WDE Spotlight: Studio Corvers
In WDE Spotlight, we give the floor to various designers from the Embassies. This time, we talk to Studio Corvers, part of the Embassy of Inclusive Society. What is their background? What inspires them? What do they hope to achieve with their work? You can read it in this Q&A!
Can you tell us a bit more about yourself, your background and your design practice?
Studio Corvers was founded in 2014 by Wouter Corvers. Wouter graduated from Design Academy in Eindhoven in 2016, where he won the Milky Way Award with his graduation work ‘Scale 1:16’. Joost Corvers graduated in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Architecture and Interior from the Academy of Architecture Maastricht. He then earned his master’s degree in Interior Architecture in 2020 with the project ‘Playfields’. After working together on a freelance basis for a long time, we decided in January 2021 to continue our partnership under Studio Corvers. Combining our different expertise results in interesting design outcomes. The studio focuses on designing public spaces, installations, architecture, and interiors in which the user’s human dimension and sensory experience are central.
Your project was part of the Embassy of Inclusive Society during Dutch Design Week 2021. What can you tell us about this project and what stage is it in now?
We were involved with the Embassy of Inclusive Society in two different ways. We designed the pavilion and the exhibition with a team of other designers: a labyrinth of jute walls where the unplanned meeting takes place between the visitors and the exhibited work. In addition, the Drempelloos (Thresholdless) project, developed in collaboration with What if Lab, was on display, a series of modules with which shopkeepers and employees can test how accessible the store is in a low-threshold manner. We are now developing the modules, three variants of which are already ready for entrepreneurs to get started with. The first pilot in collaboration with MKB-Nederland will start very soon.
In this project, you are concerned with the inclusivity of shoppers. Is inclusiveness something you enjoy working on, and if so, why?
Inclusion is one of the main themes we focus on in our studio. This started with Wouter’s graduation work ‘Scale 1:16’, in which he researched the inclusiveness of public space. It became painfully clear that Wouter, at 2.05m tall, ran into all kinds of obstacles. This was the start of a wide range of projects in which inclusion was the main pillar. For example, The Inclusive Park, where we built a temporary park at the Zuid Willemspark, in which we strive for ultimate accessibility so that no one has to adapt anymore.
You have incorporated various game elements in Drempelloos, including a game about manners. Have you received positive reactions to this so far?
During the design phase of this project, we entered into discussions with HEMA employees, in which we presented the game forms. The response was enthusiastic because the modules were a conversation starter for many employees and spread awareness and shared information. How do you deal with customers who, for example, have a visual impairment or use a wheelchair?
What was the main premise of the project?
Designing a tool with which every shop visitor can participate without limitation and for which the entrepreneur or store employee is happy to set 10 minutes aside.
One of the partners in this project is HEMA. How is Drempelloos used there now?
The modules are not yet in use by HEMA at the moment. We have, however, started a collaboration with MKB-Nederland (another What if Lab project partner) to use the modules for the SME-Accessible routes. The modules are now in production and will be distributed to many entrepreneurs in a few weeks.
Is there a way for other retailers to purchase Drempelloos?
Currently, the modules are only produced and distributed on a project basis. For example, we are in talks with an umbrella organisation to test hundreds of gymnasiums for accessibility with the modules from Drempelloos.
What kind of design/project would you like to realise in the future and why?
We are currently working on designing a pavilion/discovery room for a primary school. What’s special about this primary school is that all children, with or without disabilities, play together, so the room must be accessible to all groups. In addition, children here learn about the climate by means of, for example, water installations and the generation of solar energy. Projects that deal with these kinds of contemporary themes in combination with spatial design on this scale; we can’t get enough of that!
Can you name another interesting designer dealing with the same theme, and why is their work so strong in your view?
Because we work with various themes, it isn’t very easy to name one designer. Countless designers inspire us. If we have to name one, it is Floris Alkemade. We admire his social vision of the future of the Netherlands.
How do you think you can make an impact with your work?
By continuing to realise projects in the public domain, which strongly express our vision. Here the conversation takes place between a great diversity of people who can admire or criticise the work. That makes for an interesting dialogue.
Who would you choose and why if you could choose one person to work with (a scientist, artist, philosopher, biologist, designer, politician, anyone)?
We could rattle off a whole list of names here too. In almost every project, we seek to collaborate with external partners in order to be able to conduct thorough research on each project. Because we work with diverse themes, it is impossible to have all that knowledge in-house. In addition, we believe that cross-pollination from different experts promotes the creative process.
For/with which company would you most like to do a project? And what kind of project would that be?
We have no specific preference for/with a particular company. However, it is a requirement that we are given sufficient design freedom and that there is room for thorough research.