The 12 winners of the Creative Heroes Award 2017

On 29 June, the very first Creative Heroes Awards were handed out. From over 200 entries and 60 nominees, the jury finally chose 12 winners from the world of design and architecture. In Undercurrent in Amsterdam, the winners could claim their prize.

As media partner, Materia was also invited to the celebratory evening. The guests were welcomed at the lovely location at the water in Amsterdam with a cocktail, after which they could enjoy a three course dinner, alternated with handing out the awards. With over 300 guests of various backgrounds, the evening was a great succes.

The awards
The aim of the Dutch awards is to honour the creative minds behind the project, rather than the project itself. The winners, both famous and still unknown people, were chosen based upon various social and economic aspects, such as impact, innovation and added value.

The awards are divided into three categories, consisting of best creative, best organisation and best collaboration. In each category, there are four prizes to be won, namely Architecture, Interior, Product, and Next Generation to honour young talent.

The Creative Heroes Award was initiated by Guus van Maarschalkerweerd and Materia’s own Jeroen van Oostveen, to celebrate creativity and the creative process. Creativity is not limited to the creative industry, as worded by one of the winners, Boyan Slat of The Ocean Cleanup. “There is a misconception that creative thinking is only for the creative industry and not for technology companies,” he said. “They are supposed to think only analytical. At The Ocean Cleanup, we do both.”

According to Peter de Winter, editor-in-chief of ArchitectuurNL and judge in the category Architecture, “The beauty of the Creative Heroes Award is that architecture firms, who, for example, never stood a chance to win the ‘Building of the year’ award – because the buildings aren’t spectacular– now get a chance to be laureled. Because they as people make the difference to solve a social problem, increase social interaction or are very innovative.”

Renske Schriemer, design journalist at Design Press and judge in the category Interior, said, “The initiative of the Creative Heroes Award shows vision and the capacity to change the idea surrounding appreciation. I think there is a need for that, to look further than a beautiful project or product. We focus on creativity itself, the spark that triggers new directions. This society needs the ability to solve problems and fresh look that creatives have to offer, now more than ever.”

The winners: Best Creative
In the category Architecture, sponsored by Interface, Roel Rutgers, founder of MOME Housing, came out as the winner for his smart panels to make modular houses. He also helps with financial securities such as mortgage, thus helping less fortunate people in southern Africa.

For Interior, sponsored by Vescom, the winner was Hans Meyer, initiator and co-founder of Zoku. He developed an original hospitality idea, a hotel and workplace/social community in one.

Dave Hakkens put online building plans for machines to shred, melt and reuse local found plastic. The project stimulates local entrepreneurship and can especially help in slums. Hakkens won in the category Product, which was sponsored by Prooff.

Last winner in the Best Creative category, sponsored by Gispen, was Teresa van Dongen, for Next Generation. She is researching a new way of lighting, by using bioluminescent bacteria.

The winners: Best Organisation
New Horizon Urban Mining won in the category Architecture, sponsored by Kvadrat. New Horizon is a collaboration of five large companies who demolish buildings and reuse the material in creative ways, thus using the city as a ‘mine’ for materials.

For Interior, the award went to MV Architects. The architectural firm redesigned the security area at Schiphol Airport to change a place of stress and anxiety into one that is almost pleasant. This category was sponsored by Brothers and Sons.

RDM Makerspace, winners of the category Product, is a platform, workplace and lab in which large companies put their machines at the disposal of professionals and for education.

In the category Next Generation, the award went to The Ocean Cleanup, founded by Boyan Slat. The aim of the company is to clean up the Great Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean. This category was sponsored by Lexus, one of the main sponsors of the event.

The winners: Best Collaboration
BlueCity, winner of Architecture in this category, is a model city with a circular economy. This category was sponsored by Satelliet Meubelen.

In Interior, sponsored by Baars & Bloemhoff, the award was won by the collaboration between Samira Boon Studio, the TextielLab, the University of Tokyo and Theaters Tilburg. This collective came up with Archi Fold Theaters, an innovative series of textile structures that can be used as multifunctional acoustic partitions.

LABEL/BREED brings together designers and the industry, creating innovative interior objects. LABEL/BREED supports this development from initiating the collaboration to the end product. The collective won in the category Product, sponsored by Montis.

The Next Generation award was won by the collective Bottle-up. Hubert and Elisabeth van Doorne, who own a resort in Zanzibar, initiated this collaboration by asking a team of designers to solve the problem of glass bottles left behind by tourists. Along with local artisans, they make new products from the waste glass. This category was sponsored by ABN AMRO, the second main sponsor.

Photos: Hanne Hansen