“Almost a full year now, right?” Jonas Althaus wonders. “It feels like more than a year has passed in a way, after winning the award.” Martina Huynh: “Dutch Design Awards 2022 was the perfect moment to celebrate the work of the last years before winning the award but also gave us the confidence to take on challenges that are necessary to move forward. Even though it's the award for young designers, I feel like it really helped us feel landed in the design community.”
Althaus: “Previously, we were strongly following our interests when choosing topics. We were jumping from project to project. Being part of Dutch Design Awards allowed us to take a breather and question ourselves: all our projects have very different topics, but what is it that they have in common?”
“The juryrapport stated that: "the skill of mediating complex information and experience is what Cream and Chrome does very well.” It's something we talked about internally, but when we read it like this, it helped us to position ourselves” Huynh says. “We use installations, but how can we use all the installations that we did in the past and activate them more to a broader audience?” Althaus: “In the last months, we have tried to focus more on designing workshops and other participatory formats. We engage people in collective experiences where we are present as a host, to guide people through, and be part of our work.”
DDA x EY Award
“It is not that what we do now is very different from what we did before, it's how we see and talk about what we do that has changed. Dutch Design Awards and especially the EY coaching track, allowed us to add a layer of reflection to our work” says Althaus.
“As an autonomous design studio, we are in need of feedback from people that are outside of our bubble. That is the reason why we were keen on winning the DDA x EY award: we were really interested in their coaching track” says Huynh. Althaus: “during the coaching, EY asked us some very important, fundamental questions. Questions that are super hard to answer, to be honest.” “But it's not like the answer was the goal, it's more the process of thinking about it and developing it that matters. Once EY helped us find the right questions to ask ourselves, we needed to bring those into our work and projects, into our network of friends and other professionals to really digest it” Huynh continues.
Keep An Eye Foundation
Althaus: “When we were asked to present a plan of what we wanted to do with the Keep An Eye Foundation price grant, it made us realize that there was a potential budget that we could spend on tools and software courses that would boost our skills. Over the years, we always said that next month we'll make space for experiments. But then, being able to invest in our development gave us a lot of motivation to finally get started.
“It was a crucial moment to prioritize specific developments. It required us to put the most important things we wanted to do on paper. And that alone was already super helpful”, says Huynh. “That’s when we decided to dive deeper into innovative phygital interactions and e.g. learn how to make convincing Augmented Reality experiences.”
Huynh: “I feel like this year has been a year of collaborations. It is easier to collaborate now our practice is more defined. We can speak from a certain position, and have a specific role in the team.” “Winning these awards gives us the feeling we're backed up, and allows us to take risks. It gives us the freedom to further invest in our practice. To explore beyond the horizon and discover new possibilities”, concludes Althaus.
Admire all of this year’s winning and nominated designs at the Dutch Design Awards 2023 exhibition during DDW.