23 December 2022 News

We look back at What if Lab in 2022

With the new year approaching, we would like to look back on 2022 while we still can. For it was a year full of meaningful collaborations, innovative designs and major developments. From What if Labs to Embassy Labs, all developments culminated at Dutch Design Week 2022 (DDW22). There, the results of the labs formed important parts of several inspiring exhibitions.
BINGO – Studio Anne Ligtenberg

ActiZ: an essential place in society for the elderly

In February 2022, Studio Anne Ligtenberg presented BINGO ‘What do you want to be later when you are older’. The game aims to stimulate conversation between young and old and reflect on alternative ways of living in old age. It is the result of What if Lab: Connected Generations. A lab initiated by ActiZ, branch association for healthcare providers focused on elderly care. Everyone directly or indirectly faces old age. Yet we prefer to leave thinking about it to care institutions. But if we all have to deal with it, shouldn’t we all play a role in finding a solution?
We are Social Rebels presented the BuurtWoongroep (Neighbourhood Living Group), using this menu, living group members choose between different forms of living together. The aim of the concept is to increase social cohesion in the neighbourhood and encourage shared living spaces.

After completion of the lab, ActiZ remained involved with the designers. For instance, the organisation presented the bingo game to the Minister of Long-Term Care and Sport, Conny Helder. As a result, the subtitle of the bingo game, “What do you want to be later when you are old?”, was included in the papers of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport’s Housing, Support and Care for the Elderly (WOZO) programme. “That sentence was leading within our project, so it is very special that it ends up in a place where decisions are made on this topic,” Anne Ligtenberg said.

Totally Local – (Photo: Rogier Boogaard)

Sweco: the self-sufficient city in five years

In May 2022, in collaboration with Sweco, we called on designers to design a groundbreaking application for the self-sufficient city in five years. What role does sustainability play in the city of the future? What do new living environments look like? And what new services and types of buildings can we expect? In What if Lab: Totally Local, three designers got to work. Floris Schoonderbeek examined the theme of food. Bram de Vos developed new ways of thinking about energy. And Tjeerd Veenhoven focused on the theme of water. During DDW22, they presented the three final concepts to an expert panel of Sweco and to the DDW audience at the Totaal Lokaal expo.

Reuma (in)visible – Muzus (photo: Max Kneefel)

ReumaNederland: Make rheumatism tangible

Another lab launched in May was the lab in collaboration with ReumaNederland. The aim? To get an answer to the question; How do we make life with rheumatism palpable? Crooked hands, thick joints and little physical independence. That’s what people often think of when they hear the word Rheumatism. Although much has now changed thanks to developments in healthcare, rheumatism still has a big impact on many people’s lives. It is difficult to understand what it is like to live with rheumatism, even if you see it in your surroundings, or hear stories about it from time to time. The constant difficulty of participating in daily life often remains invisible. From What if Lab: Make rheumatism i̶n̶visible, design studio Muzus designed the installation ‘Rheumatism (in)visible‘ that provides insight into a life with rheumatism and invites you to enter the conversation. With this, the DDW22 did not look at the effects of the disease from a distance but included the impact of living with rheumatism.

Municipality of Amsterdam: new opportunities for bridges

A lab that started last year and will continue into 2023 is What if Lab: Bridging the gap with Municipality of Amsterdam. Many bridges and quay walls in our capital city are at the end of their technical lifespan. Closing such a bridge to cars means a change for local residents. Sometimes that change can be seen as negative while opportunities also arise. A piece of the city is “reclaimed” from the car. An opportunity for new uses and enrichment for the city. How can we design such a transition in such a way that the change is received as added value in a neighbourhood? That is the design question with which social collective PLYGRND.city and architect duo Ivanka Bakker and Florian Eckardt set to work. Participation sessions with local residents are essential tools in this. We are very curious to see their final concepts. More on this in 2023!

We are looking forward to a brand new year full of new labs and new insights. Want to stay up to date with new open calls and the latest What if Lab news? Then subscribe here for the newsletter and follow us on Instagram and LinkedIn.