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People from many different countries live, study and work in Eindhoven. Every week, E52 has a talk with an international about what brought them here and what life is like in Eindhoven.

Name: Leo Orta
County of origin: France
Study: Bachelor Leisure at Design Academy Eindhoven

If we talk about internationals, Leo is definitely one of them. He grew up in Paris with English and Argentinian parents, studied in London and Brussels and will go to the United States this fall for his study. He likes to explore the world, that’s for sure. We meet up with Leo at the Temporary Art Center (TAC). “I share an atelier with three friends here. I actually use it more as a storage space. It’s convenient because it’s close to the academy, but it’s too small with four people. Getting my own space is difficult. I have to wait until someone else leaves. This will do for now.”

Before Leo started at the Design Academy he studied Graphic Design in London and Brussels. “It turned out those studies weren’t right for me, it was to narrow in the design field. I took one year to prepare my portfolio for the academy in Eindhoven. I had to organise my work and make a balanced portfolio of my experimental and conventional work. That year, I gave myself an assignment every week. My portfolio was good enough and I got in.”

“During the first year at the academy you get to try out everything. It is a good orientation year. I found out during, that I didn’t want to work in furniture design as I thought I would. My strength is in storytelling or in activist design and social design. I look at what is going on around me and in the rest of the world and try to find answers as a designer. The project I did with my fellow student Victor Miklos, got selected by the academy to be shown at the Salone del Mobile in Milan. The project is called ‘UNIFORM, a performance about social issues, like clothes consumption and social media’. It challenges the invisible links between society, identity, and exposure ”

I took one year to prepare my portfolio for the academy in Eindhoven.Leo Orta, Design Academy student

As we heard before from other Design Academy students, living in Eindhoven helps students to focus on their work. “Eindhoven is fantastic. Because there isn’t that much distraction, my study comes first. In London, you can go clubbing every night if you want to. That’s not the case here. I organize my own things and events here. Together with two friends, I bought a tattoo machine and we started a tattoo collective. We tattoo people and with the money we earn, we organize concerts at Café Wilhelmina and La Folie. And the money we make with the concerts we use for tattoo supplies and to pay the bands of course. It’s all about having fun, being creative and opening up to new music. We always choose a live act, no matter what music genre it is. Wilhelmina was very open to the idea of hosting our concerts. I was really surprised about how it worked here. So easy! Now we have a cool venue to host our concerts.”

“I also like to cook dinners at home for my friends. I love to cook. Here in the Netherlands, I can find any product I want to use in my dishes so grocery shopping is no problem at all. I like to go to the Saturday market at the Woenselse Markt. They have everything I need. There is only one thing about the food here, that I really don’t like: the frikandel. I just don’t understand how people can eat it! One last thing that I really love about Eindhoven is its infrastructure for cycling. In Paris that wasn’t option for me: too busy, not so safe and too steep roads in some places. Here I can go anywhere I want with my bike. When I graduate, I don’t know if I will stay here. I’ll go where the job takes me.”

Read all the internationals stories here.
Photography: Diewke van den Heuvel