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Creative Amsterdam 2011

Talks, dinners, open portfolio nights and a pair of proud winners were all part of the three-day conference that is Creative Amsterdam.

By Cassandra Pizzey / 19-05-2011

For three days last week Dutch architects, designers, artist and other creatives based all over the world came together for the very first edition of Creative Amsterdam

The event covered design, fashion and creative agencies amongst others, with talks by such names as Rem D. Koolhaas (United Nude), Monika Mulder (ex-IKEA) and Remko de Jong (Favela Painting).

Day one kick-started at Pakhuis de Zwijger with an opening speech from Carolien Gehrels (Economic Affairs, Art and Culture of the City of Amsterdam) who focussed on the internationalism of design today, saying that "sometimes talent is better recognized outside of the Netherlands."
This international approach was apparent during the talks in which United States and Chinese trade were the two central themes. Speakers such as Richelle Groen (Adidas, NEO) Wilbert Plijnaar (Universal) discussed the business models of these global markets and shared in their personal experiences. Questions such as 'how do you become successful as an entrepreneur from the Netherlands?' and 'What is the best strategy for a creative company?' were raised and hopefully answered.

Each of the following days had a number of strong central themes with day two focussing on Social and Digital - two of the greatest marketing tools available to entrepreneurs today - and day three centered around designing for the masses and fashion. Speakers from various disciplines, and working from various countries around the world (from New York to Kathmandu), specialists in their field, held talks and discussions in the two main conference halls at Pakhuis de Zwijger. Audience participation was actively encouraged and spectators were given the chance to ask the speakers about their business experiences abroad, or ask such questions as "how to make the most of creative talent?".

In addition to the various talks and lectures, there was a chance for young creative design agencies to win the Creative Amsterdam prize, founded by ABN-AMRO Dialogues House and Creative Cities Amsterdam Area (CCAA). Six companies (22 tracks, !syou, Flavour, Muzar, Innovation Factory, Mix Academy) were in the running to win the €25.000 prize. They were each given three minutes to pitch their business ideas during an informal dinner held at Pakhuis de Zwijger. Clear winner was Amsterdam-based !syou, whose project includes traveling to DAC-listed countries in search of local creative talent to add to their sneaker designs. The sneakers are then produced locally, ensuring "a stimulation to creativity and economic development in an innovative way."

Students were treated to special sessions with various speakers, in which  dialogue and interaction were the main focus. The sessions varied from architecture with Florian Idenburg and Gilian Schrofer, to advertising with Louk de Sévaux and Koert Bakker; but fashion, photography, animation and many more were also on the menu.

Creative Amsterdam is a co-production by Pakhuis de Zwijger and CCAA, in collaboration with the Federation Dutch Creative Industries (BNO, BNI, Photographer's Federation, BNA, VEA, PIBN, DGA, and Modint) and DDFA (Dutch Design Fashion and Architecture),

Click on the images to enlarge
All photographs by Rayzor Sharp Unlimited

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