How does the structure of the three year curriculum looks like?

First year = trial and error, “learning by doing”. Second year is reflecting on your work, “thinking by making”. Focussing on your artistic handwriting, positioning and presenting, “hello world!”.

Does designLAB work with assignments?

Yes, we have in the 1st and 2nd year various assignment and often paralel to eachother. The variety of topics and approaches is pretty differs and also the timespan that you work on a project are differs.

Do you have your own studio within the department?

At designLAB we believe in the power of exchange, the department is one big ‘open’ studio for LAB1 and LAB2. where you hear, see and meet the other students. Sometimes lessons are given at the same time. It can be an eclectic mix of influences and input. But always with a lot of ‘makers-energy’. The graduation year have their own studio-spaces and also a different program.

Do we get theory at designLAB.

Yes, in all the three years you will get theory-courses that is connected to the curriculum. The first years is about the fundament and brought context of the field of art and design (from a rather critical and responsible perspective). In the second year there will be more reading, writing and presenting exercises. In the graduation year you will be guided with the thesis writing and your artistic-statement.

Which kind of media and materials are often used?

All the workshops and media that are possible within the Rietveld-workshops are also our media and possible techniques to explore. DesignLAB encourages the experiment and testing of various techniques and materials to find out which medium and ‘languages’ suits the best your personal, artistic handwriting.

What is the difference between designLAB and architecture or graphic design at the Rietveld?

Scale and 2d or 3d. At designLAB you will explore the possibilities of speculating and storytelling with and in the 3-dimension. The scale and proportion of the project always relate to the human-being and is -almost always- body-related. 

How serious is the education, if the motto is ‘serious fun’ where does the fun stop and the seriousness begin?

They go hand in hand together, at designLAB we believe that you can only position yourself and your work seriously and with relevance if you develop this and make this with fun, comfort, believe and ambition….and all these position from a constructive and positive attitude. 

How good does the curriculum fit the demands of the practice?

The field of design is very wide spread and divers, at designLAB you will learn about the big variety and possibilities of the practice. You will do this from an autonomous position and with a artistic approach. After all this is a design-course within the context of the Rietveld Academie. As much as the field of arts and design are getting more and more entangled our program reflects and follows this development.

What do students do after graduation?

Our alumni take various positions within the field of arts and design. Some start their own studio while others start working for a company or studio. Numerous alumni get funded for projects and initiatives and also many find a place within a master-program. After 5 or 10 years most of the designLAB students are still active within the field of arts and design and found their nice and specialism. The alumni-network is growing and connects a lot of students and practices with each-other all over the world.

Is there enough space and time to develop personal projects?

Our program is based on 3,5 days of education on the academy. Most of the time from 10:00 till 15:00. We encourage students to work at the department as much as possible, from Monday-morning to Saturday-afternoon you’re welcome to work at your own space. Besides the curriculum there is more than enough time to work on other projects, we also encourage to bring your personal interest into the assignments where possible.

Do you need to do an internship during your study?

In the second year of our program you have to follow an intern ship period outside the department. From April till June a students needs to explore the practical-world ‘outside’ the academy. Students work within small or big artist- and/or design-studio’s. These internships are often outside Amsterdam or the Netherlands. The student will be guided in finding a studio/place that fits her or his ambition and ‘style’. Also you will be guided with making a portfolio and writing a letter of recommendation. The internship period is often used by the students to finds out specifics things, materials, ways of working that the student can use for her or his graduation project.

Do you need to be a ‘maker' to succeed at designLAB?

The students at designLAB are makers, doers and feelers, and never only one of these three ‘positions’. We encourage students to get out of their comfort zone as much as possible, but at the same time we also like to stimulate your talent and -artistic- character. 
To balance out the three ‘basic-attitudes’ will make you a more complete designer/artist after graduation and will also ensure a better start out in the practice.

Is there a difference between designLAB and the design-academy?

The big difference between these two institutes in the context and the way of teaching. The Rietveld-academy with all the different departments and workshops will inspire and influence our students. We encourage students to search for cross-overs and collaborations with other students and departments. The big variety of teachers and assignments also ensures that the students develop a clear and personal handwriting, it’s very hard to find out -style and approach wise- who has been teaching our students. We teach methodologies of working but no dogma’s!

What are the major theme’s, topics or focus points within the education?

To stimulate and develop the power and potential of the imagination. Improvisation and alternative creative responses are our specialties.

What do I need to bring in the department?

Curiosity, experiment, vulnerability, commitment, open mind, trust in failures, desires, dreams are what we expect from you and what you can expect from the program.

What is the ‘Monday-morning-cake'?

Every students has to bring in a cake on the Monday-morning through-out the year. On the Monday morning we gather together with coffee and cut a piece of the selfmade cake. This cake is always the starting-point of a discussing or talk that starts the week and get’s all the students in the department, ready for the various projects and a productive week.

Is there something else to know?

Embrace the unknown and see design and art as an attitude. It’s about how you relate to life and your (direct) environment. Explore what you do not understand, be curious and open minded, think in possibilities and the power of imagination. The visualization of the yet unstable, fragile and transforming ‘new’ is endless and has enormous potential….at the Rietveld and within designLAB you can explore and develop this!