Does Craft Need Design?

Op donderdag 14 april 2016 organiseerden het Nederlands Consulaat in Milaan en Crafts Council Nederland de expertmeeting ‘DOES CRAFT NEED DESIGN? Concerning challenges for design and crafts of the future’ in het kader van Salone del Mobile.

Zie hieronder het volledige programma (in het Engels).


Crafts are a source of economic, social and cultural innovation. Connecting craftsmanship with the creative sector can create new opportunities. Although making and producing are hot topics again, specialist knowledge on techniques is disappearing rapidly. This meeting will illustrate some best practices and identify critical success factors by leading experts that are working in the field. This exchange of ideas will serve to explore possible scenarios for further collaboration and an international presentation at the design week Milan in 2017.

Topics discussed:
• New Times, New Businesses, New Tendencies
• Tradition, design and contemporary craftsmanship
• The importance of design for crafts
• The importance of the trademark of the maker


9.30 welcome coffee/tea

10.00 Start. The morning started with introductions by Ineke Hans, Jorre van Ast and Elif Malkoclar. They will reflect on the topics, followed by a round-table discussion with a selection of invited Dutch and Italian entrepreneurs, designers and representatives of professional organisations.

Ineke Hans ( set up a studio in Arnhem (NL) in 1998 after graduating from the Royal College of Art. In 2015 she returned to London to set up studio|salon: design studio & research salon. Here she works with her Dutch studio on projects for international clients and manufacturers. With the salons she explores ‘the future of furniture design and the changing position of the designer’.

Dario Gaudio ( lives and works in Milan. He collaborates with several other designers and international brands. Since 2012, he is in charge of the product development for the collection Internoitaliano. In his introduction he will speak about the Italian context of craftsmanship for young designers.

Jorre van Ast Arco as a model ( Van Ast is the fourth generation of the Arco family business. Arco’s products are primarily manufactured in Winterswijk, by people who have been working for the company for many years. How does the company stay up to date, how can it innovate and how can it find qualified staff?

Elif Malkoclar Craafts as a model ( works with high-end fashion brands. All of its products are made by hand. Can its techniques be used in interior design as well, and what is needed to implement them? What designs require crafts? Is design essential for the innovation of crafts to make them future-proof?

The presentations were followed by a roundtable discussion with all attendees led by Jeroen Junte, design critic and curator. The meeting ended with a lunch offered by the Consulate General.


Creative crafts (crafts) are a source of economic, social and cultural innovation. Making and producing are hot topics again, but are not so easy to reintroduce because specialist knowledge is disappearing rapidly. Craftsmanship, although from a different background, both in the Netherlands as in Italy, is a crucial factor for a creative future and a competitive economy. Designers return to the use of traditional techniques more and more for innovation, sustainability and business. Often with a different purpose and a different meaning than in previous times.

Heritage future proof Through the connection of creative crafts with the creative economy/industries, craft skills and techniques remain dynamic. Examples are the big fashion brands in Italy (Gucci recently took over heritage icon Ginori) and the TextileLab in the Netherlands that works as a co-creator in collaboration with designers and/or architects. How do we give crafts a new meaning? The key challenge is how to craft a new future. How do we maintain skills and knowledge and pass these through; how can we generate new knowledge; how can we use this knowledge for innovation and new meaning and how can we reach new target groups and audiences. Both countries share this view. Collaboration is a crucial factor, especially internationally since the disappearance of knowledge of skills is a global issue.

Crafts Council Nederland is the all-encompassing platform for contemporary craft. It is the place where art, fashion, design and heritage all unite and where craftsmanship is nurtured and passed on to a new generation. As a key unifier, concept developer, initiator, Crafts Council Nederland is building an infrastructure to help preserve and encourage intangible heritage and to make craft techniques future-proof. Crafts Council Nederland operates at an implementation level, hands-on; because connecting the world of creative crafts with the worlds of fashion and design is fruitful and necessary.

The Dutch creative industry has a particularly strong reputation in interior design, architecture, fashion and electronic dance music. The Dutch diplomatic missions in Italy support the presence of Dutch design during the Milan Design Week. The Embassy and Consulate General support promising initiatives in Italy, strengthen networks between Dutch and Italian professionals and foster a continuous dialogue on future challenges and urgent questions for the design sector.