Lidewij Edelkoort was born in Wageningen, Netherlands in 1950, she works in paris as coordinator of 2 research centers on trend-forecasting : studio edelkoort and trend union; she is publisher of bloom, interior view and view on colour 3 visionary magazines (united publishers) . li edelkoort is envolved in a humanitarian project heartwear, a non profit organization, helping third world producer with a concrete mail order catalogue, where consumer expectations meet local crafts. the profits remain to the comunity. since 1999 Li Edelkoort is chairwoman at the design academy of Eindhoven.
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Milan the 14.04.2000, we met Li Edelkoort at the compact-presentation, during the milanese furniture fair —
what is the best moment of the day?
I like the earlier morning, I wake up rather early to have time to recover, so I have coffee in bed and watch the news on television, it’s a very nice private moment.
what kind of music do you listen to at the moment?
some new african music, I became godmother for a band in Paris, they make a fusion of african and western music.
do you listen to the radio?
not much, in france there is a fantastic cultural radio, so when I work at home I can have that all the day, but then it’s almost like background music.
what books do you have on your bedside table?
again african culture, a book written in dutch, a story how somebody comes from the middle of africa and goes to the netherlands and discovers this country.
do you read design magazines?
not much … because I make them. I read magazines when I fly, so since I fly a lot I read a lot of magazines, mostly fashion- and scientific magazines, well, design magazines … I try to keep track what everybody is doing. I’m not really reading, I’m looking at them.
where do you get news from?
my intuition, it’s not information directly, it’s more the climate, which evolves from day to day.
what kind of womenswear would you never put on?
most womenswear seen in all these shops.
do you have any pets?
I have two cats. adam and eve. they are siamese cats.
where do you work on your projects?
in any place, the best place to think is in the taxi or in the aeroplane, because at least I cannot be reached easily. somehow travel gives me wisdom, almost like being in trance, I speak to nobody and think. is there any designer from past you appreciate a lot? many of them, I think mies van de rohe, of course…
if it is possible to talk about colleagues, is there any particular you appreciate?
I find it difficult to say » this is my favorite « .
which of your projects have given you a great satisfaction?
the making of a car, the nissan micra, » lei è la mamma della micra » they said it in an italian designbook. now I do the second generation, that is very ecxiting, I like to work on food and beverage and still I like very much working on textiles, it was my first love, I’m very keen on it, I’m a textile freak.
you teach at the academy of eindhoven…
I’m not teaching anymore, I’m the first possible freelance part-time chairwoman of a highschool. we are two, two woman, liesbeth in’t hout and myself, this can only be because we think exactly the same, liesbeth is there, every time I say ‘next time we should do this’ she already has thought about it too.
‘… the conventional linear model of – education/work/leisure – is being replaced by a cyclical new model…’ this is your enunciation, please tell us more
I said this? yes, one could make a design institute just about leisure, because leisure is almost everything, it can be a television show, a game, knitting, it can be food, sports, it’s everything exept work, it takes such a space, it is very hard to capture the whole.
You always consider ethical aspects, do your students carry attention that freetime is often used in slogans of a conservative rhetoric, used to hide social problems as unemployment?
of course, very early in our courses we have been working on social problems, people who have leisure first, which is unemployment, which is streetchildren, so it keeps coming up all the time, that to have freetime it’s not neccessary only positive, in our institute I think that there is a great feeling, that we must as well design for minorities, problem groups … and not just working on beautiful chairs and lamps. for the future we are planning a department on humanitarian design and I’m looking for sponsors for this course, because it’s very expensive, we have to send our students to the areas where are these problems.
at the news broadcast they said that the italians are afraid of the lack of work, criminality and pollution. what is making you afraid?
I think that there is enough work in europe, actually we have to reimmigrate people for certain work for the digital world, e- commerce… I believe that the criminal climate might change, we see that the soceity at large is slowing down, is not as much interested in speed, going very quickly, very crashed, this in particular is valid for young people, maybe they will go to slower drugs, away from ecstasy, maybe to … just smoking a little, some cigarettes, that will be very important to fight the criminality among the youngsters. I’m never afraid because I believe that the human kind can solve problems, what we just need is first to have a problem, then we work on it, we are not mastering the idea to prevent it.
Cet interview est tirée du site designboom, allez-y pour y avoir des informations complémentaires, photos, etc. Bien entendu, ne manquez pas le site de Li Edelkoort ici
Les bureaux de Li Edelkoort sont situés à Paris XIV.