Skip to Content Skip to Search Go to Top Navigation Go to Side Menu

"collaboration" Tag

Design in Collaboration

Wednesday, February 13, 2019


The following text is based on an interview I had with designer Adriaan Mellegers and the artist Emmeline de Mooij about the book "Art in Therapy", design, art and the relationship between those two fields.


Adriaan Mellegers

Emmeline de Mooij

Yelske Luit


So how did you start making this book? I assume Centraal Museum Utrecht wanted a book after Emmeline’s work?

They wanted a book because I did a series of performances commissioned by them, and of course nothing physical remained after this piece. So we really wanted a good record of this work.

Was it immediately clear that Adriaan was going to design it?

Yes, I think I immediately proposed that. I could decide everything myself; who made the book, who filmed etc.

     Edwin Jacobs, the former director of the museum, really trusted us with this project, it was like a warm bath.

  But I think that’s one of the positive sides of working for yourself or with friends. When you have a client, they can sometimes differ in their vision or ideas.

That can be interesting, but it can also go badly.

So where do you start, when you have this open slate?

   The project had a quite clear structure, and it was quickly clear that we wanted to have the text from the five performances in two languages [Dutch and English]. So it was a lot of text.

         We also had some film stills and portraits from the performance.

     So those are your “ingredients”, your content, and then you start thinking about what kind of book you want. That process is partly conceptual and partly intuitive.

I thought it would be cool if it had a monumental size, quite big, because it would refer to a patient dossier.

I chose to represent the text very clear. The two languages have a different font, but they come from the same font family, Trivia.

I made the letters bigger, to convey some intimacy.

And while he thinks of all this stuff, how much have you [Emmeline] been involved? Do you give feedback after the decision is made, or do you make it together?

I left it up to him, but he showed it a lot during the progress. I was very happy you could think of those things, like that the photos should be on a different paper.

But we still talked about it a lot. There was hardly anything that I didn’t like.

Did it ever happen that you saw a design for your work and you felt like it didn’t look right, or didn’t represent your work? Or does it almost become a work in itself?

Yes it does happen, but it’s usually something small.

I think you’re quite flexible.

I think it’s important to let go when you involve someone else. That you don’t control the other person, give them freedom.

So you also give some autonomy to the designer?

Yes. But it still has to communicate what you initially wanted. It can’t suddenly go in a different direction, so I have to be clear about what the story is.

So that is the risk you take by doing that. You can give them freedom, but you can’t just let it happen. 

I can imagine it’s very different with a client.

Very much so. When it’s an institutional client, they have a more clear vision or policy of how they want to communicate. You always have to get in a discussion if your idea or vision could happen.

It’s also often a lot more political, because there are other interests and parties involved.

So you could say that in the relationship between art and design, when you work for an artist the story is up to the artist, but how it is communicated is more up to the designer. However when you work with a client, this how is also controlled by the client?

It’s possible in both options, it has a lot to do with how you work as a designer. I want people to work with me because they think I make good works, not just because I provide a service.

When you work with an institutional client, you want them to have the same attitude. But there are a lot of interests at play, so sometimes the collaboration goes smoothly, and other times it doesn’t. That’s part of it. 

It can both be fun though, and I wouldn’t want to only work for artist, because those processes can last a very long time.

And I like the challenge of working for an institution, and that the end product is seen by a lot of people.

So working with both, the variety is pleasant.



Emmeline de Mooij: Art in Therapy. design by Adriaan Mellegers, Rietveld library number: 708.4 the 1


Tuesday, April 1, 2014



Esther Frank* and Kjersti Alm Eriksen and NicolasChuard and Salomé Roodenburg* on functionality


Each project that students initiate, makes them into temporary experts on given topics. Art & Design schools then become knowledge hubs where different expertise cross fertilize. By looking at what types of research students engage in, Designresearch and UnBornLab organized a 'workshop' to investigate design matters from a students' perspective.

Through a series of short video's students from both the Foundation Year and the DesignLab department share ideas, focusing on the temporary expertise gained as part of their projects, rather than the outcome. The workshop was articulated around one of their given assignments. Students were asked to develop a specific object or context to help focus or explain content.

The format is clear: two persons, discussions, filmed from above.
the space is : two stools and a table.

* Foundation Year


Fascinating confusion

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

After a long walk on the frozen canals of Amsterdam we arrived at “Fashion and Foam”, where the hot stove welcomed us. We took a seat on the stove to warm our selves. When my toes ware thawed and my fingers not purple anymore I discovered something interesting, two life-size pictures of a man. On the left picture the man is dressed in a long black coat with a cowl and a long black cloth draped on the floor. The only visible thing of this man is his long black beard and his right hand. The right picture is exactly the same positioned the only difference is the color of the clothing. In this picture the man is wearing grey. The same tint grey as the curtain on the background. Both pictures are printed on fabric that hangs from the sealing and lays draped on the floor. Because of this it looks like the two men are really standing in this room.

 I found that fascinating, artists who play with what you see, mysterious and exciting because the men looked so real, and still so unreachable. This made me very curious about who the artists were and what else they would make.

After a second wintry hike I arrived at home. After a cup of very hot chocolate I decided to google these two mysterious artists thoroughly. I was curious if their work was still in relation with the Gerrit Rietveld Academy. The result of this search session was an enormous amount of surrealistic photo-series containing a lot of optical illusions. Every picture the duo makes asks the viewer lots of questions. Is this photoshopped or is it reality? Is this 3D or flat? How does the face of the person on the picture look like? Is this old or newly made? Is it art or fashion? And these questions don’t stop, they keep coming when you’re looking at their work. I began to wonder who these artists really are and where they get their inspirations from.

Carmen Freudenthal was born in 1965 in Utrecht. Form 1983 till 1988 she studied Photography at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy. She lives in Amsterdam, as well ass her colleague Elle Verhagen. Elle Verhagen was born in 1962 in Gemert, and also studied from 1983 till 1988 at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, instead of photography she did Fashion, but she was always very interested in photography. They started working together after their graduation, and are still doing that up till this moment. Their work combines fine art photography with fashion, surreal imagery with brutal reality.

Often, their inspiration comes from fashion. Elle collects clothing she likes and finds interesting because of its shape or texture., while Carmen lets her fantasy go free towards connecting in formal language. Their models are not selected by their beauty, the only important thing is; they should be uncommon! Sometimes the photo shoots are taking a few days, because the pictures have to be perfect. But after these shoots the duo is not finished yet. They adapt their work to three-dimensional collages, which transform into spatial sculptures with a surrealistic touch. Elle; ”For us everything that happens after the photo shoot is at least as important. After that we can start cutting, pasting and creating. We transform!” mostly their works becomes tree-dimensional, sometimes it stays flat. They work with Photoshop but mix that often with other techniques, this often creates these optical illusions because you do not understand anymore what you see.


But photo series is not the only thing Carmen and Elle make. They have also done different installations and short films. Their most recent short film is; “dear Mr/Mrs” and was made for ArtEZ fashion masters.


This film raises question, is intriguing and quite confusing. The main person in this short film is Ray van Haaren. His face is not really manly, pretty feminine so to say. He is wearing a wig, make up and sometimes a dress, this makes you wonder if you are looking at a man or a lady. Carmen and Elle are very good in creating this confusion, but they don’t go to far. Their work stays subtle. I think that is very special and recurrent in their work.

In collaboration with fashion designers, performers and other artists they create various different works. But is it still very recognizable because of their typical humorist approximation of the daily life and their unmistakable own style. This makes quite clear on which academy Elle and Carmen had studied. An academy which stands for the freedom in development of your own approach.  The Gerrit Rietveld Academy aims to support talented young people. The academy want students to create independently, so that they can grow and develop their individual style. the enormous amount of different cultures that study at the academy creates a Gathering of  cultural aspects in art as well. This is something which you can very clearly see in the work of Freudenthal and Verhagen. look for example at this work ;

A lot of different people with different skin colors and different kinds of clothing, some look a bit folkloric. some are afraid of the “ghosts” and others dance with them. I think these kind of works can only be created by artist who studied on an academy with many cultures and such a freedom as the Rietveld Academie. Typical aspects that are very visible in the works of Elle and Carmen. I think these aspects of the academy are really good, and now already after studying for one year at it myself I can tell that I have learned and developed so much because of them.

Experimental interview

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What is the connection between Experimental Jetset, Johannes Schwartz and Herman Verkerk?
Besides the fact that they are all based in Amsterdam, that they can speak Dutch, they all like to create beautiful and witty designs or images, they like to question their practice, they like to experiment and they actually teamed up together several times, another crucial connection appeared recently: the three of them are going to participate to a collective interview project…

After discovering more about their work, it became obvious that there was something interesting to investigate about their collaboration. What make several people or entities meet and work together? Are they alike or on the contrary, are they so different that they complement each other…?

For that reason, we interviewed them using the same process:

We visited Johannes Schwartz, Experimental Jetset and Herman Verkerk, carrying with us this suitcase. Inside the suitcase, many different objects. Each interviewee was invited to open the suitcase, to browse through it and to freely react to the objects they found in it.

The results were surprising, exciting and very interesting. But when it comes to decide what brought the three of them together and where they meet… you are left free to listen to the interviews and to make up your own mind!

Experimental Jetset, Johannes Schwartz or Herman Verkerk

Log in