is what we formulated quite clearly 10 years ago. In the meantime the way we work is now called ‘magnetizing’ - The starting point is your own strength - the magnet - and then wait and see who will come your way. In our case thing are getting better all the time.” Reinterpretation As the only remaining company in the Netherlands Royal Tichelaar Makkum specialises in the production of handmade pottery. “We dare to take on a challenge be it in design and new materials and techniques. At the same time, we are able to produce the same things as two hundred years ago. We can regenerate tradition. We did that together with Hella Jongerius. She designed some

new Majolica plates for us. It was a reinterpretation of one of our most important products made between 1680 and 1880. Those plates were of historical importance. As a tribute, we re-examined the whole collection and gave it a new face and a new colour scheme. Our painters could work in an easier and looser style. Our collaboration with Jongerius produced something beautiful. We carried out four projects with her. We also work with Jurgen Beij, Alexander van Slobbe, Studio Job en Dick van Hoff. The aim is always to learn something from each other, and to create something of value. Often objects close to graphic art. A pyramid of flowers A couple of years ago the Rijksmuseum asked Tichelaar Makkum if it could restore the prestigious 1.60 m high Pyramid of flowers made from Delft porcelain. Tichelaar: “That, of course, was a tremendous project. Once again, we would be able to show our artisanship. After the restoration, we, in close consultation with the Rijksmuseum, asked Hella Jongerius, Jurgen Beij, Studio Job en Alexander van Slobbe to design a modern version of the Pyramid of flowers. We made seven copies of each design. The Zuiderzeemuseum donated money to make production possible. Tichelaar “During the first showing in Milan a whole set was sold to Michel Schoonderbeek of Schipper Bosch Properties. Later on, Schoonderbeek bought all the pieces. The Pyramids of flowers now

Photograph: Daimon Xanthopoulos

A Spanish map from 1572 shows ‘bricaria’, a brickyard. The first documents from Royal Tichelaar Makkum date from that year. Both of these finds provide the oldest historical evidence of Royal Tichelaar Makkum. Not only is it the oldest company in the Netherlands, it is also the oldest family run business. A family business considers continuity and artisanship of paramount importance but also innovation and creativity. Article by Conny Lohuis

Block of flats Parkrand Amsterdam Geuzenveld

Outer covering Museum of Arts & Design New York

Jan Tichelaar


“The goal is always to learn from each other, and together to create something worthwhile”

travel the world. They have been on show in galleries in New York, Los Angeles, and Dubai.” New York Now that we are talking about ‘business’ it seems that cooperation with architects produces half of the trade of Royal Tichelaar Makkum. Tichelaar “last year we provided the outer covering for the Museum of Arts & Design in New York. It was commissioned by Allied Works Architecture, to whom we were introduced by Christine Jetten. It was up to us to apply an effective glaze on the outer façade. The problem was the iridescent effect of the glaze that the architect wanted. This commission proved very difficult because of the instability of the method of preparation and the complexity of the method of production, but at the same time was very instructive. We carried out the project together with NBK Germany, which supplied us the unglazed base material. A project in The Netherlands was the commission from MVRDV Architects,

Rotterdam. We were shown the design for a block of flats ’Parkrand’ in Amsterdam Geuzenveld and ask to make suggestions for the inner covering. The basis had to be white, but not too perfect and the pattern had to be visible but subtle. Our laboratory provided 20 alternatives and deliberately included the unsuccessful attempts. Some of the glazing on one of the unsuccessful attempt had shrivelled to such an extent that the underlying shred was visible. The architect was so taken with it and asked us to work further on the glaze. This lead to ‘globules of glaze’. Tichelaar can talk for hours about his beautiful business. He concludes, “Oh, well, we are often approached with a request to bake hundreds of pieces of one product. However, there we do not learn anything. And when we work we always want to learn more, experiment and together with designers and architects be receptive for new things.”

Pyramid of flowers of Delft porcelain

Sharon Geschiere


“Those work places” She was sixteen when she went to art school. She is now 24 and is going places. After two grants to go to Munich she is now going to go a little further a field: teaching at an art school in China. “I’ll be at the right place to take a close look at the production processes.” Article by Sofie Coronel

“It went very well,” Sharon says in a rather dry tone. She has just finished giving a presentation on the décor for the Culture Bal in the Music Centre on the IJ river in Amsterdam. ‘Previously’ she used to be nervous about these kinds of things but now it has eased off. Geschiere was a young pupil. She had finished secondary school at the age of sixteen. “No idea what I wanted to do” she says with a laugh. First, visit the art school’s open day. “Those work places! I thought they were fantastic. I had no idea what you would learn at art school. But I wanted to start working immediately in those work places.”


Heroes She did not think sixteen was too young to go to art school. Unfortunately, she was the only one. The lecturers thought she should first travel the world for about a year. “That first year was quite a battle.” she remembers “But precisely because they thought I was too young and to inexperienced I wanted to show them.” Looking back, she is glad she started so young. “If you see what I have already done.” Her dream is to become famous, even world famous. “I’ll keep a fresh outlook on things if I can work all over the work.” Geschiere started her own studio in 2006. Her heroes are Konstantin Grcic and Tjep. “They too have a broad outlook and design all kinds of things: products, furniture and whole rooms. That’s how I want to make a name for myself.” Supporters Geschiere thinks that the beautiful thing about design is that you can create your own world or that of other people. “You can have a direct influence on life. That is why reactions to my work are so important. People have to experience it as something extra, and then it has meaning.” The reaction of people to her work can drive Geschiere to the limit. She still carries her Photograph: Renaat Jansen

finals project around with her - KooK: a complete set of kitchen utensils. “I have showed at exhibitions and everybody loves them. A lot of people that buy the set, the only problem is that I have not been able to get it into production. Most investors do not dare stick their necks out because the production is very expensive and they feel the market is small. I believe in it, so I keep on trying.” The city of Munich invited her twice to work on a project after completing her training. The first time was during the Football World Cup, “I combined certain club logos and made feminine football accessories such as bags and T-shirt. That year football fans often visited the Design Ally and were very keen to buy my accessories.” The second time in Munich she designed a service. The theme of the project was ‘generations’. “What I did was to cross old cups with each other according to the laws of Mendel, who carried out research into heredity.” China Last year Geschiere took part in a design project of Kunstenaars&CO en Arable Farming and Horticulture Organisation (ARHO) Netherlands. She won the Public Award for her design “the Pig Rooter”, a toy for pigs. Now Geschiere is designing the interior of the offices of the Society for the Protection of Animals. On top of that, she is going to go to China for two months to give a series of guest lectures on design at the art school in Chongqing. “In the mean time I keep working on projects from afar and am going to ferret out possibilities for production in China.”

Sharon Geschiere at a glance 1984 Born in Roosendaal 2005 Graduated from the ArtEZ School for Graphic Arts and Design, Arnhem, main subject Product Design 2006 Grant to work in Munich, Design Ally 2007 Winner of the Public Award with toys for pigs ‘the Pig Rooter’ 2008 Grant to work in Munich, Design Ally, Parcours, winner of the judges prize Design2Business award, design of the museum shop ‘het Valkhof’ in Nijmegen, lecturer at the MIADA School of Art, Chongqing, China.

“The reaction of people to her work can drive Geschiere to the limit.”

Drawing of the interior of the office of the Society for the Protection of Animals.

“The Pig Rooter” commissioned by the Arable Farming and Horticulture Organisation (ARHO) Netherlands in cooperation with the Society for the Protection of Animals


Creative Co-makership stimulates enterprise in art education


Art students go out into the world

More and more art schools are taking time to prepare their students enter professional life. They make use of optional courses, apprenticeships and new types of education, such as project teaching. The Creative Co-makership Programme supports the teaching of art. It stimulates the exchange of knowledge within and between art schools. Three colleges are taking part in this programme: The College of Art Utrecht (CoAU), ArtEZ in Arnhem, Enschede and Zwolle, and the Willem de Kooning College in Rotterdam (WdKA). How do these colleges bring their students into contact with the art profession? Here are four examples of ‘best practices’. Written by Joannet van der Perk


The CoAU: Utrecht gets worldwide colour treatment The area round the station in Utrecht, with the station, ‘Hoog Catharijne’ and the ‘Exhibition Centre’ are to be drastically changed during the next fifteen years. The Station Area Information Centre asked a number of students from the CoAU department of Game Design and Development to develop a game for use of the Centre’s visitors where they could learn about the future layout of the station. The eight students and one computer science student from the University of Utrecht developed ‘the Blob’. The game allows you to become a ball of paint and roll around the future Utrecht colouring the buildings of the city. To the satisfaction of the Information Centre and the enthusiasm of real gamers, you get to know the city with the greatest of ease. The ‘Blob’ is interesting to gamers because it has a challenging course, and the game allows you to earn points. The internet has made The ‘Blob’ popular with gamers all over the world. It caught the attention of a large American games publisher, THQ, who has just brought an entertainment version of the game on the market. “That a student project could be so successful is something unique. These days you see more and more that the established games industry publishers produce ‘remakes’ Kunstgras (artificial grass) 2007 of innovative games developed by

students or young people,” says Jeroen van Mastrigt, lecturer Art & Technology who supervised the project. “Our projects are real commissions, in which students from various disciplines work together. During these projects students learn stuff they cannot get from books, such as interacting with customers.” Some of the ex-CoAU students who formed part of the ‘Blob’ team have started their own business. Joost van Dongen: ‘For us the ‘Blob’ was a test case. We thought if we can work well together and think up a nice game then we would continue. We never dreamed that hat the ‘Blob’ would become such a success.”

Photograph: Jon Otten

CoAU Cross-fertilization on artificial grass How do you encourage a flourishing relationship between creative talent and the business community in the area? Well, with artificial grass for instance. In April 2007 the Programme Cultural SME Utrecht, part of the CoAU Department Art and Economics organised the large networking event supported, among others, by the Foundation DOEN (do something). The evening offered cultural entrepreneurs, businesses and participants from the College of Art in Utrecht a unique opportunity to meet each other and to learn from each other. A major part of the

evening was an auction, where led by Christie’s director, Job Ubbens, a lively barter developed between supply and demand of companies and creative entrepreneurs. Afterwards, visitors to Artificial Grass were encouraged to find a creative or business match in the ‘matchmaker’s corner’ or at the picnic/brainstorming table. Visitors could brush up their knowledge of the creative industry of cultural entrepreneurship in reading corners, debates and workshops. The CoAU students provided the musical and creative setting for Artificial Grass. Marijn van Thiel, the programme manager of the Cultural Small and Middle Enterprise Utrecht (SMEU) said, “The evening was especially a networking evening for creative entrepreneurs, including our alumni, but a lot of students were involved in the organisation, concept development and décor of the event. In conjunction with the event, we also organised a number of lectures for first and second year students. During the lectures we examined the questions of how to build a network.” A repeat of Artificial Grass is being planned in response to all the positive reactions from visitors to this event. Artez: Collection Arnhem During the Amsterdam Fashion week held in January of this year, students from the department of Fashion Design of the ArtEZ School Arnhem presented the ‘Collection Arnhem’ for the 10th time. During the third year of their training the whole class takes care of a complete fashion collection. What is remarkable is that they not only design the collection together, but also are also responsible for the show, styling, presentation, production, press coverage and sales. This way the students learn all aspects of the fashion trade. The ‘Collection Arnhem’ has gained a name in the fashion world during the last ten years both at home and abroad. Head lecturer Fashion Design, Matthijs Boelee: “The collection was started ten years ago on the initiative of the then head lecturer, Gisela Prager and designer Alexander van Slobbe. The project

allows students to experience that they have to listen to each other. Together they learnt to develop ideas. When they first arrive at the school, they think they are Yves Saint Laurent in person, but in practice, things often work out differently. Only a couple of students find the fame of the catwalk. Many students end up in other, but no less important, jobs within the fashion industry. For example they become designers for an already known fashion brand, stylists, pattern designers, or fashion illustrators. After completing this project they start an apprentice-

“We stimuleren studenten om eigenzinnige concepten te ontwikkelen waar Nederlandse ontwerpers om bekend staan ship and then you notice that they find a job much quicker within the company.” Bianca Speijk, a student in the design team ‘Collection Arnhem 2008’ claims: “You learn what your qualities are, working on ‘Collection Arnhem’. Actually, everybody finds his or her place quite naturally within the team. You also get to know the importance of good cooperation and good communication.”

Willem de Kooning School of Art: a frightened chair in Milan A chair that runs away from the person who wants to sit down in it, a table sprouting herbs, beautifully formed bowls of sweets from which you hear a whisper “Take me, Take me.” Plants in glass bowls, helped by sensors and a system of instruments, react visibly to the presence of humans. These are some of the remarkable objects that six students of the Willem de Kooning School of Art presented in April of this year at the Salone Satellite, the part of the prestigious Milan design exhibition reserved for young designers. The concept developed by the students was the result of a special study aimed at a final presentation in Milan. Joce Bloks, Account Manager at WdKA and responsible for external relations: “The students had taken part in the minor ‘CrossLab Milan’. CrossLab is WdKSoA media lab. Here students from all disciplines can experience the possibilities of media and technology especially outside their own discipline. The final goal of the project is to make a presentation at the well-known Salone del Mobile. However, this study is about concept development, as is usual at WdKSoA, and not just design of a ready-made product. We stimulate our students to think further than reality and to develop the kind of stimulating, wayward and often funny concept for which Dutch designers are famous.” In addition, as it turned out this year, success because the WdKSoA pavilion in Milan drew the attention of the international media and large companies. The ‘scared chair’ of multimedia student, Erik Overmeire, was the opening feature of the Italian TV station RAI2 design programme. Joce Bloks: “The students were overwhelmed by all the attention. Taking part in the exhibition made them aware how they can sell their concepts to the outside world. In Milan they realised the importance of presentation, a website, visiting cards, in fact the whole communication system surrounding such presentations.”

Creative co-makership boost renewal The CoAU, ArtEZ and WdKA are taking part in the Creative Comakership programme that the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Ministry of Economic Affairs commissioned from Kunstenaars&CO en Kunst & Zaken. The programme supports art education and stimulates art students to become entrepreneurial and develop a broader professional perspective. Lucie Huiskens, the programme manager: “During the past year we have devoted a lot of time and energy to the development of a network of professionals working in and around the teaching of art. The network organises educational meetings on such topics “How do art school project bureaux stimulate entrepreneurship among their students? How do you anticipate didactically the quick expansion of professional activities? How do you get lecturers involved in teaching innovation and the teaching of entrepreneurship? We also facilitate a digital platform for students and artists, a place where they can exchange knowledge and experiences about their practical development ( We have started a group on LinkedIn to offer the network a virtual meeting place. (; network group Creative Co-makership). That way we have developed a booster for renewal of art teaching.” Dutch artists learn during their training how to work well under pressure. However, they find that they have not learnt to sell themselves properly. In addition, remember that more than half of the Dutch artists are self-employed or work as freelancers. These conclusions and more interesting facts about graduates of Dutch art school can be read in ‘the employment situation and competencies of graduates of Dutch Art Schools seen from an international perspective’. Kunstenaar&CO and Kunst&Zaken commissioned this research, which was carried out by the Research Centre for Teaching and the Employment Market of the University of Maastricht.


Anna Kirah


Behavioural Sciences at Microsoft Anna Kirah (47) likes to upset the apple cart. Her business card says Design Anthropologist, but she does not believe in experts. She believes in co-creation. In the exceptional things, you can learn from ordinary people. “Whatever you do, first take a look at the homes of the people for whom you are doing it.” Article by Joss van de Hatred


Anna Kirah hates the word consumer. “Does anyone call himself a consumer? No way. Or how about another similar word, user. No, we are fathers, mothers, friends, girlfriend, we all have a role, but consumer or users do not belong in that category. Get rid of such words!” She has the same abhorrence for the word innovation, the subject of her keynote speech at the Matching Congress the on 4th June 2008 in the ‘Doelen’ in Rotterdam. “The word innovation is a dead word. If you are to believe advertisements then everybody is innovating these days. It does not mean anything anymore. Forget it.” She laughs about it but is serious about it. Kirah, a worldwide and much sought-after speaker and consultant, uses such provocative statements in an attempt to radically change the thought patterns of her clients and hearers. Whatever you do it must have meaning in the lives of real people. “Forget the product, forget the technology you want to put into to product, forget the money, procedures and statistics. It is all about people. People must come first.” Ten years ago, Microsoft employed Kirah, an anthropologist, to help develop and test Windows XP. She had just about heard of Bill Gates. She knew nothing about software. In addition, that made her the proper person for the job. In fact, she had to create her own job. What she started to do was on site research. She visited real people leading real lives to see how long it took them to install new software into their new computers. What they did

Photograph: Joel van Houdt

with it. That produced huge lists of unexpected problems and awkward questions, which the thousand officially registered scientists, mostly computer freaks, had never thought of. It caused a small revolution at Microsoft. Kirah: “Traditional innovation always puts technology first, and what it actually means to people in second place. It is time to change all that. As long as you focus on the product instead of people, you will never be able to produce innovative things. Imagine you make mobile phones? Why do they use it for one thing and not another? Why this telephone and not another type? This is something you cannot find out just using questionnaires and surveys about the product. You literally have to observe people and then connect your observations to the product. And that is connected to a different of seeing things: forget the mobile phone and learn first of all to see how people use them in their daily lives.” Kirah does not think that large companies have an advantage because they can hire an anthropologist. “You shouldn’t hire an anthropologist in the first place. You should not hire anyone who is just an expert. My worth is not in the toolkit which I carry with me as an anthropologist, but how I think and who I am. It is my mindset. Whilst growing up I lived in various places in Asia. That is why I have a different view of the world. As far as small companies are concerned: they provide solutions and ideas that would never have

occurred within larger companies. Perhaps cooperation is much easier there. Maybe people are less inclined to defend their own patch. I am totally convinced that inventions and innovations never originate with one person. Never! New ideas are the result of talking, sharing of information. It is always co-creation. We are social animals, basta!” Addressing the question: ‘what do these developments mean to designers’, artist Kirah says “We live in a different world, this demands a new mindset from artists. Artists cannot set themselves up as specialists in creativity, as experts coming to provide a creative impulse when they are exposed to the community or when they receive commissions form the business community. Things do not work that way. The people you work with possess these creative ideas. Creativity is not their exclusive domain. That is why we have to learn to be humble. Many architects and designers still focus too much on self-expression and not enough on interaction, on teamwork. Artists, architects and designers must learn to speak the language of people they work with and learn to understand them. If you want to make something with other people or want to solve a problem together, engross yourself in the other.”

Anna Kirah at a glance 1991 Social and Cultural Anthropo logy, University of Oslo, Norway 1998 Psychology, University of Washington, Master of Science 1999 Research Associate Boeing 1999 – 2007 Senior Design Anthropologist, Customer Design Center, Microsoft 2008 Partner Kirah Consult Kirah, a worldwide and much soughtafter speaker and consultant on creativity and innovation in Europe, the USA and India. She is a member of the jury of the international Braun Prize 2009 for design.

Nokia The world’s largest manufacturing company, Nokia, employs behavioural scientists to do research on the way people use their mobile phones. One of the innovations that emerged from the research is a mobile phone with a small light on the side so that women can find their mobile more easily in their handbags. The department’s employees travel the world to look and make photographs. When do people use their phones, what do they talk about? Where do they carry their mobile, how do they load it? What does a mobile phone mean to people’s mobility in places where people do not have an official residence? These are very relevant questions for producers when you realise that during the next couple of years the majority of mobile phones will be sold in non-western countries. See also en


Creative communication at ABN AMRO


Know what moves you What do ABN AMRO’s employee’s see when they look in the mirror? During May and June of last year, they saw not only their own mirror image but also drawings of visualisers Dennis Luyer and Mike Overdijk. In a very provocative way, these drawings were meant to draw attention to a special project. Article by Joannet van der Perk


Social innovation The mirror drawings at ABN AMRO mark the start of a new programme of the Foundation for Art & Business (Stichting Kunst&Zaken): Creativity2Business. The Foundation DOEN (DO SOMETHING) is financing the programme. The cultural sector applies its knowledge and commitment to develop creative solutions to business questions. The questions generally relate to the field of ‘social innovation’. Lodewijk Ouwens, advisor at Creativity2Business, says “It’s about questions such as: how do I approach my employees as a fountain of information and incentives, how do I deal with flexitime and how do I keep talented people in the company? Technology, markets and consumer preferences change more quickly than ever. Competition can suddenly appear unexpectedly. Flexibility is extremely important for large companies. Creativity, communication and cooperation are essential and these three are found paramount in the creative sector.” The employees taking part in the pilot project at ABN AMRO showed their own creativity and enthusiasm. In addition, that produced something important. “If you yourself know what you can add, then you can deliver better quality.” That is what one of the participants said afterwards. Jasper Schrijver, ABN AMRO’s Director of Private Banking, stimulated by the cultural sector’s creativity and energy,

wanted ABN AMRO to be the first company to take part in Creativity2Business. In May 2008 artists started work in the Segments & Business Development Department of ABN AMRO, a department that develops innovative projects and products within the Dutch banking system. Romée van Bork, Consultant Business Events at ABN AMRO was the internal supervisor of the project. “Creativity, flexibility and innovation are important values when we carry out projects and within the management as a whole. Especially in these turbulent times (whilst the project was being carried out the takeover by Fortis and the amalgamation of the two banks was taking place. ed) the interest of the values grew in the eyes of the inventors. It becomes more necessary to find solutions to unexpected situations. This project had to do with the personal development of employees, but it also had to provide something to the organisation.” Towards manifest enthusiasm and creativity The paramount question during the project was “How can you make the enthusiasm and creativity of our employees manifest? After consulting ABN AMRO, four subprojects were developed for use by Segments & Business Development. The subproject ‘Enthusiasm for Enterprise’ employees and filmmaker, Sander Bloom, set to work filming their own enthusiasm. The second project, ‘Social Enterprise’ offered the employees

of the Sustainability Department a chance to sample the enthusiasm of two social entrepreneurs and reflect with them on the business problem they encountered. The third subproject ‘Innovation in pictures’ showed how a process of innovation comes into being. Visualisers Dennis Luyer and Mike Overdijk made use of snappy pictures to illustrate complex work processes. The fourth systemised project entitled ‘Creative Communication’ demonstrated ways in which non-participants within the bank could be made aware of the project. Drawings on lavatory mirrors, texts on large screens and a quiz were used to arouse people’s curiosity. To kick-off the project, the employees of Segments & Business Development found a cartoon on their keyboard with an invitation to take part in the project. In the end, twelve employees and two innovation teams went on a quest for enthusiasm and creativity. Quality Filmmaker, Sander Blom, together with three assistants, worked for six weeks of the project on films about their own enthusiasm. “One of the participants wondered what her enthusiasm consisted of and decided to go in search of it in ‘her’ film. She interviewed three colleagues; these interviews produced beautiful, candid stories like the colleague who said that since the death of his brother he had started to set different priorities for himself at a very young age. During the final presentation of the project,

“You sometimes lose sight of what moves you in a big organisation, what it is, you find stimulating.”

I saw how the film moved her colleagues. In the end, the film turned out to be very important for the three participants. They wanted to make a good film and were pleased with the results. The project has made them think deeply about what they wanted from their work and life.” Estella Bos, Business Manager found that awareness of her own motives was an import outcome of the film project. “This was a journey of discovery for me; I wanted to find out what moves me and others? At the beginning it was rather scary, taking part, as you are frightened of exposing yourself. It was the same for my colleagues whom I filmed. Yet they opened their hearts and no one withdrew from the project. Looking back they thought it was useful that they had taken part. You sometimes lose sight of what moves you in a big organisation, what it is you find stimulating. It is useful now and then to find yourself, even for the organisation. If you yourself know what you can contribute, then you can provide more quality.” Stream of Ideas Acting out of personal enthusiasm or passion is something social entrepreneurs do pre-eminently. Just like photographer and designer Carmen van der Vecht, who started the fashion label Rambler using clothes designed and made by street youngsters from all over the world. During a number of brainstorming session’s five ABN AMRO employees looked with her at the possibilities of turning her company into a profitable business. It was an educational experience for van der Vecht, but also for the bank’s employees. Van Bork: “For instance they saw there were other possibilities to present oneself other than using the habitual PowerPoint presentation and that doing business can be a means to reach another objective.” The participants were also impressed by the stream of ideas that the designer produced. Sophie-Anne Köster of the ABN AMRO realises that sometimes she stuck too much to one idea and did not give new ideas a chance. At the same time, van der Vecht learnt that

she had to take a step backwards and learn to make a choice of the many plans she had. The project team for the innovative ABN AMRO project Flame Tree, a new social network for entrepreneurs, went to work with graphic artists Dennis Luyer and Mike Overdijk. The sessions with the artists proved to be confrontational and perceptive. Van Bork: “This way of working was something totally new for our employees. The artists asked about the core of the plan in order to make a picture of it. The result was confusion but things suddenly became comprehensible. The picture’s ‘non verbal’ communication proved very effective. Furthermore, the participants noticed that information stayed stuck in the mind, looking at a picture is better than reading a report. Working like this proved a valuable discovery.”

Creativity in an office environment During the various projects, the ABN AMRO employees got the opportunity to look properly into the mirror and see where their enthusiasm and creativity lay. They could also display their creativity in drawings on lavatory mirrors. Van Bork: “The artists’ drawings were to draw attention to the project. However, we also invited people to draw on the mirrors as well and they really did. This project has elicited some very positive reactions from within the bank. In what is for them a ‘normal’ office environment, people find such a project invigorating. The participants have been able to broaden their horizons. They have seen how you can approach and complete projects and how you can bring about changes in a different way.”

Kunst & Zaken en Creativity2business Sinds twaalf jaar ondersteunt Stichting Kunst & Zaken culturele instellingen met expertise uit het bedrijfsleven. Het plan om de expertise van de culturele sector ook ten goede van het bedrijfsleven te laten komen is in samenwerking met Stichting DOEN verwezenlijkt in de vorm van het programma Creativity2Business dat in september 2007 van start is gegaan. Binnen het programma wordt kennis en ervaring uit de cultuursector ingezet om complexe vraagstukken uit het bedrijfsleven op te lossen. Op deze manier versterken cultuur en economie elkaar, iets wat DOEN graag stimuleert. In Creativity2Business-projecten treedt Kunst & Zaken op als intermediair tussen de culturele sector en het bedrijfsleven. Het Engelse cultureel adviesbureau Creamer&Lloyd treedt daarbij op als partner. Creativity2Business organiseert daarnaast bijeenkomsten en conferenties en doet onderzoek naar de kansen en belemmeringen van creativiteit in bedrijven. Ook brengt het ‘good practices’ op dit gebied in kaart. Op 15 december 2008 wordt in het Dialogues House van ABN AMRO een nieuw programmaonderdeel gestart: Creative Conversations, waar culturele instellingen en bedrijven met elkaar in gesprek kunnen treden.


Lonneke Gordijn & Ralph Nauta


“Can’t be done, then we’ll make it” They met each other at the School of Design in Eindhoven and since then can’t live without each other: Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta, two young designers who have joined up forces to form the brand Design Drift. Article by Sofie Coronel

She loves nature and is the supercharger of concepts, sensitivity and feelings. He gets his inspiration from science fiction and concentrates on technical definitions and implementation. They are partners, in life as well as work. After Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta completed their studies as designers, they were both self-employed. Both of them had their own commissions, but that did not last long. Gordijn recounts: “We first started to cooperate on a project of Kunstenaars&CO and the Hortus Botanicus in Amsterdam. The commission was to design a love seat. I wanted to make something that suggested leisure activities, but that did not work. So I asked Ralph for advice.” The final design was a taunt designed settee with a small fountain on top. The water is drained via a web of lines running across the bench. When we saw the prototype in the Hortus Botanicus and saw the birds and children playing with it, then we knew - our collaboration was going to be a success.”


Desire Nauta: “It sound a little insipid, but we complement each other. Now and then we take on a commission of our own, but we still ask each other’s advice”. Gordijn nods her head, but has to admit that now and then it is nice not to consult each other. Design Drift has been in existence for two years. Recently the company moved from Eindhoven to Amsterdam. The name Design Drift derives from the desire to make things, improve things. We design from enthusiasm, not just for the sake of it.”, Gordijn says. That is also the reason why Photograph: Daimon Xanthopoulos

they produce and make their own designs. Clients are there to pay the bills. Nauta believes there is nothing wrong in working for a client. A good client dares to try something new, is open to things that may seem impossible.” Is this real? Both Gordijn and Nauta claim that the unique thing about their way of designing things is their complementary qualities. Constantly using different combinations of nature and technology, they elicit interaction, or just a smile. Their keywords are amazement and activity. To emphasise what she is saying Gordijn puts an example of Dandelight on the table: a light-giving dandelion. Each dandelion seed is attached to a LED lamp. Gordijn: “We exhibited this at the Salone di Mobile in Milan, a large furniture exhibition. Whilst there, husky men and women from all over the world are racing around from stand to stand. Once they reached our Dandelight they suddenly stopped, bent, smiled, sighed and asked, “Is this for real?” The more people say this is impossible, the more enthusiastic Gordijn and Nauta get to make it. One of their latest masterpieces is the Ghost Chair. This transparent chair was made with great technical ingenuity and has a fantastic shape that should not really exist: the inside is at the same time the outside. “This is a typical example where we use design to search for the boundaries of the possible.”

Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta at a glance 1980 Lonneke born in Alkmaar 1987 Ralph born in Swindon, England 2005 Both graduated from the Design Academy in Eindhoven 2006 1e prize ArtiParti 2007 2e prize design competition ‘Pimp Your Product’ 2008 Exposition GHOST Collection in the NHOW Design Hotel, Milan.

“There is nothing wrong with working on commission”


Unilever After Lonneke Gordijn had attended a ‘Brainstorming’ workshop at Kunstenaars&CO she was asked by Cream Consult to take part in brainstorming session at Unilever. “We sat around a table with researchers and technicians. These experts are at times inclined to think too much in well-defined concepts and are inhibited by reality. As artists we were able to show the group another way of thinking.”


Mobile creative workspaces in empty buildings


4.500.000 m Spare Space


In December 2007 designer Jack Brandsma started the project Spare Space. “Our goal is to adapt empty buildings for the use of young artists and designer using specially designed modular furniture. Our government wants to end squatting, but why not have them prohibit pointless vacancies. Written door Conny Lohuis


.43 The New Guard, a networking organisation of young creative people, developed the idea of Remaining Space. They wanted to give empty buildings in the centre of Groningen ‘a temporary change of status’ using the pretext of ‘from an empty useless building to a creative hotbed’. Brandsma: “New Guard concentrates on short term projects, whilst Spare Space is a long term project that became a little too big for New Guard. That is when I jumped in and Spare Space quickly became my brainchild.” Brandsma developed mobile furniture that changes every empty room into a comfortable work place. He found a couple of financiers at the end of 2007. This included the DOEN Foundation and the Incentive Fund for Architecture. Furthermore, the municipality of Groningen and the Province of Groningen were prepared to finance the pilot project. An empty Apple shop at an A location in Groningen was put at Brandsma’s disposal. He designed the work places, bar, conference table and letdown partition. He found four candidates who wanted to use the work places. “Young people who have just graduated, and

do not have the amenities to carry out their trade. This way they can remain working in the shop until a new tenant is found. The great thing about all this is that we do not have to change the interior of the shop. We just build the four work places and place the furniture; the creative graduates can start work. The amenities we need are electricity, internet, heating and sanitation. Plug & Play in Milan In April 2008 RestRuimte, using the English translation of its Dutch name, SpareSpace went to Milan where it presented the concept during the international furniture exhibition. “We didn’t actually attend the exhibition but took over an empty building in the town, the Lambretta scooter works. Mariano Pichler, architect, art collector and property developer, invited us to come to Milan. He owns many empty buildings in Lambrate, including the old scooter factory. Therefore, we could show him that it is all about temporary accommodation, making it possible for creative people to work all over the place. It is about a concept that can

Mobile office, stacked furniture of designer Jack Brandsma Photograph: Sabina Theijs

“Universities and colleges should be able to adopt work spaces”

be installed any time, any place: plug & play. More a 1000 people came to have a look and we were interviewed by Domus.” Brandsma believes that there is a massive potential in the Netherlands. “There’s about 4,5 million m2 of empty office space. At the same time, we just keep on building. Vacancies in such an over populated country as ours is irresponsible. It is not our foundation’s primary goal to fight vacancies. The primary goal is help young creative talent find a workspace. The shrewd use of vacancies is one of the cheapest solutions. On the one hand we need space and on the other we need to find the money to create workspaces and produce the additional furniture required.” Brandsma thinks it would be a good idea if his concept were adopted. “I am thinking of large estate agents and property developers who could put space at our disposal, and have the certitude that we would leave once a tenant or buyer has been

found. That would fit in nicely with socially acceptable entrepreneurship. I am also thinking about subsidisers such as universities and colleges that turnout young creative people. Why should they not offer them a work place for about another six months, so that they can gain some experience? Preference for shops At present, SpareSpace prefers shops. Preferably in A locations. Brandsma: “Empty shops give streets a sombre look. If young people can work in these empty shops then the image of the streets improves and it is good for these creative youngsters who become visible and can work on their business and name recognition. And the shop is once again presentable!” Brandsma remains amenable to groups willing to embrace and expand the project “People who just like me can see the necessity of creating work space for young creative artists and who also

have problems with the unnecessary office and shop vacancies. As far as I am concerned facilitating the creation of workspaces can be seen as an extension of a creative learning process.”

Social Design Design is all around us: products, buildings, the scenery around us, services, processes. Designs ‘to change the world’ have always existed, but these days ‘design’ is booming. Artist and designers apply their art to make comments on society. They use their talents in order to contribute something to finding solutions to social problems. Their starting point is to design something durable; they work to improve the quality of public places. They work together with the users of their products, with their clients, with the suppliers of their raw materials. Always with a social objective in mind. In every issue of heART&Mind we provide various examples.

Information & Addresses Wilt u graag samenwerken met een van de kunstenaars uit dit nummer of wilt u meer informatie? Neem dan contact op met Kunstenaars & CO; bel naar 020 - 535 25 00 of mail

For more information about the phenomenon Social Design see,,

Arthur Simonetti - DSM

CMYK .44

Joeri van den Steenhoven Kennisland

Daan de Haan

Creative Industry

The CMYK lamp is made from aluminium printing plates used in the graphics industry. The plates are use for ink prints. Four types of coloured ink are used to print full colour folders, magazines or posters: cyanogens ©, magenta (M), yellow (Y) and black (K). One aluminium plate is used for each of the colours. After each print four aluminium plates remain, which would normally go to a scrap dealer. Daan de Haan does not think of these plates as scrap, but as unique semi-finished products that are very practical for use in interior design products. The CMTK lamp uses energy-saving coloured LED lamps.

Sandra Boer – Art Partner HEMA Gerald van der Kaap Company Collections Vodafone Royal Tichelaar Makkum

Photograph: Zebra Fotostudio’s

Sharon Geshiere Creative co-makership Anna Kirah Creativity2Business Lonneke Gordijn & Ralph Nauta SpareSpace Social Design CMYK lamp



Room with a view at DSM  

Artists conquer the world of business

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you