The first time we visited Scheveningen, one of the most famous beaches in the Netherlands, we found the experience unusual and intriguing. Being originally from Rio de Janeiro, we were familiar with other elements, foods, objects, sounds, and rituals. It was exciting to observe the whole user experience: how people arrive, how they select a place to relax, the way they leave, what they bring to the beach, what they eat, how they seat or lay down in the sand, how they interact, and how they protect themselves from the sun – well, they didn’t, at least in that cloudy day.
Then, a few months later, I came across this amazing project named Circular Beach, led by Dutch designer Cleo de Brabander and entrepreneur Ellen Sluis. The project received the support from the Stimulerings Fonds and is on R&D phase. It is “a journey towards creating a beach where all activities, services, and commerce are closed-loop and regenerative by design”.
I had a great chat with Cleo in Rio and met Ellen in Amsterdam in January to discuss opportunities to build a competitive brand strategy for Circular Beach.
Ellen was really kind to answer a few questions:
1. You came back to the Netherlands after living for 6 years in Rio. What kind of bridges between both countries do you believe Dutch design can build?
Brazil and the Netherlands have a long shared history. But when we look at the future, I think design can connect both countries even more. In different ways, Brazilians and the Netherlands are very creative people and I believe that through collaboration and exchanging and sharing knowledge, we can create beautiful innovative solutions to the challenges both countries face.
2. Have any aspect of Brazilian lifestyle somehow influence your creative process? If so, which and how?
I like how in Brazil people are more creative in overcoming challenges. In Brazil, there are so many unstable factors that if you try to map all the risks, you won’t start the project. I have been inspired a lot by the Brazilians and learned to just do it and tackle the challenges along the way. We cannot control everything. I have learned to be more intuitive, less rational and to dream more, and bigger.
3. Circular Beach is quite a project! What kind of legacy you, Cleo and the team intend to build? Imagine we are in 2029. What stories would you tell?
It’s kind of a cliché, but the natural beauty of Brazil is, of course, one of the things I am most passionate about. With the Circular Beach we want to combine fun, fashion/design and sustainable impact in a ludic environment. The beach is a major attraction, so a very interesting place to introduce the concept of circularity, but it is also a place where pollution is very visible, as – especially the urban beaches – are little areas of natural beauty inside a(n) (already polluted) city. In 10 years I would love to see many beaches around the world having made the transition to a Circular Beach, forming a growing network where issues and solutions are shared!
Thanks Ellen, and veel succes!