During Dutch Design Week, E52 will be introducing you to the festival’s Hidden Gems. Ten special designers who we feel are the stand-outs of this edition. A different Hidden Gem will enjoy the limelight each day of DDW. Today: Annelies Hermsen and the opening of her new studio.
What Opening new studio
By Annelies Hermsen
Where Piet Hein Eek area
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The moving boxes are already there on the ninth floor of the Lichttoren (Light Tower). “I share this floor with three other sole proprietorships. I’m going to say goodbye to them, with mixed feelings, because this is a really cool hotbed. But the opportunity to get a studio space to myself at Piet Hein Eek is of course a very good new step.” The move made food designer Annelies Hermsen think about what she would do during the DDW. “When Piet Hein said that he wanted to provide the space for the DDW, so that everyone could benefit from me already being in there, I thought: That’s what I’m going to do, I’m going to open my doors for people to have a look in my kitchen. Or rather, my studio, because that’s how I call it.”
At Piet Hein Eek, Annelies has a space on the ground floor. She had a 3.6 meter long workbench made with a cutting board worktop, without equipment. That was a deliberate choice, because if she needs to, she can place three ovens on it. Or nothing at all, depending on the project she’s working on, says Annelies. There’s an own front door and people can look inside to see what’s happening.
“Creatief ben je op je best als je je omringt door creatieve personen”Annelies Hermsen, Food designer
“That opening is already a very festive event, but I don’t want to stand alone. I want to spread the attention and you’re the most creative if you surround yourself by creative people. By chance, I saw a message from a friend, Susette Brabander, she was looking for an exhibition space. Whilst chatting, I found out that she was looking for an exhibition space for her new book ‘Culinary cosmetics’. We decided that she is going to exhibit in my new studio. For one thing, it is a nice overlap because it’s culinary, but it’s also just more fun together.”
Also glassware by product designer Maarten Baptist will be in the studio of Annelies the nine DDW days. He designs the hardware around food, like tables, cutlery and crockery, the food designer says. “We are friends and we can’t have a conversation without talking about what we’re making.” They have designed experimental glassware together inspired by the kitchen of the two-star restaurant Beluga in Maastricht.
At the same time, Annelies is celebrating her twelve-year anniversary. She images those twelve years with her “coolest projects”, without affecting the other projects, she adds. “It’s going to be a kind of mini overview of images and stories on twelve A3 sheets, because everything I’ve come up with and made has already been eaten.”
“Of course I can let people taste something, I’m a food designer, after all.” For this, she created her own variant of the latest food trend of New York: “Tea and coffee shops there are also serving bone broth these days. During the DDW, I will be serving broth from goat bones. I’m curious to see what people think of it.”
She says she gives culinary advice as a food designer. She advises customers and companies from the food and catering industry. Companies hire her because of her creativity and culinary background. She grew up with parents who were running a Michelin starred restaurant. “Eating and drinking is in my DNA.”
She studied at the Design Academy and graduated in 2005. She also obtained certificates in food technology and the study ‘nutrition and health’ at the HAS Knowledge Transfer. “The Design Academy taught me conceptual thinking. I obtained those certificates five years ago because many clients wanted to know the health effects of the recipes I developed. They asked me to work out how many calories they contained or what would happen if you would heat it up.”
Her technical knowledge came in handy in a project she was doing for the Radboud Hospital. There she could develop meals for oncology patients. “It’s a silly joke we often make about Food Design: ‘Playing with food’, but especially with such a vulnerable target group such as oncology patients, it has effect.” That project developed into a hospital-wide concept where the meals weren’t served three, but seven times a day and in little bites the patient could choose from. This project, as one of the twelve, can be seen during the DDW.
“It’s going to be a tough week, I’m there every day, from 10am to 7pm. Except Wednesday, then I will close at 4pm, and on the last Sunday, the studio also closes at that time. I remember from previous editions, on that last Sunday you’re just glad it’s over and that you can look back on a great week with a drink and with friends”, she laughs.
The ten hidden gems of DDW came about in collaboration with Dutch Design Daily and curator Katja Lucas of DDW. Do you want to admire the hidden gems yourself? Every day, Urban Exploring Tours and KOGA bikes organize a special bike tour along the selected designers. Find out more here.
Translation by Anneke Maas
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