Design – 30 projects selected

In the third Design round of 2023, 30 projects have been selected. The available budget was not sufficient to award a grant to all positively assessed applications. Tibor Bijl, Design Grant Scheme acting coordinator, reflects on the round.

9 November 2023

general impression

This round features several recognizable themes such as multiperspectivity and critical examination of the heritage sector and its origins. The project Catalog of Stolen Objects, Courtesy of by Mirelle van Tulder is one such example, which aims to reinterpret and decolonize the archives of ethnographic museums. The search for new perspectives on social problems and projects about escapism from a busy society and modern times are also more frequent in this round. In addition, many projects are concerned with ecological alternatives for materials, clothing and other products. These often involve old crafts and local production techniques. As seen in the project Make no bones about, where Benedetta Pompili is researching alternative compositions of bone china, where animal bones are replaced with phosphates from algae and sewage sludge. In animation and graphic novel, it is notable that many stories deal with personal findings and traumas.


The available budget was not sufficient to award a grant to all 34 positively assessed applications. As a result, the advisory committee had to prioritize. The procedure used is described in the Design Grant Scheme. After prioritization, four positively assessed projects were eliminated from the selection.

A few notable projects from this round’s selection are:

Stichting Amsterdam Museum - The House Reveals

Stichting Amsterdam Museum - The House Reveals
In honour of the 10th anniversary of the Dutch ‘ballroom scene’, the Amsterdam Museum, in collaboration with House of Vineyard, is presenting the exhibition The House Reveals at Huis Willet-Holthuysen. The House Reveals offers a glimpse into the power and impact of ballroom culture in the Netherlands and highlights the value of art, fashion and design as forms of self-expression, community building, protest and resistance. The exhibition consists of two parts: interventions in the historic rooms at Huis Willet-Holthuysen that connect the past with the present, and spaces that House of Vineyard is fully arranging with their artistic visions of making, design, fashion and collective experiences. With the project, the Amsterdam Museum aims to celebrate and present ballroom culture together with the ballroom community as valuable cultural heritage that is part of the Dutch creative industry.

Bahman Eslami - Contextual Font Spacing Tools

Bahman Eslami - Contextual Font Spacing Tools
The project Contextual Font Spacing Tools aims to develop a system that gives graphic and typography designers control over the positioning of characters and diacritics based on their context. Background to the project is the lack of effective tools for implementing the Nastaliq style, a complex Arabic calligraphy, in digital fonts. Designer Bahman Eslami focuses on research into abstraction of this calligraphic style, using Python programming and machine learning to help designers add space to fonts. The outcomes of the project are open-source tools that make it possible to implement complex writing styles like Nastaliq in digital fonts. In the long term, Eslami wants to develop more styles related to authentic Arabic calligraphy, and scripts that differ from the simplified form of Arabic script seen today.

Motormond - The Quilombo is in a process

Motormond - The Quilombo is in a process
With the project The Quilombo is in a process, Motormond, in collaboration with The Black Archives and OSCAM, focuses attention on the role of design in shaping and disseminating ideas of resistance. Curators from the various organizations involved, together with a group of selected contemporary designers and artists, examine how protest posters from historical protest movements in the Netherlands and overseas colonies have developed and how these images spill over into our contemporary culture. For this purpose, they are collecting and analyzing material from Dutch archives as well as from archives and communities in Curaçao, South Africa, Indonesia and Suriname. The archival research will be presented in the form of an exhibition at Motormond. In addition, the selected designers and artists are creating new work, which will be distributed in public spaces in the Bijlmer district in Amsterdam in collaboration with OSCAM. Finally, The Black Archives will host a public programme that includes lectures and artist talks.

Hung Lu Chan – Zero Gravity Pleasure

Hung Lu Chan – Zero Gravity Pleasure
With the project Zero Gravity Pleasure, Hung Lu Chan and Katja Trinkwalder are exploring how to design inclusive, safe spaces and objects for human intimacy in space. In the preliminary study, Chan and Trinkwalder approached the topic from three different directions. They explored perspectives on sexuality in space from both scientific and fictional literature and on the basis of interviews with experts in space travel. They also studied the existing design of spaces and objects for contexts with microgravity. Finally, they explored the relationship between design and sexuality on Earth. From the start-up phase, several deliverables are being worked towards, including a visual sex handbook entitled ‘zero gravity pleasure’. Here, the designers speculate on diverse and non-binary forms of sexuality in space and call attention to the complexity of sexuality, both in space and on Earth. Workshops will also be organized and visual speculations from the handbook will be translated into 3D objects and installations.

Click here for all the projects selected in Design in 2023.


Of the 79 subsidy applications taken into consideration, 30 are receiving grants within the available budget of € 451,597. This brings the percentage of applications receiving grants to 38%.

next round

The closing date for the next Design round is 30 January 2024. The grant scheme will open at the end of November.

fund closed

N.B.: From Saturday 23 December 2023 until Sunday 7 January 2024, the Fund will be closed and no new accounts will be registered and processed. This means that you cannot submit an application during this period. However, if you already have an account for the Fund’s online application environment, you can proceed with your application. If you want to work on your application between 23 December 2023 and 7 January 2024, make sure you create an account through our online application environment before Wednesday 20 December 2023. It takes one working day to activate a new account.

Photo at the top: Make no bones about – Benedetta Pompili