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DDW19 Ambassadors' Dinner

19 December 2019

A nineteenth-century church is the backdrop for the Ambassadors' Dinner 2019. The design duo Studio Drift, comprising Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta, have organized this special dinner in their role as DDW Ambassador. A moment for encounters, wonderment and beauty, now and for future editions.

The table seats a broad selection from the national and international world of design

The Paterskerk church, built in 1890, is still being refurbished, with forklift trucks hidden under black sheets, but this only contributes to the special atmosphere. The guests are seated at three long tables in the nave, lit in green light, the theme colour of the eighteenth edition of Dutch Design Week (DDW).

DDW19 Ambassador Studio DRIFT: Lonneke Gordijn & Ralph Nauta

Ambassador Lonneke Gordijn takes the floor to talk about the history of Studio Drift. How they met as students at Design Academy Eindhoven and how they have formed a studio together for just over 10 years. It was hard work to get this far, a lot of trial and error. But they learned a lot and improved. She openly hinted that although their romantic partnership had petered out, their creative one was stronger than it had ever been. Together they make dreams come true, Ralph confirmed in his speech.

The table seats a broad selection from the national and international world of design. Of course with the DDW19 ambassadors present: Alice Rawsthorn, Jalila Essaïdi, members of Stefano Boeri's studio and Studio Drift. Or as Martijn Paulen, director of Dutch Design Foundation puts it: 'Seated here are the ambassadors of the past, but also of the future'. Martijn thinks this should become the first of an annual tradition. A moment to meet and inspire each other.

The Dutch design world is represented by young talents like Simone Post, winner of the Dutch Design Award 2019 in the category 'Young Designer', Enrichers Alissa+Nienke, and VANTOT. There were also more established names such as Aart van Asseldonk, responsible for the redesign of the church, Maarten Baas, Sabine Marcelis, and Kiki&Joost, whose new studio was opened earlier that Saturday by the Alderman for Culture.

DDW18 ambassador Wendy Plomp

DDW ambassadors are creative spirits who propel the entire design world forwards. They know how to motivate and connect the creative world with society. Last year, Wendy Plomp was one of the ambassadors. Through her collective Dutch Invertuals she offers young designers a stage. This is a conviction shared by Job van den Berg. As a promising talent, he is one of the younger contenders at the dinner. "Wendy is not a designer, but a true connector, someone who brings many designers together and promotes them."

Then the light goes out and the church is thrown into darkness. What follows is a magical presentation. High in the nave, Studio Drift has installed their installation Shylight. One by one, the light objects folded from fabric fall reluctantly from the heights, to then return to their original position. They are objects with the appearance of futuristic sea creatures. They combine warm beauty with cold technology. Accompanied by music composed by the DJ especially for this event. Resulting in a mystical and supernatural manifestation.

Shy Lights by Studio DRIFT

This mystical aspect is also picked out by DELA director Edzo Doeve. Although the church is still in the midst of a complete renovation, the funeral insurance company DELA, supported by a group of 4 million members, wants to transform this church into something special. A place where people gather. A place for celebrating significant moments like marriages or funerals, but also for contemplating and reflecting on the meaning of life. 

He is transforming this church into a ceremonial church: a place to marvel at what really matters. And he sees this aspect in the work by Studio Drift. "With an eye for beauty, they combine technology and art." According to Doeve, this is where the strength of Studio Drift's work lies: "Without wonder, technology is pointless." This is why he has purchased two special, permanent installations from Studio Drift for the church. "Beauty is everywhere, as long as you're open to it."

Close-up DDW19 Ambassador's Dinner
© Hutten

Chef Sam van Hutten sees this beauty in nature. The dinner he has created has three courses. Real change starts with yourself and so the dinner is completely vegetarian, but full of creative combinations. And this was the undertone of the evening. The dinner brings wonderment, beauty and creativity together. A promising first step for this fine tradition.