WTD "What's the deal?" – A Transnational Project on Young Urban Cultures …


22. October 2014

Young designers vs. big companies – Michael Schoner

by Susanne    Filed under: Amsterdam,Design,Research Reports,VIDEOSComments Off on Young designers vs. big companies – Michael Schoner

Already the third report from our Dutch design research. Today a different voice from 3D designer Michael Schoner. Living in a throw-away society, nothing is designed to last a long time. Does it even matter? Architect turned 3D designer Michael Schoner doubts it. He is German but has been living in Amsterdam for nine years now. In his designs, he explores anything that has to do with 3D, geometry, rhythm or space. Sustainability is not one of his priorities; in fact, he even challenges the idea that young designers can oppose the big companies that set the rules of the industry. Michael Schoner himself for example has designed one chair that is being produced by a sustainable company, but he wonders whether that really makes a difference. The big companies produce so much compared to the young sustainable designers, that it isn’t worth it to take on the “big boys”.

In the beginning of 2015 Coolpolitics/Lokaalmondiaal will be curating an extensive program on design and sustainability in Amsterdam.

Young designers vs. big companies – Michael Schoner from What’s the deal? on Vimeo.

16. October 2014

Re-imagining Design Processes – Borre Akkersdijk

by Susanne    Filed under: Amsterdam,Design,Research ReportsComments Off on Re-imagining Design Processes – Borre Akkersdijk

Today, we are bringing you the second report from our Design research with wunderkind Borre Akkersdijk. How a product comes into being is the single most important thing, according to the designer. Besides the final product itself, of course. That is why his design process doesn’t start with “buying nice fabric and cutting a pattern,” but way before: with the way the product is made. Borre then tackles every step of the production process himself, from the machine, the material to the final creation. Even though sustainability isn’t the very first thing that occupies him when he is designing, it is something he always bears in mind. According to Borre, sSustainability should be considered normal in the production process: “As a designer, you can raise awareness that sustainability should in fact be considered that way: as a normal component of the design process.”

In the beginning of 2015 Coolpolitics/Lokaalmondiaal will be curating an extensive program on design and sustainability in Amsterdam.

Re-imagining Design Processes – Borre Akkersdijk from What’s the deal? on Vimeo.

8. October 2014

Art Intervention: a report form the cross section of Design & Sustainability

by Susanne    Filed under: Amsterdam,Design,Research ReportsComments Off on Art Intervention: a report form the cross section of Design & Sustainability

In the first months of 2014, Coolpolitics has researched the trends, developments and needs from designers around sustainability. We read a lot, visited artists, exhibition and events, and interviewed several designers and artists about the role of designers, their (social) responsibility, the definition and complexity of sustainability as a theme, reuse and upcycling, and the Amsterdam (and Dutch) design community.

With leading artists and designers such as Borre Akkersdijk, Renny Ramakers, Michael Schoner and Marjanne van Helvert we discussed themes as ‘cooperation and networks’, ‘upcycling playfulness’, social design: message meets product’, and ‘old materials and new methods.’ You can read more about about the research in the Art Intervention designreport (ENG) by Amal Al Haag.

Together with Lokaalmondiaal, we have created a series of videoreports, featuring Marjanne van Helvert, Michael Schoner, Borre Akkersdijk, Luc van Hoeckel & Pim van Baarsen, Rickard Engström, Willa Stoutenbeek and Desiree Hammen, where we explore the developments and challenges on the cross section of Design and Sustainability. The coming weeks, we will publish these videoreports here on the WTD blog. We start with textile designer and cultural theorist Marjanne van Helvert, discussing mass produced fashion, artisan methods, the re-use of materials, and her manifesto Dirty Design.

Dirty Design – Marjanne van Helvert from What’s the deal? on Vimeo.

9. September 2014

DESIGN:Lab Reinventing material with Marjanne van Helvert & Janett Sumbera

by Rüdiger    Filed under: Amsterdam,Creative Lab,Events,HalleinComments Off on DESIGN:Lab Reinventing material with Marjanne van Helvert & Janett Sumbera

Introducing one of our SchmiedeLabs in collaboration with WTD

This DesignLab is about reinventing textile materials. The fashion industry is a controversial world where stories and facts about exploitation, pollution and waste have become standard. What are the alternatives? What is possible in times of economic crisis? What are the new technological opportunities? What are the effects on aesthetics and style?


Folder Keyvis reinv 2 Kopie



Marjanne van Helvert is a textile designer and writer from the Netherlands. She holds a Bachelor of Design in Textile Design from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and a Master of Arts in Cultural Studies from the Radboud University Nijmegen. She works according to her Dirty Design philosophy which involves the ethical side of design into the aesthetical side and considers the impact of material, labor, technique and form on both social and natural environment.



Janett Sumbera war Tänzerin, etwa in der Compagnie von Jean-Yves Ginoux in Paris. Die im Tanz entwickelte Suche nach perfekten Formen für individuellen Ausdruck führte zur Entwicklung von Kostümdesigns und Ausstattungen für Theater und Event, zu Installationen und Performances, und schließlich zum Label SUMBERA – upcyclingKleidung.


22. August 2014

SCHMIEDE14: SelfAssembling 11. – 21. September 2014

by Rüdiger    Filed under: Amsterdam,Creative Lab,Events,Hallein,LjubljanaComments Off on SCHMIEDE14: SelfAssembling 11. – 21. September 2014

We are happy to announce that Schmiede14 will feature three Labs in collaboration with What’s the deal:

Electronic Textiles Live Lab with Hannah Perner-Wilson and Mika Satomi

TrikeLab with Muslauf

DesignLab with Marjanne van Helvert and Janett Sumbera

more Information to come…..

in the meantime, have a look at our program:

Schmiede14 SelfAssembling

26. February 2014

Diving into the scenes

by Susanne    Filed under: Amsterdam,Hallein,Ljubljana,Munich,Research ReportsComments Off on Diving into the scenes

 A short update by Susanne (Amsterdam WTD-team)

Before you start something, it’s always a good idea to be well prepared, right? That’s why we decided that the What’s the Deal project needs an International research on the concept of sustainability and the urban arts. As a way for us to pinpoint important developments and opportunities for the project, but also to inspire, and show you more about our scenes and cities! (more about that soon)

The first part of our WTD project is all about delving deeper into all the scenes and checking up on how things stand in the field of sustainability. In our research we are working with the six key-concepts of playfulness, authenticity, continuity, responsibility, tackling problems and belonging / identity. Together, these concepts are the framework for further identifying the role of the individual artists and looking into the development of the art scenes as a whole.

As we speak, our researchers – a group of scientists, curators, trend watchers and artists – are mapping the specific local scenes in each of the four cities. In Amsterdam we focus on people working in the field of design, and we want to take the idea of design in the broadest possible sense. We are checking out graphic designers, fashion designers and industrial designers, but we are also talking to architects and artists working on more conceptual art. In short: every artist working with the idea of sustainability: either in a conceptual or really practical sense.
Munich is working with the skateboarding scenes and urban wasteland, Ljubljana is researching the biking culture, dig culture and anti consumerism way of life, and Schmiede is checking out the digital communities and looking at (local) spatial terms based on interest.

Korinna, Amal, Marcus and Tilen (the research-team) are spotting key players and new talent, talking to the artists involved as well as looking for bigger trends. They also want to take stock of the existing structures and figure out what the needs of the artists are, so we can create activities that make their creativity more visible and enable them to work on themes as sustainability and social design in their own way.

So, if any of you want to add something to our research, bomb us with new ideas, suggest cool artists or simply leave some tips & tricks… you still have some time! Drop a line in the comments and we will contact you!


© WTD 2014
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