what is your special position?
The committee describes the portfolio of social designer, communication designer and dentist Kuang-Yi Ku (Studio Ku) as special and idiosyncratic. It is also intrigued by the proposal for 'Millenium Ginseng Project'. Kuang-Yi Ku is developing a futuristic agricultural system to cultivate ginseng under extreme conditions. The project aims to protect endangered plant species and preserve traditional Asian medicine as heritage. The committee appreciates how Kuang-Yi Ku is developing new interdisciplinary research methods that link design and science. In this proposal, it saw Kuang-Yi Ku's various qualities come together.
what makes your project urgent?
Commonplace Studio is working with the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Dresden on a study of ways to utilize design for a new, more social role for museums and a new, relevant narrative about the history of applied art. For this purpose, they are designing new digital media that can be used flexibly and sensitively to tell a more topical and agenda-setting story about the museum's permanent collection. The committee sees finding new forms for telling stories about design and applied art as an urgent task. It expects the research to generate important information for this task.
for museums and institutions
The projects by institutions and museums that are receiving grants show how designers are deployed to add value to an exhibition where design plays a central role.
For the 'Family' exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, designer Manon van Hoeckel was asked to carry out research and to set up a project to bring various families in Schiedam in contact with each other. The research eventually led to the establishment of a hairdresser's in the museum, where visitors could get a free haircut and enter into conversation with other visitors. Hairdressers play an important social role in society; they provide a listening ear and give space for conversation and encounters with 'the other'. The committee sees the role of Manon van Hoeckel as a distinctive contribution to the public reach of the exhibition.
In the Amsterdam Museum's application for 'Fashion Statements', an exhibition with a peripheral programme on fashion, identity and statements from past and present, the committee appreciated the involvement of the curator and designers in the composition of the exhibition programme. Eight contemporary fashion designers were invited to respond to fashion statements from the past and show how these expressions play a role in their own design practice. The committee was positive about the way in which the designers draw on their own experiences to reflect on themes such as identity and diversity. On display in the Amsterdam Museum from 18 April.
In [email protected]'s research project 'Ghosts', the committee appreciated the focus on makers, craftsmen and the workplace. Fifty works created in the work centre over the past fifty years were selected by design historian and critic Glenn Adamson. This selection represents different aspects of and tensions between craftsmanship, technology, experiment, failure, innovation and design quality. The white reproductions of the works, which were created using new digital techniques, are a reflection on fifty years of making, experimenting and innovating with ceramics. In the committee's opinion, this set-up provides relevant new insights into technology and developments for the discipline. The result of the project can be seen in the Design Museum Den Bosch until 19 May.
The following are the closing dates for the Grant Programme for Design in 2019: 27 March, 5 June, 14 August and 16 October. The total budget available for 2019 is € 1,200,000.
Photo: Jef Montes, Marinero
In addition to my own research and the work at TextielLab, I often work on behalf of major brands. They ask me to develop new products or to set up research for them. I don't approach anyone, but through Instagram people have been able to find me in the last three years since I graduated.' During those three years, Suzanne has increasingly determined her own course and that sometimes takes courage. For instance, she has rejected a number of great offers from major brands. 'Of course, a job provides security and you feel honoured to be asked. But I find building my own business more attractive. I work on so many enjoyable projects and it's achieving success,' explains Suzanne.
In order to invest as much time as possible in her research and to accelerate the development of her own practice, Suzanne applied for a talent development grant from the Creative Industries Fund NL. And to get some support in the collaboration projects with large companies, she became a member of the BNO. 'When you start working together with large, internationally operating companies, you suddenly have to deal with non-disclosure agreements and the tax systems of other countries. The working grant from the Fund enables me to invest in my own development and gives a boost to building up my company. The grant gives me space to work on my visibility and network. In terms of professional content, in the past year I have delved into the software of flat knitting machines and have carried out a great deal of material research. When I applied for the grant, I did ask others for feedback on the development plan that had to be written for it. You shouldn't be too cautious about doing that and it can be extremely useful. I thought it was important to stay close to myself and to write down what I really wanted. I know from others that they sometimes experience a threshold when applying for a grant like this. But there's no need for that whatsoever. A new opportunity always comes along.'
The next step in building her own practice is in sight. Suzanne is discussing merging her studio with someone else's and setting up her work in a larger way as a result. She wants to present herself even more as a hybrid designer and to develop herself in technical respect. The aim remains to highlight all the facets of textiles, both functional and technical.
You can find out more about the Creative Industries Fund NL's Talent Development working grant here. Are you curious about everyone who received support in recent years via the Grant Programme for Talent Development? Platform Talent provides an overview of all the supported designers and makers.
This interview is the last in a series of three. Previously we interviewed Marjan van Aubel and Koos Breen (Dutch only).
Photo above: Daniël Ernst – Diorama no. 4