Looking back on ten days of activities in Eindhoven it is fair to say that What Design Can Do’s footprint on the Dutch Design Week / World Design Event has been noticeable. Many people visited the WDCD Embassy of Climate Action where the 35 nominated projects of the Climate Action Challenge were exhibited. Some 200 people also attended our Climate Action Dinner at Radio Royaal restaurant.

For the past ten days, the city of Eindhoven in the south of the Netherlands has been the centre of the design world, attracting more than 335,000 visitors. Most of them passed by the WDCD Embassy of Climate Action in the Klokgebouw, one of the main venues of the Dutch Design Week. Our team, dressed in red overalls, guided individual visitors and many groups through the exhibition.

Several of the (Dutch) nominees also passed by. Lilian van Stekelenburg and Fons Sweegers, inventors of the Circular Temple Project, came to tell us that already the nomination of the project had helped draw attention to the proposal that links a sustainable lifestyle to religion in Asia. ‘Our post about the nomination was shared by the Dutch ambassador in Taiwan,’ Van Stekelenburg told. ‘Someone from Singapore saw this and contacted us to express his interest in running the project in Singapore. So the nomination alone has already helped us.’

Food lab

Cascoland passed by with the entire team to celebrate the nomination of their project Keepers, Rainforest Lab & Kitchen. Founded by Fiona de Bell and Roel Schoenmakers, Cascoland is an international network of artists, architects, designers and performers sharing a fascination for interdisciplinary interventions in public space aiming at a more ecological and socially sustainable society. In Mexico the group now plans to open a lab where scientists, farmers and food specialists are brought together to discuss the future of food production in the rainforest.

Marjan van Aubel spoke passionately about her project Power Plant, a greenhouse that harvests both food and energy and Fien Dekker brought one of her Rain(a)Way tiles to the embassy as a demonstration model.

Left overs and foraged food

On Tuesday night some 200 people joined us for dinner at restaurant Radio Royaal, located in a former industrial building in Eindhoven. At the request of WDCD the owner Niels Wouters together with chefs Sander Overeinder (As & Vuurtoreneiland) and Benny Blisto (BAK) prepared us a menu that gave an idea of how the culinary world could adapt to a changing climate.

This Climate Action Dinner consisted of tastefully processed left overs (toasted bread with spent brewer’s grains and a salsa of stems, seeds and rapeseed), sustainably cultivated and foraged ingredients (leek, seaweed, snails, sorrel and purslane). The first course was a sinful dish consisting of a small piece of Wagyu beef with Kaluga caviar. A more decadent and sustainably incorrect dish is hard to conceive, but the dinner guest will likely have difficulty forgetting its incredibly delicious taste.

Climate Action Survey

Meanwhile, our roving reporter Kuno Terwindt roamed the Dutch Design Week to find out how willing designers and attendees are to combat climate change. His amusingly informative reports were shown on monitors at the embassy and can also be seen on our Facebook page.

At the same time,  visitors of the Embassy of Climate Action completed surveys loaded onto iPads. It was clear that almost 90% are very or somewhat concerned about the effects of climate change. Around 40% think that we are not doing enough to prevent climate change while another 45% think the opposite. The embassy visitors where predominantly optimistic that things will eventually be solved, though, with almost 80% more or less convinced that we can reduce climate change.

WDCD agrees and thinks that design and creativity can play a big role in coping with the impacts of climate change and curbing the phenomenon itself. The 35 nominated challenge projects are proof of that and we’ll do everything in our power to support the final winners in making their ideas a reality. We can’t wait!

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