May 16, Margriet Vollenberg, founder of Ventura Projects, and director of Organisation in Design, will take part in the WantedDesign Manhattan Conversations Serie: Design and Cultural Identity. WantedDesign Conversations is a three-day platform and dialogue, moderated by Paul Makovsky, Editorial and Brand Director at Metropolis Magazine. Next to Margriet; Philippe Grohe, VP Design Management, Hansgrohe SE and Torbjørn Anderssen from Anderssen & Voll are also lined up in the program.
Time: 12 – 1 PM
Room: Conversation Room at Grimshaw
Meet Margriet Vollenberg
All text is retrieved from Organisation in Design
Entrepreneur Margriet Vollenberg, the brain behind Ventura Projects, has got both the right qualities: a grand sense of adventure and the prudence to do business wisely. Her sense of adventure prompted Margriet to follow the Belgian rock band dEUS to Milan, where an internship was waiting for her as well. Her business instinct ensures that now, sixteen years on, she still spends a large part of her time in the design capital of the world. Her mission: bringing designers out into the world.
Ventura Projects takes its name from the Italian word for adventure. “I knew for sure that after working as a jewellery designer for five years, I would return to the Netherlands. At the same time I also knew that Milan would keep calling me back.” In Ventura, Margriet finds the best of both worlds. “I don’t really have a suitable label for Ventura. It’s a festival, a trade fair and an exhibition all rolled into one. It’s reminiscent of the Dutch festivals, which have long diversified from just music into other fields as well.” Ventura is a curated design event and every year it attracts over 100,000 visitors during the Salone de Mobile in Milan, but besides this it also takes place in other parts of the world such as London, Berlin and Kort rijk in Belgium.
Even though the successful Ventura event is now enjoying its seventh edition, Margriet still has to explain to her Italian colleagues why she makes things so difficult for herself. Why not just focus on purely Dutch designs? “Of course I have my roots in Dutch Design, and at the international level I experience time and again what a fantastic reputation Dutch designers have, but the dream is bigger than this.” Margriet also emphatically agrees that the term ‘Dutch Design’ cuts both ways: “Dutch Design doesn’t only apply to vdesigners who actually come from the Netherlands, and moreover you risk not doing justice to designers by trying to lump them all together under one title. They are individualists, with their own ways of thinking and creating. Sure, there are Dutch elements, we’re a country of pioneers and you can see that reflected, but with Ventura I want to create a platform for all new designers. I have good reasons for cooperating a lot with academies, but I like retaining the freedom to work with everyone: from Mexico to Japan.” That’s certainly an ambitious goal, but Ventura has been putting this into practice year after year. Interest in this special Dutch colony continues to grow, led by blond Margriet, working in the Milan district of Lambrate far from the feverish trade-fair atmosphere of the Salone. “Every year we get more applications than we have places. I handle the selection.” Margriet searches for words to explain how she selects participants. “I stretch out my antennae, look at sketches, and call designers to clarify issues. It’s kind of an instinctive thing almost impossible to explain. As a designer you live in the future, and that applies to me, too. Sometimes I may set aside five potential exhibitors without initiall y having a clear reason for bringing them together. In the end they always turn out to have factors in common that create connections between them.”
The successes of her exhibitors are Margriet’s successes. “Now I have an exhibitor returning to Ventura Lambrate after five years. Last time proved so successful that it led to years of success.” Such examples and stories are what Ventura is all about. “I think it’s an example of how the profession of designer has evolved. From industrial designer, to product designer, to concept designer.” The sky’s the limit as regards the next stop on the line, predicts Margriet. “Every company needs designers. Look at major players like Airbnb and Uber designers are involved here. Concepts, ideas, corporate strategies, you won’t really find any specialist fields where design can’t give you added value.
About Wanted Design Conversations
The Conversation series at WantedDesign is a three-day program co-presented with Metropolis Magazine and hosted in the Conversation Room at Grimshaw. WantedDesign is a place where ideas are discussed and the public can engage with professionals to better understand design culture and business. Given that, design has always been about collaborations and encounters. The Conversation Series is the ideal place to get together, confront and ponder views on the international scene of design. This year, the conversation series will explore new prospective themes, like: design and science, design and cultural identity and the future of making.
About Ventura – The Dutch Edition
Ventura Projects is proud to present Ventura New York – the Dutch edition. Fourteen emerging Dutch designers showcase their qualities and unique vision at WantedDesign Manhattan during NYCXDESIGN 2016. Redefining what Dutch Design means today from a foreign point of view, we collaborated with Ventura Projects to offer the participating designers acces to the American market. Laying groundwork for years to come, Ventura Projects hopes to establish a Dutch settlement for young Dutch designtalent in New York City. The carefully selected projects offer nothing but the latest, cutting edge design from the Netherlands. Visitors can expect beautifully designed products, cross disciplinary projects and innovative material research, all in one exhibition. Let the new generation Dutch designers please stand up!