Founder Margriet Vollenberg brought together a like-minded community holding exhibitions for emerging designers and creatives. Now with over 20 years of industry experience Margriet has become quite the trailblazer. After graduating from Eindhoven Design Academy, the young designer spent 5 years in Milan working at an Italian jewellery house, Pellini. It was from this moment that she realised design was her calling in life.
In her early years she would frequently attend the Salone del Mobile, where she was swiftly approached by Marcel Wanders, now CEO of famed design house Moooi, ‘I was helping studios and creatives with their presentations in Milan. Then one day, Marcel Wanders reached out to me.’
With a laugh she continues, ’he was interrogating me with unrelated questions to test my Italian skills, but immediately told me I was the perfect candidate to help him launch his new company in Milan'. For Margriet, this moment was very exciting, and crucial for her career; working with a start-up can be fruitful, and in her case she excelled. When pinpointing a pivotal moment in her career this springs to her mind. ‘I was really happy to be a part of such a pioneer’.
‘The design world is always changing. The mould is hard to break in Italy, when starting out my business in Milan, I found I was being laughed at. Being young and female in the industry didn’t work in my favour. The country is full of well established designers, but it seemed you needed to be of age to prove your sense of worth and experience’. So she took what she had learned in the Italian city back to The Netherlands with her, and opened Organisation in Design. Vollenberg’s smart mind allowed her to occupy a space in the design world that did not exist at the time. Now 17 years later she has a plethora of projects at Fuori Salone in her portfolio with Ventura Lambrate, Ventura Centrale and now the new Ventura Future.
‘In Ventura Lambrate’s first edition, we housed 42 nationalities with over 150 exhibitors, I wanted to help young foreign designers who were thirsty to get there work into the Italian market’. When asked about her chosen location for the venture, Margriet elaborates, ‘Often I describe Milan as ‘the city behind closed doors’, design is around but you have to really search for it. I discovered the space at Milan’s central station by chance, hidden were 126 gated-closed doors below the station. I was intrigued and suddenly once I had talked with more people and managed to reach the owner, I realised they hadn’t been opened for 30 years.’ Once Margriet was able to see this goldmine, her eyes lit up - 40,000 square metres of open space, a designer’s paradise. ‘Space is fundamental, designers want an area that works as a blank canvas for their creations’.
The people and stories behind products peak Margriet’s interests the most, ‘I’m happy to help these designers, creatives often struggle with communicating their work out. I’ve met many talented people but they don’t know how to apply themselves, so at Organisation in Design we offer consulting to designers and industries that want to work with designers’. After spending a lot of time in Italy, she came to understand the complexities of the system, ‘Italian designers now come to me asking for help on how to organise their businesses’ she says with a smile. That being said, the bridge between new and old designers in Italy is quite apparent - ‘well established designers occupy a larger portion and thats fantastic for them to still be standing, however it’s time to make way for new ones’.
You can discover more about Ventura Centrale and Ventura Future here and explore the exhibit during Milan Design Week between 17-22nd April.
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