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Meet the beacons

19 September 2023

© Beacons: Yinka Ilori, Stefan Diez, and Neele and Sanne Kistemaker - DDW23 - Almicheal Fraay
Whereas Dutch Design Week (DDW) used to appoint two or three ambassadors each year until last year, we are now exploring a different format. This year, Dutch Design Week invites three designers to serve as beacons. Leading designers, pioneers in their field. These trailblazers serve as kinds of landmarks in the turbulent world of design and are seen as guiding lights for fellow designers, partners, and DDW visitors.

We aim to build on the knowledge, experience and expertise of these beacons to deepen the dialogue within the design field. This year, we will explore together what form(s) this can take, hopefully resulting in a valuable, sustainable connection.

Meet the beacons: Stefan Diez, Yinka Ilori and Sanne and Neele Kistemaker.

© Matthias Ziegler

Stefan Diez

Stefan Diez is a Munich-based industrial designer who creates products for the circular economy. Since founding his studio DIEZ OFFICE in 2002, Stefan has been at the forefront of transforming the ways in which contemporary products are developed and manufactured. 

DIEZ OFFICE works across typologies such as furniture, lighting, architectural elements and accessories, bringing together technical expertise, creative experimentation and a rigorous commitment to sustainability. Stefan’s approach to design is encapsulated in his 10 Circular Design Guidelines, a set of principles that outline how commercially successful products can be both environmentally and socially responsible. Together, these guidelines demonstrate how design can enable meaningful change across industry and society.

In addition to his design work, Stefan has been involved in education since 2008. Since 2018, he has been head of the Industrial Design programme at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, having previously taught at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design, Lund University, and the Kunsthochschule Kassel.

Read the interview with Stefan Diez

© Lewis Khan

Yinka Ilori

Yinka Ilori is a multi-disciplinary artist and designer whose bold visual language draws on his British-Nigerian heritage to convey new narratives through contemporary design. Drawing on Nigerian parables and verbal traditions, Ilori touches on a multitude of themes that resonate with a global audience.

His work is underpinned by the belief that art and design should be accessible to all. Humorous, provocative and playful, his projects demonstrate how design can bring together communities and have a positive impact on society, evoking a sense of joy and optimism. Often using the city as his canvas, he reimagines spaces to encourage a sense of community and invites audiences to engage and participate in his work and its surroundings.

As a graduate of London Metropolitan University’s BA in Furniture and Product Design, Ilori’s work has been showcased globally through solo and group exhibitions, public commissions and set and exhibition design.

Read the interview with Yinka Ilori

© Boudewijn Bollmann


Muzus is a social and service design agency founded by designers Sanne and Neele Kistemaker. Muzus is specialized in creating positive impact on welfare issues and societal transitions, through designs that create urgency and actionability around big themes such as poverty, health, climate change and social security. 

Muzus focuses on societal issues and is one of the agencies that has helped shape this the discipline of social design. The process-based way of working in this domain, with its emphasis on involving the people for whom the design is ultimately intended, has become widely accepted. Muzus is a pioneer in adapting the wide range of design methods and techniques to the field of social design, and an advocate of cooperation with other design disciplines. Over time, Muzus has built up a strong portfolio of solutions around the big challenges in the public domain. Thanks in part to Muzus' projects, policymakers within municipalities, ministries and agencies also discovered how to find the design sector.

In addition to their design work, Neele and Sanne are actively involved in the broader design community. Sanne, aside from her role as a tutor at TU Delft, also serves as a board member of BNO (Beroepsorganisatie Nederlandse Ontwerpers), while Neele is chairman of ClickNL's programme board and a member of the advisory committee OCTAS (Onafhankelijke commissie toekomst arbeidsongeschiktheidsstelsel) at the Ministry of Social Affairs, providing advice on the long-term innovation of the Dutch social security system.

Read the interview with Muzus