Open Call Building Talent – 22 proposals

With Building Talent, the Fund wants to stimulate the exchange of ideas and knowledge between experienced and starting designers and makers within the creative industry, and to strengthen the connection that starters have with the professional field.

The Open Call Building Talent offers experienced designers and makers the opportunity to engage a talented starter over a period of four months through a collaborative process, making room for an in-depth research study or experiment.

Starting designers and makers can give a focused response to one of the proposals from experienced designers or makers that were selected earlier. There is a choice of 22 proposals, giving you the opportunity to work with an experienced design practice on a current design challenge, research question or experiment.

Please note:
If you do not speak Dutch, this is not a restriction to apply. Applications may be written in both Dutch and English, and English is also not a problem in the cooperation projects.


Antoine Peters – Space Garments in the Metaverse

An avatar wearing his creations, how amazing would that be? In the both substantive and practical project Space Garments in the Metaverse, Antoine Peters will explore the virtual world with you. Can Antoine’s works stand on their own in this environment? How is the design process affected when he can work out and test ideas faster through digital means, without the practical and financial limitations of irl ? What opportunities do NFTs have to offer in this context? In short, Antoine wants to leave the limitations of the real world behind and explore the spacious world of the metaverse. Space fascinates him, in every way. ’People call me a fashion designer, but my work exists in the contexts of fashion as well as design, art and architecture, with the relation to clothing and the human body acting as a uniting factor. In my search to reinterpret fashion, I experiment in radical ways with the space around clothing. I stretch, repeat, trim and reconfigure clothing in all kinds of ways.’

Now, Antoine wants to bring his Space Garments to life in the digital world. He is looking for a developer who is skilled in the creation of 3D worlds and objects. Someone with the specific knowledge and skills needed to create digital clothing, preferably not just static as in a 3D render, but also dynamic/with movement, applicable and wearable in the metaverse. Antoine explains: ’In my studio, I will provide guidance at least one day per week. Also, it is not merely my intention to just get you to make virtual Space Garments. Above all, I want to do as much as possible in a dialogue. I hope we will learn a lot from each other – for example, learning how to program seems extremely interesting to me. On my part, I will use my years of experience as an art director and teacher to challenge, coach and inspire you to look at work, the world and yourself in a different way, or at least critically and analytically.’

Intended cooperation start: March 2023

Designstudio Lotte van Laatum – Haptonomie van het maken

Working with clay, weaving, felting using the buttocks… with the physically and/or mentally disabled, this often leads to something beautiful at multiple levels, as Lotte van Laatum discovered. The healthcare organisation Cordaan in Amsterdam has engaged her services as a social designer to develop and design products for meaningful daytime activities in workshops and ateliers that allow participants to work on their personal and professional growth. Lotte says: ’I noticed that the use of certain materials and techniques not only gives the makers more self-confidence, but that there is also a corporal aspect to it: working with the senses contributes to their well-being.’ How exactly does that work within a care context? Lotte wishes to investigate that question in more depth through a design research project, Haptonomie van het maken [The Haptonomy of Creation]. In this project, she would like to collaborate with you: an experimental maker with knowledge and experience in the area of materials and techniques, who can and wants to try out all kinds of things in a hands-on manner.

Lotte wants to work with you to refine the format, which is currently still general in nature. In broad terms, she envisages two phases. Phase one: to work out the design with the help of behavioural scientists, physiotherapists and the staff of Cordaan, as well as through literature study and knowledge-gathering at relevant institutes. In phase two, the design-centric and sensory study of well-being, Lotte and you will work with existing materials and techniques and experiment with new methods, together with a number of participants. If you speak Dutch, that will prove useful, but it is not a requirement. Are you interested in collaborating with a unique group of Amsterdammers? Then respond to this profile! Lotte and you will compile the results of your research into a publication or other format. After your participation in Building Talent, Cordaan offers scope for you to further work out the development of product experiments in a professional (paid) context.

Intended collaboration start: 1 March 2023

Fillip Studios – Aera Fabrica & Auxetic Architecture

Are you a young and curious architecture talent with a passion for 3D and other digital design techniques, construction and material research? And does the idea of figuring out how artistic projects and innovative techniques can take architecture to a new level excite you? Then this project at research platform Pi Lab is perfect for you. Pi Lab (founded in 2020) is Fillip Studios’ way of bridging the gap between design, science and technology: artists, scientists and engineers work together to research the new creative, innovative opportunities that mathematics and physics have to offer. In this collaboration, you will be involved with aera fabrica and adaptable auxetics, two unique techniques. The first heats up 3D-printed objects and blows them up, increasing their volume. Heating them up again causes them to shrink back to their original size. In adaptable auxetics, an algorithm develops optimised random auxetic structures that grow wider when pulled on lengthwise. Pi Lab collaborates with universities, knowledge institutes, museums and businesses. Previous Aera Fabrica and Adaptable Auxetics projects have resulted in new medical applications (at the micro level) and artworks (meso).

Now, Fillip Studios hopes to take its first big step at the macro level: using aera fabrica and adaptable auxetics in architecture. And you could be part of it! The mission of the founders, designer Roos Meerman and artist Tom Kortbeek, is ’to turn wonder into impact – because progress starts with wonder.’ They look forward to a collaboration that will be founded on sharing expertise and discovering new insights together. On that basis, they hope to enrich both their own professional practice and yours. A spot will be open for you every day for the duration of four months. You will perform design research with two designers, an industrial designer and a communications officer, researching your way towards the creation of digital or physical designs, prototypes and maquettes. Fillip Studios hopes that this co-production will not only lead to a great result, but will also expand both parties’ network of professionals.

Intended collaboration start: 1 March 2023

Geert Nellen – Playable Explainers

To game while gaining understanding: that’s what Geert Nellen has in mind. With Playable Explainers, this innovative game designer intends to take complicated social themes and explain them for a wide audience, including youths, in a playful manner. ’With traditional news messages that use text and images, it is often difficult to really offer insight into the underlying systems and causal effects, with all the numbers and figures involved. It’s like a formula in a maths book, and you’re somehow expected to instantly understand all applications of that formula. But the truth is that you won’t really learn its application until you do the maths exercises. That’s more or less how the Playable Explainers work. They are short, interactive and – at times – abstract games, framed as a digital newspaper, that turn complex issues into something you can come to understand in just a few minutes each. They even give users the feeling that they have reached that understanding on their own.’

Geert’s mission is to start a media company with an editorial board that critically considers which complex topics are in need of more explanation. The Building Talent project is part of this process’s preparatory phase. Are you a beginning design talent with research experience, for example a virtual designer or a maker in another creative industry sub-discipline? Are you socially motivated, with a fresh perspective on media, an open attitude towards interactive design, and perhaps even experience in the design and development of software? Then take up this challenge to spend four months collaborating with a game designer to develop the first playable explainer. During this design assignment, you and the game designer will choose a topic, about which you will then collect relevant data as a researcher. After that, you will closely collaborate with the game designer to create a design. Throughout the entire process you will receive guidance from Geert. With his fourteen years of experience in interactive design, there is a lot you can learn from him.

Intended collaboration start: March 2023

Hellen van Rees – Restart Materials

Do you have a passion for fashion? Would you like to help build a beautiful, sustainable world as a junior designer? Then Restart Materials might be just what you are looking for. Adding value to materials, to products and for customers is the central tenet of Hellen van Rees’s autonomous fashion and textile design studio. The brand works according to circular principles and distinguishes itself with slow fashion and accessories for women. Because it uses leftover and recycled materials, the collection is very recognisable. The processed materials have a vibrant look, yet remain wearable thanks to their simple silhouettes. One of the sources of waste textiles is a weaving mill, which supplies fabrics containing defects or irregularities. ’Something that is not homogenous and does not meet the standards of the mass industry is not necessarily of poor quality,’ says Hellen. ’We do the opposite and use the defect or irregularity as a design element. That way, large scale/mass and small scale/niche can supplement each other.’

In the project Going Circular Going Cellulose, Hellen collaborated with the ArtEZ Fashion and Product Design research groups to take the first steps towards a material-driven approach to fashion. The next step is to work this out further into a practical system through which products can be put together in a flexible and highly detailed manner. In the project Restart Materials, you will use previously collected literature, tools and interviews to map out combinations of materials. Together with Hellen, you will design modular products that effectively incorporate common design elements (such as manufacturing defects) into designs. Not unlike solving a puzzle, you will connect technical limitations and possibilities with aesthetics and complete products. This will result in a decision tree containing clear and concise choices to guide workshop staff in their work. The decision tree will be outlined in a publicly available guide for other small design studios. The exchange of knowledge is central to this project. You will learn a great deal about design and circularity, Extended Producer Responsibility, feasibility, design/aesthetics, business models and the business aspects of collections. This experience will prove very helpful to you in the future.

Intended collaboration start: 6 March 2023

Hul le Kes – Waardevermeerdering van afvalstromen

Would you like to help work on a socially responsible, gender-neutral label in a company without a hierarchical structure? Then this project in the workshops of fashion creators Sjaak Hullekes and Sebastiaan Kramer is the perfect fit for you. Hul le Kes develops alternatives for the current fashion system and loves introducing other people to the beauty of imperfections. The Recovery Studio, a social recovery workshop which offers a peaceful environment for manual work, helps both people with mental issues and rejected materials find their way back into society. At Studio Ryn, a production workshop for sustainable clothing, ten mbo (upper secondary vocational) students work to create a bright future, guided by experienced fashion creators. Both workshops engage in upcycling, using old techniques with a modern twist (such as darning and dyeing using plants). Each piece of clothing they produce is unique.

Already, 95% of the materials Hul le Kes uses are existing materials. But there are even more waste flows, techniques and insights out there that could be used to give even more old (and rejected) fabrics a new, sustainable place in an alternative system. In Waardevermeerdering van afvalstromen [Valorisation of Waste Flows], you – a beginning designer with a clear interest in material research and a fresh perspective on the modern fashion system – will research how the already available knowledge can be expanded further. The label currently works with flows that arose from internal needs, and would like to work with an external designer (not necessarily from the field of fashion, all disciplines are welcome) to investigate potential options that are scalable or feasible from a cost perspective. Also, the value increase need not (necessarily) be expressed in terms of money: improvements that fit with the company’s social values are also welcome. As to the added value of this project for you: you get to collaborate with experts who can teach you a great deal about how to create a suitable business model for your own design practice.

Intended collaboration start: 1 March 2023

Jesse Howard i.c.w. Fiction Factory – Found Objects

For the past three years, the business-to-business interior construction company Fiction Factory has focused on production through circular techniques. The amount of waste produced is still large, however, and 78% of it consists of wood leftovers from digital production using CNC machines. These machines enable rapid production of custom interiors, but also waste the equivalent of 2000 sheets of new wood material per year. What a shame! Found Objects is a project that has much to offer at various levels for you as a beginning designer and/or maker. You will study innovative methods and actively help brainstorm functional uses for waste wood. Are you skilled at 3D design, with knowledge about parametric design and digital fabrication? And do you enjoy hands-on work with physical materials? Then you will be most welcome at Fiction Factory.

In its battle against waste, the Amsterdam-based company is collaborating with designer and educator Jesse Howard and the Institute of Advanced Architecture Catalonia (IAAC) to create open-source hardware and software solutions. ’We are researching methods to analyse and use the leftover space on wood sheets before production begins. Since the exact quantity and shape of sheet material is always changing, we focus on parametrically designed objects, whose shapes are determined by the removed waste. As a starter, you will be introduced to and experiment with the digital tools that we have developed. These tools are based on Rhinoceros 3D and Grasshopper, but you do not need any specific software or programming experience, because we will fully support you with our knowledge and experience. Meanwhile, we also hope to learn from you. Will you share with us your design proposals for processes that can be used to transform waste wood into useful components? In this way, we will work together to create a clear framework and a series of design instruments and principles that will hopefully also help other businesses anticipate and reduce their waste.’

Intended collaboration start: March 2023

Joel Galvez – Shaping Events Data, Staying Up To Date without Social Media

A few years ago, Joel Galvez quit Facebook. He found that he did not miss it at all, except for the events calendar that showed everything there was to do in the city. This gave the independent web designer and developer the idea to present event dates in such a way that people can stay up to date without being forced to participate in social media. In other words: to publicise the schedule dates that are constantly being written on the websites of theatres, galleries and other venues. Thus was born his digital brainchild, Recently, Public Spaces (.net) and Waag (.org) started a similar project on a bigger scale: Open Cultuurdata (Open Culture Dates). In 2023, Joel and these two organisations will consolidate their data. For his project in this context, I’d like to know what’s going on, Joel is looking for a young, critical designer with an interest in platforms and interfaces to help him realise this. Someone who is not afraid to give their opinion.

It would be particularly helpful if you come from the field of visual/graphic design, research/media theory or technology/open data and protocols. Joel elaborates: ’We will probably talk about social media and how things could be different while working on a tangible project with a concrete result.’ In that collaboration, Joel is especially interested in a fresh perspective on what can be done with the existing data. ’I imagine that we will spend a third or so of our time exchanging thoughts about that, and two thirds on building the project. I’d like to know what’s going on is a design project, but for the most part it will involve coding. It is therefore important that you find coding interesting. You don’t have to be good at it, but you must at least have tried it often enough that you know you enjoy it.’

Intended collaboration start: 4 April 2023

KETTER&Co – Ervaarbaar erfgoed; de rol van de vrouw in het veenlandschap

The moorland pastures of Friesland embody ancient stories about the relationship between man and land. Due to declining groundwater levels, the subsidence of the peatland meadows and the nitrogen issue, this area is under strain. KETTER&Co – a collective consisting of an artist, designers, and an anthropologist and culture historian – wants to initiate a debate about heritage, experience and sustainability. A central part of that is a search for new perspectives. ’Heated debates often keep repeating the same perspectives: farmer versus nature, regulation versus entrepreneurship. The visible stories about the relationship between man and moorland are often about men. But what about the women? Investigating their role is the starting point of the Ervaarbaar erfgoed [Experiencable Heritage] project. For a young designer like you, this is the perfect opportunity to contribute in a tangible way to an urgent social debate.’

KETTER&Co wants to use design methodologies to reveal a different side to the stories. In Ervaarbaar erfgoed, that side is: how were women involved in the manufacturing and production industry that grew up around the Frisian moorland pastures? Did their roles change throughout the years, or not? As a starter with research experience, you will help conduct this research. KETTER&Co likes to work with young designers, and have done so for many years. They are looking for an eager person with an affinity with women, the landscape and sustainability. ’Also, you need to be a conceptual thinker. You will give your own interpretation to the project by developing a proposal for design research methods that can be used to disentangle conflicts of interest. It is important that you are able to work and think in an informed manner on the basis of a given context. The results of the design research will be combined with already existing elements (such as the concept of a wholesome “peat spa”) and given a place in the dialogue about the landscape, maybe even the landscape itself. In this educational project, you will collaborate with governments, organisations and experienced designers. Your new insights will undoubtedly lead to surprising projects. A true win-win situation!’

Intended collaboration start: 2 March 2023

KRAFT architecten – Ongezien erfgoed

World War II and the historic Battle of Arnhem are deeply engraved upon our collective memory. Everyone knows the bridge where the battle took place. The same cannot be said of cultural/military heritage from the Cold War, however. The physical remains and complex structures from this period are known to very few people, as are the stories. Arno Geesink, a partner at KRAFT architecten, is fascinated by history, especially the history of conflict and the traces that war and military threats leave behind. He has collaborated on various research projects and a publication about heritage bunkers from the Cold War. The Ongezien oorlogserfgoed [Unseen War Heritage] project focuses on Meinerswijk in Arnhem, a nature reserve that came about because it was for many years a secret part of the IJsellinie defence line, and would have been intentionally flooded in the event of war. In the future, this landscape will be redeveloped as a city park, which will attract large numbers of visitors. All of this makes it a great location for a research project. Spatial design is particularly suited to highlighting and explaining heritage in inspiring ways. Will you lend your skills to this fascinating assignment?

KRAFT is looking for a design talent with a capacity for free artistic design – this is more important than specialised architectural knowledge. A talent who not only appreciates the value of history, but who can above all contribute to a strong team through their affinity with communication, experience and leisure – in other words, who can add value to the project’s final result. This will take the form of a proposal for a spatial representation of the relatively unknown historic context within a natural and leisure environment, one that contributes to a maximally inclusive form of public commemoration in a public space. Kraft has performed the theoretical preparation (research into inclusive experiences of difficult-to-communicate conflict heritage) in collaboration with the Heritage Studies department of Amsterdam’s Vrije Universiteit; you will find this to be an invaluable foundation for your work. This valuable project will teach you the importance of historic awareness in the realisation of designs for the redevelopment of sensitive cultural heritage, as well as other complex issues in the areas of leisure and/or communication.

Intended collaboration start: March 2023

Kukka – Blended Fibres

What do you need in order to turn physical fabrics into digital materials and designs? That is the question that Kukka, an innovative design practice focusing on textiles and patterns, asks in its research project Blended Fibres. As a beginning designer, this collaboration offers you the opportunity to actively contribute to experimental research and the development of a 3D design method. Laura Luchtman, founder of Kukka, explains: ’In fashion and architecture, 3D design and visualisation are on the rise, but the field of textile design is lagging behind. Programs for weaving, knitting and embroidery are all still 2D. I would like to collaborate with you to research how we can design textiles using 3D software, and how we can translate our 2D designs into lifelike 3D designs. Our collaboration will involve the exchange of knowledge and the development of a new design method that enables virtual weaving and knitting. The big challenge in that regard will be to visualise a tactile material like textile in such a way that you can almost feel it.’

The research project Blended Fibres offers a great deal of room for experimentation. You and Laura will begin by studying various different textiles. Based on this visual information, you will identify the most important characteristics of these materials before moving on to touch and sound: does what you feel and hear fit with what you saw? These findings will form the ’vocabulary’ that will serve as the basis of the 3D design, which you will subsequently work out into digital materials and methods. Experience with 3D design software is required; a certain degree of experience with creative coding would be useful. Having a (basic) knowledge of textiles would be an added benefit, but is not strictly necessary. There will be more than enough for you to learn in Kukka’s studio, which shares a dynamic environment with dozens of other professional workshops: the fashion hotbed of De Wasserij in Rotterdam!

Intended collaboration start: March 2023

Lisa Konno – Artisan Diaries

In this unifying project, your contribution as a researcher, social designer, graphic designer or illustrator is absolutely invaluable. You will be in charge of making the expertise of artisans widely accessible, helping preserve artful techniques with beautiful results. And that is important, because all around the world, traditional crafts are disappearing – something that Lisa Konno finds deeply tragic. With her project Artisan Diaries, she wants to investigate which traditional crafts in the Japanese and/or Dutch textile industries are at risk of being lost, and what skills the last members of the oldest living generation still possess. Recurrent themes in Lisa’s works are cultural identity, sustainability and activism. This is also the case in Artisan Diaries, which is a protest against monoculture and a plea for individual, diverse makership. The project contributes to Lisa’s ambition as a fashion designer not to sell clothing on a massive scale, but to share stories and knowledge.

Does this excite you? Then get involved! In Artisan Diaries, Lisa’s focus is on the overarching concept and the research. She will also be incorporating the artisans’ techniques into her own designs. Lisa primarily works with tactile materials, such as textiles and ceramics, which she often converts into moving images. As a beginning talent, you will complement her expertise with your graphic or illustrative qualities. An affinity with mapping out processes or creating infographics and graphics is preferred. Your main duty and biggest strength: to visualise the steps and instructions required to practice an artisan’s craft in a coherent, inspiring way. Together with other partners, Lisa and you will seek a modern, original method for the preservation of makers and techniques. This may for example take the form of a book, video tutorials, a lesson package or a series of works created in collaboration with the artisans.

Intended collaboration start: March 2023

MAF.Studio – Blackbox 2050

Many people who visit any given temporary exhibit in a museum probably never stop to consider the carbon footprint their visit creates. Educative experience exhibitions these days fight for the attention of a varied audience, growing ever larger in size and shorter in duration to attract as many different people as possible who keep coming back to see the next exhibition. Productions often rotate from museum to museum, as well. However, because each location is different, the constructed part of the exhibition is often not reusable, and the only parts of the exhibition that actually travel from museum to museum are the collection and the media productions. Not exactly a shining example of circularity! With its interdisciplinary project Blackbox 2050,, an idiosyncratic exhibition design studio that focuses on creating narrative spatial experiences, wants to create awareness and offer stakeholders a potential, sustainable solution that will inspire change in the not-quite-green field of exhibitions. Will you, as a research design talent, help make this a reality?

Are you a young architect with an affinity with spatial exhibition design? Then this project is right up your alley! In the development process for Blackbox 2050, wants to work with you to analyse what a sustainable infrastructure or spatial standard for temporary exhibition spaces might look like. How can high-quality educational experiences in museums be constructed with modular materials that can be fully reused and, ultimately, recycled? In the first weeks (of the total four months) of the project, you will exchange ideas with relevant stakeholders and experts in the area of museum productions and sustainability. After this extensive exploration, you will work out the project’s vision into a concept that will ultimately be communicated in a powerful way. Your strengths: experience in the area of architecture (possibly urban planning), an interest in scenography and communication technology and, of course, a passion for sustainability. Starters from other (unexpected) fields with fresh ideas are also encouraged to apply. Right now, the options are still very much open!

Intended collaboration start: April 2023

RGBdog – Homegrown In(ter)dependence

How can we reduce our dependence on the Internet tech giants and increase our virtual self-sufficiency? This tantalising question forms the core of Homegrown In(ter)dependence, a web- and community-driven project whose goal is digital independence. The driving force behind the project is Soyun Park, an interdisciplinary artist and designer and co-founder of RGBdog, a creative non-profit studio that develops healthy technology at the intersection of art, music, and design. Together with you, a starting technological design talent, Soyun wants to research the possibilities of digital tools that are easy to make and use at home, even for people without any programming experience. She wishes to collaborate with a critical mind who shares an urgency to facilitate care in a digital society. Someone who wants to combine their skill of programming with Soyun’s knowledge of visual communication, general technology, and production. Web experience (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, CMS) is a must; knowledge of computer electronics, Python and Linux is a significant plus.

The collaboration will involve experimentation with hardware and software as well as online and offline tools that increase digital independence. A homemade server station running on Linux that securely stores information, for example. The purpose of the project is to make this knowledge as accessible as possible on the web. ’That is why we will also research how to reach and assist people with limited access to good internet connectivity, non-English speakers, and visually and hearing-impaired people,’ Soyun explains. ’After that, we will place the information and instructions for the creation of digital tools on the Homegrown In(ter)dependence website using simple language and an intuitive UI. That goes for everything, from the explanation of technical terms to the required materials. We will possibly also organise two workshops to test the functionality and user-friendliness of the information on the website with adults and teens, and subsequently reflect on the results. This collaboration is not just about building something together – I hope we will come to new insights and are able to contribute to each other’s thoughts to develop the project more meaningfully.’

Intended collaboration start: March 2023

Roosje Klap – Systems of Post-Signature

LAWKI (screenshot), ARK (Braddock Clarke, Roosje Klap, Zgierska), 2019

Are you a digitally savvy, artistic, progressive, curious and multifaceted designer/researcher? Do you love the idea of realising an online radio series, and do you know how to do it? Then you are just the person that ARK’s Roosje Klap is looking for! In the project Systems of Post-Signature, you will dive into the world of automated technologies driven by AI and ML. Artists and designers are increasingly using these technologies in their processes, and this affects not only the daily decisions they have to make, but also the process and the results themselves. Many creations these days have similar looks, because their makers used the same templates. After all, when the algorithms behind the software are mysterious things that cannot be read, let alone altered, designers can only design on the basis of predetermined options. But then how are such works any way original? And who – or what – is really the author of the work? Roosje wants you to shed light on this fascinating question as you develop the radio series.

The fantasy of automated labour has been explored by scientists, artists, designers and science fiction writers for thousands of years. Aristotle already predicted the creation of instruments that could do ’their own work.’ Now, more than 2000 years later, machines have learned how to design and create their own artworks. But does that exempt creatives from making creative decisions? You will follow three descriptive approaches – History, Ethics and Magic – to determine the most important sources of automated creative technology in creative practices, research how commoning can provide the developing creative automated technology with information, and evaluate the effectiveness of artists’ and designers’ responses to the evolution of automated creative practice. The resultant radio series will be published on a website. You might also be interested to know that the research phase will involve a visit to the Warburg Institute in London, dedicated to the German historian and cultural theorist who was an enormous source of inspiration to Roosje.

Intended collaboration start: 1 March 2023

Siba Sahabi – Persephone

Death: a subject that Western society prefers not to talk about. It’s an uncomfortable topic, a taboo. Grief for the loss of a lost loved one, friend or family member is almost invisible in our society, even though it is a theme that greatly affects all of our lives. With her new project, Persephone, Siba Sahabi wants to make the mourning process visible and, as a result, easier to talk about. In her design and research practice, the German-Iranian designer dedicates her efforts to interdisciplinary, intercultural, social issues. She is also a senior lecturer at the Willem de Kooning Academie’s department of product design. ’I get a lot of satisfaction and energy from guiding young designers,’ Siba says. ’The exchange of knowledge, experience and perception always results in valuable insights, both for the young designers and for myself.’

Are you a talented beginning designer with a wide range of interests who identifies as a maker and has a good deal of technical experience with CAD programs and the working processes of wood and metal workshops? Someone who is not only interested in design, but in social impact as well? Then this position in Siba’s atelier is perfect for you! You will work on this challenging assignment, beginning with an extensive sociocultural study of the farewell, mourning and remembrance rituals of the 21st century. After that, you will ’translate’ the knowledge you have gathered into a contemporary installation or intervention. Siba is currently still looking for a hospice or funeral home where the artwork can be realised. When she has found one, you will analyse the possibilities and limitations of the location, then move on to the development of the project and research into suitable production techniques and the manner in which the project will be produced. The final result will be an artwork that shows how beautiful grief can be. Will you help Siba Sahabi portray this beauty?

Intended collaboration start: 7 March 2023

SMELT – Uitgeput: een interventie voor boeren en burgers

Last year, the Rotterdam-based social design studio SMELT developed the project Relatietherapie tussen stad en platteland [Relationship Therapy Between City and Countryside], a performative experience in which city dwellers were paired off with farmers. The TV programme VPRO Tegenlicht proclaimed the Studio as a pioneer of connection, and indeed connecting is what Dorian Kingma and Myrthe Krepel do. Uitgeput: een interventie voor boeren en burgers [Exhausted: an Intervention for Farmers and Citizens] is no different in that regard; in fact, it is a continuation of the previous project. SMELT encourages self-examination, the discovery of meaning, and reflection on the challenges our society faces. ’Instead of coming up with a ‘solution,’ you can think of our interventions as creative methods or experimental studies that encourage participants to seek out their own discomfort,’ Dorian says. ’We believe that doing so is necessary for change. With our current project, we want to create an experience in which the city and the countryside are not stood across from each other, but side by side. The theme is the exhaustion and exploitation of people and the Earth – something that affects us all, and therefore connects us all.’ Are you a starting maker, and are you as socially engaged as Dorian and Myrthe? Then sign up for this project!

SMELT’s social design projects contain elements of performance, theatre, graphic and spatial design, and audio. For Uitgeput, Dorian and Myrthe intend to research, in collaboration with you and through experimentation, how performativity can contribute to an even better experience. The intervention they have in mind is an interactive one: the audience are not just spectators, but participants. Activation is a key concept. The project will be considered successful if it succeeds at making farmers and citizens reflect on the food system, which is based on exhaustion and exploitation. What can we do to fight back against this together? SMELT is looking for a talent with experience in designing similar interventions. Makers from a variety of disciplines are welcome to apply.

Intended collaboration start: March 2023

Studio Kornelia Dimitrova – Temporary Spaces of Care

How can small green spaces contribute to the well-being of a city? This was the question that Kornelia Dimitrova sought to answer with Stadsoever, an initiative that uses temporary physical interventions and activities to research the programmatic and spatial transformation of a green strip in the centre of Eindhoven that, until recently, had been completely forgotten. This project yielded a series of insights regarding future uses for this area and similar locations. Studio Kornelia Dimitrova operates at the intersection of architecture and social design, with a thematic focus on resilience and care. Temporary Spaces of Care represents the design/research practice’s intention to expand its repertoire of real-life prototyping interventions. ’The development of public spaces in the Netherlands often takes place through long-term initiatives,’ Kornelia says. ’The public used to play only a modest role in that regard, but these days citizen participation has been given a more prominent position.’

What temporary interventions can we use to enable experimental participative processes for the development of public spaces that promote mental health? That is the central question of Temporary Spaces of Care. Will you contribute your ideas as a beginning design talent with an interest in the social aspect of spatial objects? ’Through collaboration with, say, a designer or maker of furniture, pavilions, decors or maquettes, I can step beyond hands-on design work and approach the concept from a different perspective,’ Kornelia explains. ’For your creative skills to flourish, it is important that you have the room to do so. But I also want to guide you and set clear design targets. I have three project phases in mind. We will conduct field research, investigating and documenting ten existing formal and informal spaces of care in the city and analysing them to determine what they consist of and how they are used. We will then use those insights to create three to five prototype designs for temporary interventions, which we will photograph and incorporate into collages, resulting in a repertoire of potential spatial experiments.’

Intended collaboration start: 30 March 2023

Studio Florentijn Hofman – Living Skin

Would you like to help make ambitious green plans a reality? Then the project Living Skin might be just what you are looking for. The public sculptures that the internationally operating Studio Florentijn Hofman creates are gigantic. Due to this surrealist appearance, the statues hold an enormous appeal. They inspire discussions, create connection and encourage people to pay attention to their surroundings. Now, Studio Florentijn Hofman wishes to use its sculptures to give a boost not just to people, but also to nature. With the project Living Skin, the studio intends to reinforce the biodiversity of future public space. How? By giving its statues a skin made from natural materials. A skin that people can touch. A skin that attracts insects. Will you help make this unique project flourish?

A key part of this project is the establishment of a Living Skin Lab. As part of a team of internal and external specialists, you will spend at least one day per week researching the topics of soil, nature and insects, and search for suitable materials for the natural skin. The results will serve as a basis for practical tests and experiments, which may even lead to the realisation of a sculpture. Studio Florentijn Hofman would like to collaborate with a designer who is up to date on the development of sustainable materials and techniques and has an affinity with art, architecture, design, fashion and traditional craft techniques. A starting talent who dares to think and produce on a large scale, who does not eschew traditional crafts, knows how to think outside the box and likes to lose themselves in a subject in order to reach new insights. Are you that kind of person? Then you will find the project room’s door wide open! The same goes for the door to the Artist in Residence’s accommodation, where you may stay if desired.

Intended collaboration start: March 2023

Studio Laura Koenen – Raak.Mij

Are you – a beginning social designer, design researcher and/or product designer with a pronounced visual aesthetic ­– bold enough to step into unknown territory? Then join social designer Laura Koenen’s new and innovative project Raak.Mij [Touch.Me]. Laura’s mission is to ensure, from a design perspective, that we can grow old without worries. At her Rotterdam-based studio, she uses graphic and product design to shape solutions to social issues. ‘An earlier project, Ken.Mij [Know.Me], revealed that the ”new” elderly – the baby boomers – seem to have a bigger need for a debate around the subject of intimacy,‘ Laura says. ‘When all other forms of connection become less self-evident, the physical connection of touch grows in importance. And when care causes touch to become functional in nature, how do you deal with those needs? Touch.Me investigates how the discussion between dementia patients and care professionals can be conducted in a ”safe” way.‘

Prototype to make talking about intimacy easier
For Raak.Mij, Laura has joined forces with the Expertise Centre for Dementia and Technology, an initiative by TU/e and Alzheimer Nederland. Together with Ans Tummers (PhD candidate), the project will study what contributions warm technology could offer to facilitate conversations around intimacy. Laura has also renewed her collaboration with Vilans, the care and support knowledge organisation with which Laura previously carried out the project Ken.Mij. Naturally, the target demographic itself is also involved, at three care institutions. In this project, Laura and you will spend four months working through various phases to achieve the final result: a report containing preliminary research results and a prototype/outline to serve as food for discussion. You, as a beginning designer, will have an important role to play in the product development. Laura explains: ‘The theme may require a somewhat bolder design than I am used to. I have been working in care as a designer for many years, and organisations trust me. However, that can also cause tunnel vision. Your fresh perspective as a starter is very valuable to me.‘

Intended collaboration start: March 2023

Summum – Supply and Demand! Circular designing based on given Stock?

Although low-rise homes in the Netherlands are still predominantly built in non-circular ways, the government has set a target of 100% circularity in 2050. This means that designs must make optimal use of existing stocks of circular components. How exactly would one do that? As a beginning designer with an interest in the circular construction industry and economy of the Netherlands, Supply and Demand! Circular designing based on given stock? will have you investigate this highly interesting issue. If you have experience with circular and computational design and enjoy creating designs and concepts based on new technology and technological frameworks, Summum Engineering ­– an architectural design, engineering and optimisation firm based in Rotterdam – has an opportunity for you to help build the future of the Netherlands and build your own talent. You will learn a great deal about circular construction and parametric design and modelling as you work on a design and research assignment under the guidance of a senior designer.

Your assignment will centre on the question of how to approach the design (especially parametric design) of building construction on the basis of a given supply of reused, circular components, using live data from online marketplaces such as Matching Materials and Insert Marktplaats, where circular design is currently a time-consuming puzzle based on harvest maps. And what can be done in the period between design and construction? Can materials be reserved and stored until use, and if so, who is responsible for the costs? Or should the entire process from design to construction be reorganised? Through a parametric live connection with online circular platforms, you will take stock of the available components and determine the direction of the design. Throughout the development process, you will receive conceptual and technical support from a senior designer, while architects, designers and other knowledge partners – including former Building Talent 2021, Jung Ghim – will gladly play the role of sounding board. Summum will use the final design to demonstrate the potential of the approach to the world at large.

Intended collaboration start: March 2023

Tsugi Woodworks – Totem ki no (working title)

How can the ancient tradition of totem-making help us make the value of nature into something tangible in this day and age? That is the question around which the current project of designer and woodworker Daan Simons (Tsugi Woodworks) revolves. Totem ki no suggests a contemporary use for the totem: an object that helps us establish a relationship with our surroundings, a spiritual tool made of wood. In addition to being a means of connection, the totems also take the form of connections, or more specifically, joints. ‘I use traditional joinery in my work,‘ says Daan Simons. ‘With this project, I also want to display the beauty of woodworking. Potential subjects for the sculptures I want to work on together are the power of lightning, a connection between man and air, and the Old Wise Man.‘

Finding new forms together
The collaboration will take place at The Joinery in Amsterdam, a workshop, meeting space and hub of development, and will be based on equality. ‘We are going to learn from each other’s expertise. It will be more of an exchange project than a master/pupil relationship.‘ Not just spatial thinkers, but typographers and illustrators are also explicitly welcome to apply.

The project seeks to convert a feeling into a form that, while strongly bordered and contextualized, is not directly figurative. Through collaboration with makers who are used to working in 2D, ideas can take on shape quicker and with fewer resources. ‘I think it would be very exciting to enter into a dialogue and to encourage a designer used to applied work to step beyond the borders of professional practice by learning to work spatially, with the physical, living material of wood.‘ If this appeals to you, seize your chance now and get involved with this remarkable design project.

Intended collaboration start: 1 March 2023

supplying an application

Excited about one of the proposals? Then read the Open Call Building Talent for starting makers and designers and the Open Call Grant Scheme to determine whether you meet the formal requirements. You have until 7 December to submit an application.