Dezeen Magazine

Thomas Widdershoven

New Design Academy Eindhoven creative director announced

News: graphic designer Thomas Widdershoven of Amsterdam studio Thonik has been appointed creative director of Design Academy Eindhoven after a turbulent period for the Dutch institution.

Widdershoven, who founded Thonik with Nikki Gonnissen in 1993, has also been named chair of the executive board at the academy. He said he was looking forward to building Design Academy Eindhoven's reputation as the "strongest" of the Dutch design schools.

"After a good start [to] the academy and a period of prosperity, it is now important to further develop the national and international stature of the Design Academy and connect to current developments in the design world, and broader society as a whole," he said.

The academy advertised for a creative director in December following a period of turmoil that saw the resignation of the heads of the three masters courses, their subsequent return to the school and the departure of school's chair Annemieke Eggenkamp.

The school has been without a creative director since September 2009 when fashion designer Alexander van Slobbe quit just nine months after being appointed as successor to trend forecaster Li Edelkoort, who stepped into the row last summer to publish a letter criticising Eggenkamp's leadership.

Last July the three heads of the masters courses resigned in unison, claiming management decisions at the school were "compromising the quality of education". The three later returned after extracting concessions from the school but continued to press for the appointment of a creative director.

Widdershoven graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and taught graphic design at the Hogeschool van de Kunst Arnhem until 2000. Since then he has taught at his former university, at HEAD in Geneva and at Fu Dan University in Shanghai.

See all news about Design Academy Eindhoven.

Here's more information from the academy:

Thomas Widdershoven has been appointed creative director of the Design Academy Eindhoven. In this position he develops the artistic and educational policy of the academy and works together with the yet to be appointed director of education. With its international team of tutors the Design Academy Eindhoven offers a high-quality four-year Bachelor and a two-year Master in Design. The academy became widely known under the direction of Lidewij Edelkoort.

"The Design Academy has the strongest position of all academies in The Netherlands. There is strength and courage in the single focus on design. After a good start of the academy and a period of prosperity, it is now important to further develop the national and international stature of the Design Academy and connect to current developments in the design world, and broader, society as a whole. In the position of creative director, I want to contribute to this development", said Thomas Widdershoven.

Thomas Widdershoven combines the role of creative director at the Design Academy with his work for Thonik, the design studio of which he is director. The field, network and international perspective of both overlap and complement each other. "I want to be a creative director who is firmly rooted in the design practice."

Thonik is the design studio that Thomas Widdershoven founded with Nikki Gonnissen in 1993. With fifteen employees the design studio collaborates with clients and creatives in design, e-culture, architecture, art, film and advertising. Recent clients include Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, the Venice Architecture Biennale and the Dutch broadcasting company VPRO. Thonik is widely known for two projects in the public domain: the visual identity and electoral campaigns of the Dutch Socialist Party (SP) and the visual identity of the municipality of Amsterdam. The work of Thonik gets much recognition. Thonik has had solo exhibitions at the Shanghai Art Museum, the Venice Architecture Biennale 2008, MOTI Breda, Spiral Art Center Tokyo, Sfera Kyoto, Institute Néerlandais Paris and Galerie Anatome Paris. The design studio has monographs published in English, Chinese and Japanese. Thonik has won many awards, including the Rotterdam Design Prize and the Gouden Loeki, an award for the best Dutch television commercial.

Education is a passion of Thomas Widdershoven. Almost immediately after graduating as a designer at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, he became a teacher of graphic design at the Hogeschool van de Kunst Arnhem (1995-2000). He later left that position for a lectureship at the Rietveld Academy where he taught at the designLAB (3d design, 2001-2005). Thomas gives workshops and lectures in The Netherlands and abroad, recently at the HEAD in Geneva and the Fu Dan University in Shanghai.

Thomas Widdershoven: "Many people are pessimistic because they have no clear image of the future. I do not share this pessimism. Therefore, I commit myself to education. The future should be shaped - by the designers of the future."