‘Clients often come to me when things need to be done differently’

‘Clients often come to me when things need to be done differently’
19 August 2021 Bertine Aalderen, van
foto: Sander van der Bij.

Wim ten Cate van Pronk and Ditmar van Dam (rechts). Photo: Sander van der Bij.

Ditmar van Dam creates a climate-adaptive design for the terrace of Stadscafé Pronk for Groningen Ontwerpt (Groningen Designs). He works with old wood and plants.

Can you briefly describe yourself and your work?
‘I am an industrial designer and artist. Clients often come to me when they have to, when things are complicated. That is where the challenge lies for me.

Many people have come into contact with my work without even knowing it. Think of the Pink Scoop (10 metres high), which the municipality of Groningen places during work activities and the pink information boards in the shape of an arrow (Space for you). Other examples include lighting fixtures in the ‘cruise ship’ of the Tax Authority and medical supply systems above hospital beds in UMCG and Martini Hospital, among other places. Or, for example, the pancake printer at Noorderzon and the climate-adaptive artwork ‘De Woaterkop’. The cow that can turn air and trees into water in times of heat stress.

An example of my own projects is the Anomatic Coffee Machine – the most sustainable coffee machine in the world. Waste energy is converted into a cup of espresso. Entirely without electricity, or combustion.’

What assignment are you working on and for which company?
‘With my design, I want to provide more light and less heat on the terrace of Stadscafé Pronk. In summer it often gets hot. The sun is blocked with sunshades now. Unfortunately, however, this also ensures that it gets dark on the terrace.’

Which (waste) material will you use and why?
‘The terrace has many wooden elements. I will use old wood as the basis for the construction. I want to keep plants out of the sun. Plants are able to retain moisture and ‘transpire’ in times of heat, and this means that they have a cooling effect.’

Where do you get your inspiration?
Nature is my greatest source of inspiration. I love physical laws and principles. By understanding it, you can play with it and make it work for you. I combine this with the requirements of the customer, who challenges me to somehow find a solution.’

What do you think of the theme of climate adaptation?
‘Sustainable design has been a fixed value since my training in the late 1990s. It comes naturally to me to work with them. I actually find it strange that this can be a theme.’

You can see the end result on Sunday 26 September between 12pm and 5pm at Stadscafé Pronk, Vismarkt 56. Ditmar will be present and will be happy to discuss the design and production process with you.

Ditmar is the second designer we propose, followed by Zhenni Tian, ​​Carolijn Slottje and Lieve van Meegen. The first interview with Wieke Alberts can be found here.

You can read more about Groningen Ontwerpt here.