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Kaplum. Playful and imaginative design for the little explorer

Together with Alper Demir I have been forming the designer duo Kaplum since the beginning of 2017. We both graduated in Visual Arts at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and make products  of wood and textiles for babies, children and parents. Since we had a son in 2016, we have seen up close how children experience the world; full of color and adventure. Our designs are in line with this.

We design and manufacture all of our products ourselves. We use carefully selected sustainable and certified natural materials. We use simple shapes and colors to allow children's imagination to flourish. We draw much of our inspiration from abstract art.

Our products are not only attractive for children to play with, but also beautifully designed objects for everyone to enjoy.  Because we do not want to contribute in any way to the problem of plastic pollution, all of our products, packaging and promotional materials are completely plastic-free.

Research project Building for biodiversity

From January to April 2015 I participated in the Building for Biodiversity Research Project, set up by landscape architect Maike van Stiphout and architect Mathias Lehner. A team of biology students from the University of Leiden, students from the Academy of Architecture, young designers and I as an architectural historian explored the possibilities of increasing biodiversity in cities.


I have, among other things, worked on analysis of de Ceuvel (Amsterdam) and Lewenborg (Groningen). De Ceuvel is a sustainable project that is being developed on a former shipyard whose soil is heavily polluted. A park has been created that will purify the soil over the next ten years. Lewenborg is a neighbourhood in Groningen whose public green space was developed from 1973 to 1983 by visual artist, art teacher and cultural philosopher Louis le Roy together with the residents. It has since grown into a rich and varied area in which residents' participation is the major driving force.







Timeline Towards Biodiverse Cities

Within the research project Building for Biodiversity I worked on a timeline (from 1920 to the present) in which projects, persons, publications and events that were important for a development towards biodiverse cities are included. 


At the moment, the Netherlands is not known as a country that is very progressive or active when it comes to increasing biodiversity in the city. However, this has not always been the case. In the 1970s, the Netherlands played a pioneering role in the field of ecological greenery in the urban context. Excursions were made to Dutch projects from England and Sweden, reports were written, symposia and workshops were organised and projects developed in our own country. This fact was the reason for making the timeline.





The Kennedylaan in Heerenveen, a project that Le Roy started in 1966

'Now that rock-solid angular cities are penetrating the landscape, nature has to give something back. With a kind of jungle tactic, nature should proliferate in the cities and provide cathedrals of trees, shrubs and plants.' That is how visual artist, art teacher and cultural philosopher Louis Guillaume le Roy (1924-2012) explained his ideas about public green spaces in 1970. At that time, he had come to the attention of the media through a high-profile project in Heerenveen. In a dull new-build avenue, this 'wild gardener' was busy transforming a kilometer-long central reservation into a thickly vegetated strip that would develop into a forest. 


In his cultural-philosophical book 'Turning off nature – turning on nature' (1973), Le Roy argued that man's attitude towards nature had to change from a controlling to a respecting one. Don't dig, don't spray, don't prune, was his motto. 'Let grow what grows and limit human intervention to the most necessary actions – after all, nature organises itself,' he wrote. According to Le Roy, by starting from nature itself, a richer and more complex natural system could arise, which was able to sustain itself without maintenance. He made complexity and self-organisation central notions within his ideas and practice.


On the one hand, this thesis sought an answer to the question of how Le Roy incorporated the notions of complexity and self-organisation into his ideas and put them into practice. On the other hand, it investigates how Le Roy related to the contemporary theory and practice of urban greenery.






Master's thesis Public Garden Revolution. Complexity and self-organization in the public green projects of Louis G. Le Roy (1924-2012)


Service flat the Fregat (1978-79, A. Alberts) in Zoetermeer

Research within the International New Town Institute into heritage in the Dutch New Towns (1966-1988)

At the initiative of the International New Town Institute, a research institute in Almere that aims to improve the quality of global urban development, together with Anne Merkx I set up a research into urban development architecture from the 1970s and 80s. The hypothesis of this research is that the welfare state has stimulated exceptional initiatives and experiments in architecture.

The study is on the one hand a cultural-historical research into the relationship between the welfare state and the architecture in the growth centers. On the other hand, it is an inventory of what was built in these towns at the time and the possibility of giving this architecture the status of cultural heritage.


Although the welfare state is a period that is politically and socially over, the former growth centers continue to develop. In recent years almost all of these cities have started to think intensively about their future . They drew up or are making structural visions for 2020 or 2030, renew or expand the center, add new homes and start thinking about demolishing buildings from the sixties, seventies and eighties. Precisely because so many changes are taking place now, it has become necessary to take a critical look at what should be preserved. 



Research project John Bergmans (1892-1980)

Within the Bergmans research group, which is - in collaboration with the Dutch Garden Foundation, Special Collections Library Wageningen UR and the Bonas Foundation - mapping the oeuvre of landscape architect John Bergmans (1892-1980), I conducted research into Bergmans' villa gardens. compared to the villa gardens of Tersteeg (1876-1942) and Mien Ruys (1904-1999). In October 2013, this research resulted in the publication 'The garden as outdoor room. A comparison of three landscape architects in the Interwar period; Bergmans, Tersteeg and Ruys' in  Cascade Bulletin for Garden History. In the article I show that Bergmans was not only a 'plant man', but that he also worked from his own design principles.



Story for film installation 'Kloof' by Leonie Muller

In June 2014, the film installation Kloof by video artist Leonie Muller was shown in the Pelicaenhoeve, an authentic Flemish barn in Chaam (NL). The film is based on the story 'Ivy' that I wrote especially for this project. In 'Ivy', after years childhood friends Boris and Olaf meet again in the village where they grew up. It's a story about relationships between people, how they revolve around each other, face each other and try to find the right distance. Leonie Muller has made a film that vacillates between autonomous video art and classic fiction film. The viewer can walk between an arrangement of four screens, each showing a different perspective of the same story.



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