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Meet the designers of our future

29 October 2019

De Toekomstbouwers, VPRO
During Dutch Design Week (DDW) 2019, Nadia Moussaid and Martijn Paulen (CEO Dutch Design Foundation) spoke with five up-and-coming design talents in VPRO De Toekomstbouwers (ed. Future Builders), all with ideas and solutions for the world of tomorrow. Who are these future builders? And how will their designs affect our daily lives?

Let's renew society's gears. - Bernhard

De Toekomstbouwers, Bernhard Lenger

Bernhard Lenger

Bernhard Lenger (1991) does not design objects, but instead stimulates social change. Together with his collective We Are, Bernhard questions and reflects on how we deal with the environment, with social minorities, but also with the ethical aspects of advancing technology. In fact, our society has been designed as well and, as far as Bernhard is concerned, it is about time for a redesign. Criminal lawyer Inez Weski tests his endless ambitions against the unruly reality.

Do you want to watch the broadcast with Bernhard (Dutch only)? Check it out here

I'm a makeshift designer. - Thom

De Toekomstbouwers, Thom Bindels

Thom Bindels

Thom Bindels (1992) focuses his work on improving ecosystems in (among other things) third world countries. He has designed a burrowable cardboard garden which initially allows infertile soil to be transformed into a valuable, fertile soil. Climate activist and meteorologist Helga van Leur is listening and thinking about this intervention in nature.

Missed the broadcast with Thom and would like to check it out (Dutch only)? Click here!

I want to make sure this whole process is free of waste. - Emma

De Toekomstbouwers, Emma van der Leest

Emma van der Leest

Emma van der Leest (1991) is a Bio Designer who works with bacteria, fungi and other micro-organisms. She uses these micro-organisms to grow fabrics in order to create sustainable textiles/leather. In the port of Rotterdam she then harvests water bacteria in order to colour these materials in a natural way. Biologist and bio-enthusiast Midas Dekkers thinks along about the possibilities and limits of this circular system.

Want to watch the broadcast with Emma (Dutch only)? Click here!


I integrate natural forces into my designs. - Jólan

De Toekomstbouwers, Jólan van der Wiel

Jólan van der Wiel

Just like Emma, Jólan van der Wiel (1984) sees nature as the ultimate designer, but he does things just that little bit differently. Inspired by and together with nature, Jólan uses the forces of water, wind and magnetism to shape his designs. With his art installation 'Tropic City' he explores how our future life can become more beautiful in a much warmer climate. He approaches climate change as an opportunity instead of a threat. Chef and design lover Yvette van Boven admires and questions his artistic work.

Do you want to watch the broadcast with Jólan (Dutch only)? Click here

Morphing nature could possibly provide a better future for our world. - Kuang-Yi

De Toekomstbouwers, Kuang-Yi Ku

Kuang-Yi Ku

Kuang-Yi Ku (1985), at first educated as a dentist, but later also as a designer at Design Academy Eindhoven where he graduated last year, combines science and art. He often makes provocative designs in which he questions Taiwanese traditions and links them to contemporary design techniques. In his work he often pays special attention to animal welfare and sexual freedom. A couple of his high-profile designs: an artificial tiger penis (his Cum Laude graduation work from Design Academy Eindhoven) and tortured 'wild' ginseng, in the future even including a trip to the moon. Philosopher and writer Stine Jensen looks at how far she is able to keep up with him and where she draws the line.

Do you want to watch the broadcast with Kuang-Yi (available in English)? Click here