“Exceptional designs go beyond what we already know. Innovation is therefore of importance for my choices. It can have to do with using new materials and techniques or the fact that the zeitgeist and our living habits have changed. Exceptional designs can also have a poetic undertone or otherwise move us.

I observe that the renowned conceptual design of the Netherlands is at risk of degenerating into storytelling and private design research. Hermetic private thoughts and designs that lack a vision of the future will do the profession more harm than good.

Design is about improving our environment. My nominations are expressly connected to society or provoke questions in design circles because of their effect on the world. They communicate and reveal the positive impact of design-driven projects on our lives and our future.”

Ineke Hans nominated:

– Massoud Hassani for Mine Kafon

– Moooi and Erwin Olaf for The Unexpected Welcome, Milan 2013

– Studio Dumbar for Alzheimer Nederland

Ineke Hans (NL, 1966) has operated her own design studio in Arnhem since 1998. Her design collections are often inspired by the origins of products, our physical relationship with them, and the combination of old and new production techniques.


“In selecting suitable candidates, I looked for projects that approached interaction in a special way – not as a technological gimmick but as an instrument for bringing about human reactions. In a world where technology is becoming ever more influential, it is important to me that designers continue to look critically at what it adds. Interaction can be used as a tool for making unexpected connections – between people, between people and their environment, and between people and themselves.

The medium doesn’t matter. It might be a game, clothing or a physical installation. What’s important is that a work shows the possibilities of a design vision that places human beings and their inner lives at the centre of everything.”

Niki Smit nominated:

– Anouk Wipprecht for Interactive couture

– Daan Roosegaarde for Crystal

– Game Oven for Fingle

Niki Smit (NL, 1981) is a designer of games and interactive installations. He is a cofounder of the Utrecht agency Monobanda.


“What kind of possible valuable future can design offer us through the use of technology? This question articulates what I find important in the profession today. I favour designs that take possibilities for granted, not just problems. Does a design offer opportunities for a humane future? Does it engage with cultural developments, such as the shift towards a transformation economy (Brand and Rocchi, 2011), in which people design together locally in order to give meaning and direction to a sustainable society?

Above all, though, I looked for designs that offer people ways to improve the quality of their own lives. And this immediately brought me to the last decisive criterion I used in making my choices: what is a design’s value for me personally? Am I personally moved by it, and does it relate to my life in one way or another? The three nominations have all this in common for me. They are examples of fantastic technology with a human attitude toward life.”

Caroline Hummels nominated:

– Afdeling Buitengewone Zaken for Hidden Design

– Edenspiekermann, STBY, ProRail and NS Reizigers for Dynamic boarding information at train platforms

– Reframing Studio and the Parnassia Groep for temstem

Caroline Hummels (NL, 1966) is a professor of intelligent systems design theory on the industrial design faculty at Eindhoven University of Technology. She also leads the Smart Environment research programme in the university’s strategic area of health.


“I’m always looking for talent. This is an intuitive process based on feelings. Quality doesn’t so much have to do with taste and whether something’s beautiful or not beautiful; rather, it’s connected to the question of whether it affects the viewer somehow. A design can provide insight into the zeitgeist, but it can also be very personal and confront us with our own behaviour. Innovation is one of my core values in the search for talent. It can consist of pushing the boundaries of the new, or it can upend an existing process. I regard my nominees as highly talented designers and their projects as innovative ones. Moreover, they are outstanding cultural entrepreneurs. They know how to generate attention for their projects and regularly spark discussion in the process.”

Carlo Wijnands nominated:

– Lernert & Sander for Everything and Handmade

– Marga Weimans for Body Archive

– Winde Rienstra for Lego Heels, Facet Heels and Bamboo Heels

Carlo Wijnands (NL, 1962) acts as an advisor and coach for fashion designers and brands. He has been programma director of Amsterdam Fashion Week since 2011.


“Our nominees work on the basis of their own fascinations and a faith in achieving the impossible. They simply began realising their dreams, with the help of people from other disciplines. Imagination and an urge to experiment are important factors, essential for pushing boundaries. The work of Bas van Abel, Piet Parra and PAL-V/Spark is attractively designed, but form is not a final destination; it’s a beginning. Their work sparks new developments in society and the profession: transformational processes toward a more ethical telephone industry; virtuoso crossovers between design, street fashion and music; and the realisation of the dream of a flying car. Their work is nationally and internationally influential within the design discipline and well beyond it.

In short, our nominees set examples thanks to their strong urge to experiment, which unlocks new worlds.”

Erik and Ronald Rietveld nominated:

– Bas van Abel for Fairphone

– PAL-V Europe NV and Spark Design & Innovation: PAL-V

– Piet Parra: Weirded Out

Philosopher and architect Erik and Ronald Rietveld (NL, 1969 and 1972) head Rietveld Art-Architecture-Affordances, or RAAAF, which operates at the crossroads of architecture, science and art. They won the Rotterdam Design Prize in 2011.