Dutch design thinkers on stage: Van Eijk & Van der Lubbe at the Design Indaba 2016

With a laser-sharp focus on the future, Dutch designers Miriam van der Lubbe and Niels van Eijk are on the pulse of concept design. Big on idea-driven design, Van Eijk & Van der Lubbe is a creative studio that specializes in concept development, product design and spatial design. Miriam van der Lubbe and Niels van Eijk are the pioneering duo behind the studio’s trail of exceptional work, which includes a futuristic car and multiple exhibitions around the world. They create meaningful designs and give life and form to every area or product they work with.
Van Eijk studied mechanical engineering in Helmond and then went on to graduate from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 1997. His partner, van der Lubbe, studied at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki, the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam and the Design Academy Eindhoven. As Van Eijk & Van der Lubbe, the two designers joined forces in 1998 and have been working and designing for cultural institutions and businesses ever since.
During the Design Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa, we asked the designing couple questions about what (Dutch) design thinking means to them.

Q: What do you think is a typical Dutch approach to design – and does this apply to yourself too?

“Dutch designers have a no-nonsense and analytical, conceptual approach towards design. In our perspective it is interesting to analyse a broader perspective and to see what it can actually mean to someone else, to push the envelope, open people’s eyes and make a contribution to an open debate. We are always looking for the bigger picture.”


Q: How would you define design-thinking?

“Well… personally, we see it as a method to accomplish the above- we question everything there is to question, we look into the topic on a broader perspective, place it into different context or turn the weakness into the strength. Design thinking is about redefining values, being able to turn any given fact, then to step back to let the options come out. It is about looking for possibilities and not looking for answers.”


Q: What is the importance of an international conference like Design Indaba? 

“It is interesting and important to hear, see and meet other people, designers, creatives, decision makers of any other culture or background; it gives an energy of positivity and renewing thoughts. It will work as a conscious for your own work and as an inspiration to others.”


Q: How can design-thinking contribute to creating solutions for a better world?

“We believe, it is almost the only way. But not only by designers. We believe in the dynamic of getting the right people with the right knowledge of the right disciplines together, add at least 25% of creatives and the sky will be the limit. Knowledge, experience combined with out-of thebox thinking and creativity are change makers.”

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