The second edition of the GLUE amsterdam connected by design event not only introduces GLUE TV in collaboration with creative media partner A’DAM&Co. and SALTO from the A’DAM Toren. GLUE will also be celebrating Amsterdam’s creativity, diversity and identity by annually honouring four Amsterdammers with the ‘Creative Citizen of Honour’. This year, designers Maria Blaisse and Geke Lensink, architect Lyongo Juliana and director of Pakhuis de Zwijger and WeMakeTheCity Egbert Fransen will be put in the limelight.

It is not an award, but an appreciation of their efforts. Lensink, Juliana, Blaisse and Fransen provide a platform for creativity in the city, encourage its development or connect the creative world, according to GLUE initiators David Heldt, Janine de Jong and Guus van Maarschalkerweerd. The four ‘honorary citizens’ in turn promote the values of GLUE.

For example, Egbert Fransen brings together the city of dreamers, makers, doers, thinkers, activists, designers, artists, architects and city makers. He does this as director of Pakhuis de Zwijger, a platform for creation and innovation, and of the WeMakeTheCity festival. He is the director of the Cultuurfabriek and has co-founded numerous initiatives, such as Women Inc. In particular through Pakhuis de Zwijger, he offers the creative industry a lively platform with a daily program. In debates, lectures and discussions, he sheds light on complex and urgent urban issues. This is done on his own initiative and in collaboration with partners such as governments, businesses, civil-society organisations, knowledge institutions and citizens’ initiatives. During GLUE, which also encourages participants to initiate activities that offer creativity a visible space, a face and a voice, Pakhuis Zwijger will organise lectures around the GLUE’s theme: The City is Ours.

Maria Blaisse has been connected to the city for decades and is happy that GLUE places Amsterdam in the centre of attention. ‘I am a supporter of this not too big and too commercial event that shows the specific character of the city; all these beautiful creative places are accessible to everyone by bike,’ says the quirky interdisciplinary artist. Blaisse graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in 1968, where she then taught textile design for no less than seventeen years. She has also inspired countless creatives as an international guest lecturer. From her studio on the Bickerseiland, Blaisse works on her in-depth and ongoing research into forms and materials with a focus on movement. With felt, rubber inner tubes or bamboo, she created sculptural work with a connection to disciplines such as fashion, architecture, art, dance and music in a time when that was not nearly as common as it is now. Blaisse creates her own universe with an inexhaustible language of form in collaboration with, among others, Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake and the Iso Contemporary Dance Company in New York, Danish textile brand Kvadrat and Dutch research platform Slow Research Lab.

Lyongo Juliana is also a GLUE Creative Citizen of Honour. ‘I think it’s extraordinary that what I do is seen and appreciated,’ he says of it. The architect who grew up on Curaçao is the Caribbean regional director Caribbean region at international architecture firm OZ architect in Amsterdam and a role model who wants to give young architects with a migration background more of a voice. Juliana has a mission. He is involved in the programme ‘Designing Cities For All’ at Pakhuis de Zwijger, which focuses on the contribution of designers and architects to shaping inclusive cities for and by everyone, where everyone feels at home. As Architect in Residence (AiR) at Arcam, last year, Juliana researched the degree of diversity and inclusiveness in the architecture of Amsterdam. ‘Because 56% of Amsterdam’s population has a migrant background, 36% of which is non-Western, you cannot continue to design from a “white point of view’. In a city with such a diverse population, current events demand that architectural questions be formulated differently in response to changes in the demographic composition and, hence, the needs of Amsterdam’s population.’

Finally, designer Geke Lensink, who, after her studies at the ArtEZ art academy, started designing interiors, exhibition stands and exhibits. In 2008, she changed tack and started working as an independent designer of furniture and ceramic products for companies such as Brothers and Sons (where she is art director together with designer Jesse Visser), Cor Unum and Heinen Delfts Blauw. For her own collection, entitled Souvenir, Lensink designs a series of limited editions, including chairs, stools, vases and rugs, with an almost Japanese eye for detail, tactility, choice of materials and finish. During last year’s GLUE, the designer demonstrated that, with her careful choice of various locations and presentations, she can attract a new group of collectors and design lovers.

As Creative Citizens of Honour, the four GLUE ambassadors will reflect, convey and enrich the colourfulness, creativity and diversity of the city of Amsterdam. On 3 September, prior to the four-day design event, they will be honoured on stage in Paradiso’s Small Hall.

Samengesteld door
Guusje Meeuwissen
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