© Kraftwerk Berlin
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The ‘Koelhuis District’ was recently launched in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Yet another new cultural ‘District’ for the Technique, Design, and Knowledge (TDK) community. This time it was conceived around the redevelopment of a former Koelhuis, which is being unlocked as a medium to immerse visitors in a storytelling experience.

These days it is en vogue not to merely look bravely from a distance at products and works of art. No, you want to be completely immersed in them. Feel, smell, hear, and taste, preferably in a raw, unusual location that can be transformed into a unique experience.

Take the Atelier des Lumières in Paris. In a renovated 19th-century iron foundry, this recently established event champion brings digital exhibitions based on big names such as Tintin and Van Gogh. With which they suddenly attract millions of visitors from nowhere.

Or Kraftwerk Berlin. A giant, raw and ruinous building that has a physically palpable presence with an irresistible appeal to visitors.

A unique place of experimentation for a wide range of events that require a lot of space. Space that no other institution in Berlin can offer them.

All-around spectacle on this scale is still lacking in Eindhoven. Why not create huge new raw spaces for that? Buildings that make you feel like you’ve entered another world? Places where you can fully engage in experimentation and constantly have new experiences. The Koelhuis is far too modest for that. Moreover, many expensive, unsustainable social wishes have been projected with the temporary housing.

Moreover, there is an opportunity to use the power of Big Events in (temporary) Big Raw Spaces to transform areas and make and keep programming affordable. Dutch Design Week attracts 350,000 visitors in nine days. People come from all over the world on pilgrimage to Eindhoven to have their imaginations sparked.

A sense of belonging emerges.

Eugène Franken

You must keep innovating and responding to trends and new technologies to captivate those visitors. This requires the continued involvement of the public and the community serving that public.

Isn’t it an idea that the (intended) creative residents of the Creative Districts work together to develop programming that attracts millions of visitors worldwide? Let the TDK smarts of this region screw together an all-around spectacle in a competitive cooperative system. Trial and error. With the proceeds, they can earn their place while enabling affordable housing, studios, and workspaces for everyone else. The audience has an unforgettable experience that leaves a lasting impression. A sense of belonging emerges.

About this column:

In a weekly column, alternately written by Eveline van Zeeland, Derek Jan Fikkers, Eugène Franken, JP Kroeger, Katleen Gabriels, Bernd Maier-Leppla, Willemijn Brouwer, and Colinda de Beer, Innovation Origins tries to figure out what the future will look like. These columnists, sometimes joined by guest bloggers, all work in their own way to find solutions to the problems of our time. Here are all the previous installments.