All Posts By

Raquel Sztejnberg

Alissa Rees photo

Meet Alissa Rees, a Dutch healthcare designer

By | Interview

Interview with Alissa Rees

Alissa Rees photo

Dutch design is gaining a lot of space in the field of societal challenges, having several initiatives and investments implemented in the past years. And there is much more to come. One example is the remarkable work of the designer Alissa Rees. Recently graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2017, she came up with twenty concepts to humanise hospitals, some of them presented at the Dutch Design Week, which later resulted in the book “Humanising the White Building”.

You just came back from the Milan Design Week. What could you share about this experience?

Milan Design week 2018 was a beautiful experience. Sponsored by the kingdom of the Netherlands, I was able, together with 6 other designers, to exhibit my work on a small stand but in a valuable space. I received a lot of positive feedback, it was something different than the visitors normally see at Milan Design Week. There were also visitors a bit confused when entering the room since they were not immediately surprised by shiny or beautiful products. They had to dive into the story and take the time to digest. After sharing my story, my book and my thoughts about how I want to humanise hospitals, the visitors were very enthusiastic. I made good connections and hopefully valuable collaborations for the future. A valuable experience!

On your website ( you mention that “Simple thoughts and ignored emotions are my biggest inspiration”. What else inspires you in your daily life to keep creating beautiful design solutions?

What fascinates me as well are the routines human beings like to play part in. Even though they actually would prefer to get out of this specific routine. Deeply inside we know what makes us happy, but still emotions, such as fears stop us from doing the action leading to our joy. This inspires me to create concepts or products to make people aware of their habits and actions.

Your work implies a lot of observation of human behaviour, right? Any tips on how to become a better observer?

To become a better observer of human behaviour? It starts with interest. Why do people behave like they do? Why are they stuck, happy, annoyed? I love to analyze everything. But I also think that life experience will help to understand people. You maybe think you know what the emotion ‘fear’ feels like, but one emotion has multiple levels. Maybe you only experienced the first level (the softest version of it). This is how I would describe it. If you experience more in life, living on the edge, you more and more understand why people do what they do.

Now imagine we are in the future. How do you see your design legacy in 20 years?

I can imagine I am still a concept designer running an even bigger company. I hope I get the possibility to humanise hospitals in different areas all over the world. That I see improvement on different levels and that I can inspire others to do the same. I hope I can humanise different aspects in more areas as education in elementary schools and contact with nature in our daily lives. And most of all I hope I am healthy, satisfied and still open for great adventure!

Thanks, Alissa!

Innovate image

Innovate Arnhem

By | Event, Netherlands
Welkom bij Innovate image

Today we had the pleasure to explore for the second year the event Innovate Arnhem, similar to the one visited in Eindhoven last September ( Arnhem has been our home city since more than two years, and interestingly the capital of Gelderland, as well as the region itself, is not very known abroad for its potential and vocations. Beyond ArtEZ, the prestigious University of Arts, other relevant players should be included on the decision map of many more visitors, tourists, start-ups and young creative people willing to experience a movement that is gaining momentum.

This year, the festival took place at HAN Campus – the Hogeschool from Arnhem and Nijmegen – and had the support of private and public institutions such as the Municipality of Arnhem, the Province of Gelderland, the Arnhem Entrepreneurship Fund, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, to mention a few. The main goal of the festival was to bring together students, residents, entrepreneurs, original thinking companies, educators, and individuals in the vicinity of Arnhem. Amongst these publics, we saw many parents with their enthusiastic kids experiencing the maker culture, building solar panels, learning from robots, recycling, experiencing water management, playing in a very natural way with all kinds of technology like virtual reality, drones and 3D tools, and also regaining the joy of building very simple objects, such as boxes made of wood.

From ideas to reframe plastic waste until start-up accelerating projects, the development of a maker mindset set the tone of the event, where solutions, demos, prototypes and presentations were all displayed as an ecosystem of concrete proposals for a more innovative presence and a better future demanding a critical, explorative and hands-on attitude.

To know more, please check the following links:

Global challenges, start-up solutions

By | Event, Netherlands, Uncategorized
Amsterdam Capital Week logo
StartupFest Europe logo

“It is time to show the world that the Netherlands is hot”
(Robert Jan Galema, Managing Director INKEF Capital)

Over 3.000 startups, more than 10 innovation hubs, a proud 3rd position on the Global Innovation Index, and a competitive 19th place in the Startup Genome World ranking. This is, in few but powerful numbers, a brief overview of the Dutch startup ecosystem, which is being fully experienced during this week.

Amsterdam hosts in September 2017 a key event to discuss the future of entrepreneurship and boost businesses: the Capital Week and the StartupFest Europe, considered a “one-stop-shop for startups and scale-ups that want to do business by changing the world”.

The festival is initiated by StartupDelta and organized in close collaboration with the Dutch startup scene and many international players. It is a unique opportunity to meet and share ideas aiming to create impact, access more than 500 venture investors, involve corporations and meet peers and potential partners from the globe.

During the event local and international speakers will present innovations in health, cyber security, new materials, energy, mobility and many other solutions across different sectors. The common denominator: to change the world.

Details about the program of the week between 25 and 28 September, as well as great videos can be found on the official website:

Other useful links can be found bellow:

Eindhoven Maker Faire

By | Dutch Design, Event, Netherlands

If things get complicated, bring in the Dutch!

Continuous experimentation, trial and error, a hands-on attitude and critical thinking were some of the elements that instigated us to visit the Eindhoven Maker Faire during the first weekend of September. Although the event was open to all ages and targeted to people passionate about building and designing things, it was clear that the new generations were the protagonists of a ‘maker culture’ that is constantly being nurtured and improved in the low lands.

Important themes such as circular economy and sustainability were shaping young mindsets and empowering participants to collaboratively build a fairer society. We saw toys powered by renewable energy, a waste-based structure used to build floating houses, all sorts of robotics, electronic kits as well as many traditional craft experiments, offering a good balance between digital and non-digital. There were also recycling workshops, art apps, music, science, industrial design and other exciting projects inviting to create the “internet of your things” ( and the skills of the future (

A 3D sewing technique integrated in garments acting as a shield was a very special design project focusing on empowering vulnerable women in intimidating situations. The idea is being developed in collaboration with MLY Stella Verdult and Sage & Ivy, all fashion brands based in Eindhoven.

We also experienced the creations of Team Rembrandts – a robotics group located in Eindhoven with students from Fontys University of Applied Science, Zwijsen College and Heerbeeck College. They were one the many exhibitors engaging the audience, and the title of this article is currently their slogan: “If things get complicated, bring in the Dutch!”

Exactly a hundred years ago, artists such as Piet Mondrian, Gerrit Rietveld, and others who created and joined the De Stijl art movement catalyzed the Dutch design culture. Nowadays other initiatives such as public and private investments in the creative industries and events like the Eindhoven Maker Faire do contribute to make the Netherlands an unequivocal place where impact and progress go hand-in-hand to frame a positive future.

To explore more, check the following links:

Dutch Design Week 2016

Understanding Dutch Design

By | Dutch Design

This interview is part of the project NAVE in partnership with BORDA, a series of actions connecting innovation between Brazil and the Netherlands.

Raquel Sztejnberg has been living in the Netherlands since 2015, is a Branding expert, and co-founder of Borda, a knowledge platform developed to expand creative boundaries and Dutch soft power. Borda and Orbe – a Recife-based design and innovation laboratory – have teamed up to create bridges between the two countries and to connect design and business before, during and after the Dutch Design Week 2017. Learn more about the project.

“To boldly go where no one has gone before”

My first trip to Dutch Design Week was in 2016. More than just a fair or a one-off event, DDW is indeed a destination, a unique experience. It is hard to say what struck me the most: whether the democratic character of the event – not for specialists but for people of all ages, backgrounds, professions and types – or bold, free ideas and solutions, ready to positively embrace failure in search of new ideas and solutions. Experimentation, renewal and ‘crossovers’ are distinctive characteristics of this event in relation to other world design meetings.

Dutch Design is an attitude, a mindset

Design in the Netherlands is a part of life and not just a luxurious instrument used by a few companies. Thought and applied seriously to create a better society, with more intelligence and inventiveness. Minimalist, experimental, innovative, functional, unconventional and with a sense of humor – this is how Dutch design is usually described.

Here the involvement of different audiences in the creative process is also one of the characteristics of the discipline. And without a doubt, the enviable synergy between schools, universities, private companies and the government represents a valuable stimulus for the entire economy of the country. About € 84 million were invested in public-private alliances in the period 2016-2017*. Architecture, fashion, and urbanism mix with energy, health, education, infrastructure and security, generating strategic partnerships for success. All part of Dutch DNA.

DDW 2017 Stretch

Stretch: beyond the comfort zone

The next edition of Dutch Design Week takes place again in October and always in the city of Eindhoven. It will be celebrated 19 years since the birth of the fair, which has become the most important in Northern Europe, a local event of global impact with the participation of more than 2,500 designers and public of almost 300 thousand national and international visitors.

The theme of 2017 is Stretch, set by the Dutch Design Foundation to stimulate new perspectives beyond the comfort zone. Made to inspire and provoke, the design is, in the words of the Foundation director, Martijn Paulen, brain-yoga: “Exercise for those who, in a complex and challenging world, do not want to rust.” Bio design, Sustainable design, Circular design, Spatial design, Food design, Service design, Social design and various other disciplines will be presented, discussed and experienced during the DDW2017. There is also an internationalization program made to extend the Dutch design ecosystem and make it number 1 in the discussion of the future of design and the design of the future.

“To boldly go where no one has gone before”, adopted in official reports, is the perfect motto for a country with a powerful and pulsating creative wealth that is inversely proportional to its dimensions. It is worth to find out more about this unique scene. Follow us!

If you are interested about DDW2017 we are organizing an immersion with all curatorship and personalized consulting for companies in Recife.

Infos about the program: