The expat top-10 aims the spotlight on the internationals that help Eindhoven progress. E52 sat down with each winning expat to talk about their experiences and perspective on the city they once came to, and never got away from. Today: Doreen Westphal, designer at and founder of Mensch Made Design in Eindhoven.
East-German Doreen Westphal , a student of Theatre Design in Brittain, developed into a designer who focuses on products that can be made in a durable fashion while in Eindhoven. She is gradually shifting from being a designer into being an entrepreneur, soon starting her very own sausage factory, making sausages consisting of plants and vegetables.
‘I’ve lived in Amsterdam for ten years before coming to Eindhoven’
“My husband and me were at a crossroads, we wanted to move to a bigger place and have more space around us. I didn’t think we could find that in Amsterdam. Also, he already had a lot of work in Eindhoven and I started looking at the city from a designers point a view. There already was a lot happening in Eindhoven by then. So it just made sense to us to move here.”
“We really settled down in the past five years, this city has given me a lot of options to explore and do the work I wanted to do. If I can do that, I’m happy. I’ve set up a nice place here at Bounce Space, where I can mingle with other designers and people from different disciplines. Also, I had the chance to set up FungiFuturi, which uses old coffee from local restaurants to produce mushrooms, leaving no waste. There really wasn’t a reason for me to leave anymore.”
‘I don’t think Eindhoven should be compared to Amsterdam’
“People do this all the time, but they’re different cities. I didn’t even think of this when I came to Eindhoven at first. Whenever I go to Amsterdam, I’m always happy to get away from it again, it’s just so crowded now. I’m from Germany myself, Sachsen Anhalt to be precise, there never was a lack of room anywhere so I enjoy Eindhoven much more than I did Amsterdam.”
“Plus, there’s everything you need right here. Okay, maybe we had more restaurants to choose from when we were living in Amsterdam. But if there were five good places there, there’s two or three here, so that’s still plenty. I don’t think Amsterdam and Eindhoven should be compared, it’s like comparing a vegetable to meat.”
‘I wanted to see the world after the wall fell’
“I was 19 years old when the wall fell. Shorlty after I left for Nottingham (UK) to study Theatre Design, I’ve worked in different theatres there, I was a decor-designer, assistent and designed costumes. After that, I came to Amsterdam.”
“I’ve seen a lot of cities, and perhaps the one thing missing in Eindhoven lies in its architecture. I love the industrial feel some areas have, but I think the way they are used is too commercial. Everything is exploited as a company, which leaves little room for art, culture and experiments. That’s a choice the city makes of course, but I think there could be more of a balance in it.”
‘My German roots may have helped me find my newest project’
“The Germans know how to make a sausage. I’ve set my mind to making a vegan sausage. I took part in a vegan challenge, where participants have to eat vegan for thirty days. After twenty, I got so tired of these soft dinners, I really wanted to bite into something with more structure.”
“So I decided to set up my own vegan sausage factory. We want it to be up and running in about two years. I’d like to use a place like the old Campina factory, that would be great. I am now working with two nutritional scientists and we want to finish the product in four weeks, in september we want to take it to the market. We are planning to launch the brand during the Dutch Design Week.”
‘I don’t necessarily feel like an expat’
“My work is driven by social issues. They have an effect on me. These days, a lot is written about the question how and even why we should take in refugees. Often, they are called fortune seekers. We had a bit of discussion at home on what it means to be a fortune seeker or being an expat. Because when are you to be called what? I’m definitely honoured to be in the expat top-10, but I am also just a fortune seeker when I think about it. Maybe I’m in the top 10 of Eindhovens fortune seekers.”
Tomorrow, E52 will feature an interview with the next expat from the list. Read all the articles in the series on Expats in Eindhoven here.
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