Those involved with Complex were greatly disappointed last week. The National Cultural Council chose Amsterdam as the location for a new national design institute.
As a result, the Eindhoven candidate, ‘Complex’, lost €4 million in government subsidy. No-one seems to have anticipated this major setback. What went wrong?
It all seemed so obvious. A new design and technology institute in Eindhoven. This is a city that’s eager to be considered the Dutch design and technology capital. But the Cultural Council had a different opinion.
Plan full of holes
It shot several holes in the Eindhoven plan. These include that it’s financially unsubstantiated. There’s no clear shared vision, they said. The lack of a location was also a factor. Waag, the competitor from Amsterdam, fared much better.
It’s a week after the keen disappointment. Newly appointed Director, Frits Lintmeijer, acknowledges that ‘those behind Complex didn’t allow their strengths to resonate in the joint plan’. He admits, “We really should’ve done better.”
Lintmeijer doesn’t want to say it readily but implies that Complex wasn’t truly ready to apply for the subsidy. Were the application submitted two years from now, the plan would have been complete and more concrete. Questions such as that of the location may already have been resolved.
Had to be this year
But the state subsidy cycle is fixed. They had to present the proposal this year. The government distributes the grants for four years. Complex couldn’t help but try, with a plan full of loose ends. It’s only logical that it would lose against a strong candidate like Waag.
The question now is how to proceed with Complex, without that government subsidy. Lintmeijer expects the spirit of the plan will remain intact. Its development might, however, be delayed. “We’ll continue with this team. Other parties might join.”
“We’ll also continue with our plan to make ourselves regularly known in the city. The Council considered these wandering ways to be a weakness. But that’s something I still want to discuss. In this way, you can at least affordably gain recognition. You can earn your right to exist”.
One of the parties that might join the team is Next Nature Network. This is Koen van Mensvoort’s Eindhoven-Amsterdam-based think tank. The Complex partners currently comprise the Eindhoven University of Technology, the Dutch Design Foundation, MU Hybrid Art House, and the Design Academy.
The Evoluon Foundation itself is currently working on the plan to accommodate ‘the wonderful world of technology and design’ in Eindhoven’s iconic building. A match between Next Nature Network and Complex would, in any case, immediately solve the location problem.
Editor: Melinda Walraven