Dutch Creativity Festival

Get into motion and re-think the future

VBAT Refreshing
Oct 2, 2019 · 9 min read

by Heather Svoboda and Pleun van Oosterhout
Senior Designer and Junior Designer at VBAT

Recently, we went to the Dutch Creativity Festival which took place at The Student Hotel in Amsterdam. This Festival is arranged by the ADCN (Art Directors Club Netherlands). Their goal is to make creative learning inclusive for all. They intend to unite the leading creative thinkers, makers, curators, entrepreneurs, studios, agencies, brands, platforms, NGO’s an all disciplines & fields.


The different sessions had speakers which where challenging new frontiers. To name a few Natwerk, Rijksmuseum, Kesselskramer, Mediamonks, Vanmoof, Idfa, RNDR, Studio Frolic, Marcel Wanders, MassiveMusic, Wieden+Kennedy, Studio Dumbar, Thonik, Thnk, 72andsunny, Hansje van Halem, Postpanic, Halal, Marije Vogelzang, Patta, De correspondent, De Speld, Codam, Oma, Philips design, The new original, Tu Delft and many more. Since there was so much to see we decided to split up and see as much as possible.


Q: What & who did we see?

Heather: The first session I saw was from the future sessions | creativity x design: Andrew Spitz from Frolic Studio and Jeroen Barendse from RNDR (Before Lust + Lustlab). Secondly, I saw from the craft sessions | creativity x music: MassiveMusic (Brian Barth & Cece Wyldeck) & Wieden+Kennedy (Eric Quennoy & Mark Bernath) in a panel discussion. And last but not least from the craft sessions | creativity x motion design: Studio Dumbar (Demo festival November 2019), Thonik (Holland Festival) & Jurriaan Hos.

Pleun: I started the day with a Master Session|creativity x arts with Frankey from Natwerk and Jonathan Bikker from the Rijksmuseum. After that we immediately went on to | creativity x advertising with Erik Kessels from Kessels-Kamer and Wesley ter Haar from Mediamonks. From there I joined the Craft Session|creativity x motion design.

Q: Can you give a short summery what the sessions were about?

Session #1

Heather: My first session was about creativity + design. In this session 2 studio’s with a very different approach presented work. First up was Frolic studio who asked themselves; Why replace your things just because they’re not state-of-the-art? And came up with the ‘Smarticians. Smarten up the things you love.’ Smartians are cloud-connected motors that breathe new life into the things around you. They make from old devises smart devices. Which has a positive effect on the waste problem. Besides that, it can be a huge help for people with reduced abilities.

Next speaker was Jeroen Barendse from RNDR. RNDR is a design studio for interactive media that develops ‘tools’ that are only finished by how they are used. To achieve this, they develop processes, create structures, design visualisations, code programs, and create interactions. The end result can manifest itself across different media, ranging from interactive installations, data visualisations, generative identities, prints and everything in between — often real-time. They are triggered by how information and technology transforms networks, cultures, societies, relationships, behaviours, and interactions between people.

One of their core projects, and basis for most of our projects, is OPENRNDR, an open source framework for creative coding –written in Kotlin for the JVM– with over seven years of development, that simplifies writing real-time audio-visual interactive software. OPENRNDR is fundamental for the work and software capacity of RNDR as a studio, as it allows us to realize complex interactive works.

Other examples:

Museum of the Future

No Code-Shelter

Open Highway

Type Dynamics

Pleun: The first session was such a bright one to start the day with. Jonathan Bikker told us about Rembrandt van Rijn. I loved how he was passionate with art history and how he told about what a rebel Rembrandt was. Rembrandt was one of the first with his own techniques and leaving this out of a picture. The first one with a ‘selfie’, and the first one who played with light.

The next speaker was Frankey, and the whole audience was immediately enthusiastic. The way he presented, and how he comes up with his ideas was hilarious and so smart. It was inspiring that he doesn’t think in limits, but in possibilities and just does what he loves. How cliché, but true. He told us that everything can be interesting, just combine something normal with something not normal and it will become not normal. Just place things in a supermarket in unusual places, like e.g. vegetables with wine. And just make up a new product, you will be surprised what you’ll come up with. You should visit this website for his work and to understand his way of thinking, and make sure to browse his personal website, too.

Session #2

Pleun: The presentation of Wesley ter Haar from Mediamonks was about the new generation and how VR and that kind of tools are taking over the internet — or not. He told us that every bigger company is now working with VR and how Amazon, Apple and Samsung are investing in Alexa, Siri and Iris. How you can incorporate these voice assistants into your home and how they will help you with anything. They are undoubtedly important for advertising, too.

Erik Kessels shared in a very engaging presentation, which started out how he worked at a company where the atmosphere was not that shiny. He and his colleague thought it would be fun to come at work in a chicken suit and next day he was fired. This was the start of KesselsKramer. Erik Kessels always stayed true to himself and just did what he thought was right. When clients were shitty, he just didn’t work with them.

I like how he looks at the world. Eric collects strange things that are beautiful in their own way. He collects pictures that ‘failed’, holiday pictures, and makes books out of them. It’s so random that it’s makes sense in a way.

The thing I enjoyed the most was the Hans Brinker budget hotel. The worst hotel in Amsterdam, really. Erik Kessels created campaigns for this client, just honest campaigns, hilarious. The hotel doubled their bookings, but didn’t do anything to improve the space.

The second session was a panel discussion moderated by MassiveMusic with Wieden+Kennedy’s executive creative directors Eric Quennoy & Mark Bernath.

The topic was about the art, craft and synergy of film & music. What happens when you put them together? How do they elevate and support each other? We saw the making of Heineken, Facebook & Sol commercials. An inspiring panel talk.

Heineken — The Odyssey (2014)

Heineken — The Entrance (2011)

Heineken — The Date (2011)

Heineken — The Date (THE MAKING OF)


Session #3

Heather & Pleun: The last session was about creativity x motion. The first speakers where from Studio Dumbar. Stan Haanappel and Christopher Noort were shining some energetic light on the growing role of motion design. Their talk was based around the origin and the identity of Demo Festival, an international celebration of motion design in the public domain. Demo Festival is a festival which will be held on the 7th of November 2019 at Central Station Amsterdam on 80 screens. In their talk, Stan and Christopher introduced us to the designers that will be featured at demo festival.

Then Roy Terhorst from Thonik took over. Roy talked about his experimental work which he experimented at home. He used these experiments into design concepts for clients such as Holland Festival, VPRO and power station of art. Its nice to see how the design process starts with motion and then gets translated into stills.

The last talk we followed was by Jurriaan Hos. Jurriaan is famous for his collaborations with other illustrators & designers. What I found interesting is that his projects vary from commercial to cultural. Think of clients like Nike, Shiseido, Heineken and festivals like ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ and ‘Lowlands’. It was beautiful to see a how fulfilled he is from his collaborations, bringing his ideas to the next level.

Q: What is the thing that struck you most?

Heather: Don’t forget to question, learn something new, be curious and just do it!

Pleun: Do what you love to do, failing is OK, and makes you unique. Some rebelling is allowed, even Rembrandt did it.

Q: Do you see a relation between the different sessions?

Heather: Re-think the future and get moving.

Pleun: All the designers who presented were passionate and emphasised what I mentioned above:

do what you love, dare to fail. Keep searching for new unexpected.

Q: In your opinion; What can we learn from what you saw?

Heather: Motion! We need to get in motion. We are now at the beginning of an era where moving content will dominant our daily lives more and more and it will only become bigger.

We must re-think our current standards. Re-think the future. Re-think how brands will be recognized and behave. Re-think how we tell stories.

Static and movement will become juxtaposed. Get on board now! Play and have fun while doing it!

Pleun: Stay true to your creativity, be confident and dare to fail.

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written by Heather Svoboda and Pleun van Oosterhout, Senior Designer and Junior Designer at VBAT
edited by Connie Fluhme, PR at VBAT

Inside VBAT

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Inside VBAT

Weekly blog posts by Creatives from VBAT, on different topics related to Retail, Branding, Packaging, Innovation and Design in and around Amsterdam.