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.

18. June 2014

DIY Skateparks / Ghetto Spots

by Marcus    Filed under: Munich,Research Reports,Skateboarding,UncategorizedComments Off on DIY Skateparks / Ghetto Spots

It all started out  in 1990  with a perfect location under the east end of the Burnside Bridge in Portland, Oregon. A group of the local skateboard community started out building their own public skatepark without any permission and approval of the competent supervisory authority. Within the years, the city would eventually see the potential of the park, and in 1998 it was finally granted legal by the public authority. This park shall go down in history as a renegade for DIY-skatepark construction.


DIY Spot

“Like a magnifying glass in the sun, Burnside can witness a concentration of skill level unmatched anywhere.  You can see crazy, crazy things there.  Go, watch, learn, be humbled, excited and inspired.  It is amazing.”  http://www.skateoregon.com/Burnside/Burnside.html


The Burnside bowl counts as a pioneer under the DIY-parks. Ever since this inspiration, DIY- or ghetto-spots bloom all over the world and can be explored in all corners of this globe.

A nice example for innovative DIY-skatearchitecture in Europe ist the so called “2er” park in Hannover/Germany. It continuously is extended and offers space for artistic and creative action in every manner. The park is more or less thought as an open paricipation-project and as a spot for building “social sculptures” as the “2er Skate-association” declares.

Watch this inspiring video of the building of “2er”:  2er Skatpark

It is a long time coming to find something similar to this in Munich. Even though there are plenty of opportunities to skate in Munich, the ONE spot is still missing out, where skaters have room for development of a combined creative prospect of ramps, curves or whatever you can think of. As one of the most eligible spots for building a DIY-spot in Munich counts the back section oft the parking lot under the bridge called „Donnersberger Brücke“. Just as Burnside in Portland, this spot would be roofed and pretty much skateable to every season and weather condition of the year. Due to limited options as it is right now, this spot is unfortunately not very highly frequented throughout the year.

The space under the Donnersberger Brücke would be a perfect spot to overwinter the Nomadic Sculpture, if it wasn’t a private parking lot. But who knows? Maybe the Nomadic Sculpture could be the start of the first DIY-spot in Munich, as long as the city keeps their wrecking ball on hold.

Before fiction becomes reality, the guys of the Munich based skateshop „SHRN“ appropriated the problem of skate-prohibition on certain public spaces and rebuilt a certain part of the court house in Munich. This spot counts as an ideal spot to skate but is just impossible to do so, since security is pretty much aware of the perfectness of the spot to skaters. To skate the spot anyhow, was a goal the guys of “SHRN” wanted to fulfill. So they rebuilt the exact spot out of wood and set it up on the annual skate contest “Munich BE(A)ST”, where the local skaters could finally dedicate this famous spot.



On the weekend of June 27th/28th the second episode of the What’s the deal? project will take place at Candidplatz in Munich. There you will have the chance to see or sakte the Nomadic Sculpture for the first time, which is only built out of sustainable material.

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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