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Corona update

24 April 2020

In a single swipe, our world has shrunk, we social distance, stay home, and our relationship with the world outside is now via a screen. Bizarre times, that can change from day to day.

Above all, it is a time in which there are more questions than answers. What will the future look like? What can we and are we permitted to do? What role is there for design here? Questions we are constantly asking ourselves here at Dutch Design Foundation. Through this update, we would like to share our insights on our current position and shed a little light on the question we are asked on a daily basis: will Dutch Design Week (DDW) be taking place?

Each year, we organise DDW together with all of you. So, to be able to answer this question, it is important that we understand the wishes and needs of the design community and our partners. Over the last few weeks, we have spoken to many of you about what is going on in the design field now, but also about the coming months and the long term. We hear grave concerns. Chiefly concerns about the consequences for society, but also about the design industry and your design practices. We understand and share these concerns, so we are seeking the best path to contribute something meaningful.

What we also hear is hope: hope for a new future, for significant new forms and connections. And of course hope of visibility, work and commissions. DDF believes that the design community is able to offer perspective. Particularly in complicated times. Conversations with you all underpin our conviction that realising DDW is relevant this year too. Perhaps more relevant than ever. Which is why we are working very hard to make DDW20 happen. Together with all designers, partners and sponsors who also want to give it their all.

Dutch Design Week 2020

We are working on various physical and virtual scenarios. We are following the guidelines for national coronavirus policies and we will have to take the 1.5 metre social distancing into account. On the one hand we are focusing on a meaningful physical DDW that, due to circumstances, will be different to previous editions. It would be naive at the moment to think that we could have 350,000 visitors running free for 9 days around exhibitions in Eindhoven. Together with the designers, we will have to find a form that will suit this year, in which everything revolves around relevance for the participants.
In addition, we are currently exploring a digital – virtual route. In search of new ways to offer designers a good platform and to facilitate valuable connections. For the time being, we are assuming a combination of physical and digital, with one strengthening the other. 
We will be announcing the opening date for the ‘Call for Entries’ very soon. Until this time, if you have questions, plans and ideas, please contact us through Or contact one of the Programme Managers directly.

What if Lab: Client seeks designer

We realise that this is a particularly difficult time for the design industry. In conversations we are hearing most especially a need for commissions. In addition to the two routes mentioned above, we are also going to push for the development of commissions. Our What if Lab programme already brings designers and clients together, but at the beginning of June we will accelerate the launch of a digital platform with a number of key partners. A platform to connect clients to designers with tangible paid commissions. We challenge public and private partners to bring forth design commissions. For example, issues concerning design solutions for 1.5 metre social distancing.
This will not provide work for the entire creative industry, but hopefully it will provide good examples to inspire potential clients, so that they are quicker to involve designers in their policy or innovative issues and that this becomes a habit.

Dutch Design Foundation

DDF comprises various labels, each with their own objectives and plans for the year. In addition to DDW and What if Lab, we also organise Dutch Design Awards (DDA) and World Design Embassies (WDE). The coronavirus and the adaptations concerning DDW20 influence these labels too. 

We have extended the DDA ‘Call for Entries’ until 25 May, and the registration costs have been reduced to EUR 0. The Awards Night and exhibition will observe the measures. With World Design Embassies we are working with partners on the design of the innovation clusters concerning social issues for 2020 and beyond. Here, we are also committed to involve designers in the development of solutions together with our partners. 

We do it together!

However difficult the situation is, together we are the design industry. In conversations we too feel the enormous blow, but we are also experiencing a fighting spirit. We are adaptive when needs are great and limitations the toughest. As an industry we cannot save the world, but we can certainly make a significant and meaningful contribution. We will be ploughing all our resources and efforts into the positioning of creativity, not as something that you can economise on, but as an essential strength for offering true perspective.
Which is why we were proud to sign the splendid letter by Klaas Burger: the rediscovery of creativity.
Dear designers and partners, we wish you the very best of luck, health and a good dose of faith in the future! 
DDF Team