‘It’s important to see beyond your discipline. Instead, look at society and dare to ask the right questions.’ says Saskia van Stein, Director at Bureau Europa, a platform for architecture, cultural discourse and design based in Maastricht, the Netherlands. As a presentation and network organization, Bureau Europa presents exhibitions and a slew of other activities in the field of architecture, design, instable media and urbanism. The issues addressed in this institute relate to contemporary societal global urgencies and how these are addressed or expressed in the designed environment.
As a curator, Van Stein spent years working at the Netherlands Architecture Institute in Rotterdam, where she oversaw over 40 exhibitions from 2002 to 2011. With a profound interest in the discourse of exhibition making and the ‘politics of curating’, her work often explores different formats and methods of knowledge production and performative display.
Van Stein was also part of the curatorial team (i.c.w. RAAAF, Jurgen Bey, Barbara Visser and Joost Grootens) responsible for the prize winning Dutch entry for the 2010 Architecture Biennale in Venice, Italy, entitled ‘Vacant NL, Where Architecture Meets Ideas’.
Beyond her curatorial and consultancy practice Van Stein is actively involved in many debates on art, architecture and design, both as a cultural practitioner, writer and as a moderator. Van Stein was chair of the jury for the Prix de Rome 2014, involved in the Pierre Bayle 2015 prize for best architecture critic and is a jury member of The Princess Margriet Award for Culture. The past years she has also been a member of the Dutch Design Awards jury.