Rebooting Design @ Design Journal

Taking place today is an even more radical merger: creative production in its most various forms of expressions – whether music, graphic design, architecture, object design, video, etc. – is supported by a single tool, the computer.

This universal instrument provides a bridge which connects these very different creative fields.

Publication Dutch Open @ The Design Journal, Volume 15 Issue 4, United Kingdom, December 2012

For the Design Journal, an international, refereed journal covering all aspects of design, we wrote the article Rebooting (Dutch) Design on hybrid design for the special issue on Dutch Open design.


The Netherlands Institute for Design and Fashion (Premsela), the Netherlands Architecture Institute (Nederlands Architectuurinstituut) and the institute responsible for digital culture (Virtueel Platform) are currently being subjected to a forced merger. The new – and as yet unnamed – institute that will result will be housed in the existing building of the (soon to be) former Netherlands Architecture Institute in Rotterdam.

In the global context, similarly, we are today witnessing the hybridization of design-related fields such as architecture, design and digital culture. The institute currently in planning in the Netherlands could constitute a hybrid design institute (our proposed working title), which will correspond to the merging of the design-related professions. It will hopefully provide an interdisciplinary platform and hybrid laboratory that will foster innovation. The forced merger, an element of current Dutch cultural policy, represents a unique opportunity for accelerating the design-related cultural industry. The rebooting and acceleration of this industry to meet the challenges of the post-industrial age could position the Netherlands at the forefront of cultural innovation.

This paper discusses the potential of a hybrid design institute and speculates on its program. The background of this discussion is the investigation of the new field which is emerging from the fusion of the design-related disciplines. In the context of this emergent hybrid field, we want to introduce the notion of hybrid design. Below, we map out and place in a broader context hybrid design as a new field, which addresses today’s cutting-edge design challenges. Hybrid design is more than its constituent parts (architecture, design, digital culture). Since this paper is appearing in The Design Journal (i.e. an international magazine read by design professionals), it takes the design perspective as its point of departure. An expanded version of this paper could provide a balanced account of the architectural and digital culture perspectives as well, but would not drastically alter its contents rather clarify it from additional points of view.

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