Work in progress: KEVN
Eindhoven Design District always has plenty of work in progress, thanks to all the makers, designers and developers. This time we visit KEVN, a new cultural meeting place in the city.
Yingyi Luo and Erik Slijpen are the people behind Kelderman & Van Noort, but you can immediately forget about that, because as Erik says at the start of the interview: it's all about the place. That place is a school building from 1929 in Woensel-West, right behind Strijp-S train station. Together with Trudo it is slowly being transformed into a cultural meeting place, with seven ateliers, three exhibition rooms, a fine restaurant and, how wonderful, a small private lawn in front of the door. The emphasis of the exhibitions will be on graphic and illustrative work.
How did the idea for this project come about?
"We started KEVN twelve years ago. Only a few blocks away, where the Keldermansstraat crosses the Willem van Noortlaan. After that, we spent some time on the NRE site. There too we organized expos, parties and you could have a nice meal. I think that Kelderman and Van Noort once originated from a feeling of longing. We missed a great place in Eindhoven where graphic art, live music and pub feeling come together".
Is this place going to be different?
"Not fundamentally, I think. This place, too, is all about bringing different people together and just letting things happen. But, it's really different in the sense that we're in it for the long term, making our work more sustainable and professional. We're investing heavily in the renovation ourselves in order to bring world-class designers and musicians to this place. And because it's such a large building, we're also renting out studio spaces.
In front of the school building is a glass expansion with striking arches, how did you come up with that?
"These are inverted rafters from an old pigsty. We are working with the architects from SuperUse for the renovation. They are trying to reuse as many materials as possible. The design for this pavilion originated from the available materials.”
Almost everything in the building has a story. The concrete slabs we're standing on used to be part of Strijp-S. The pretty bench in the bar was picked up at a bowling center that had to close down and also the double doors were found on Marktplaats. The water-permeable tiles at the front are from Rain(a)Way, the Eindhoven-based design and consultancy firm that also established its studio in the building.
Do you do everything yourself?
"In the past year, we have been working full-time, with the help of friends and construction workers. What I think is great is that we really got to know the building this way. We know exactly how everything works and what the building needs. But I can't wait to get started. We're so excited about this place, haha. Yingyi will be responsible for the hospitality and events, I'll be curating the programs."
Is there anything you need help with?
"We're looking for someone with a green thumb. I’m hoping for a retired gardener from the neighborhood who still loves his job. We have a nice lawn and on the terrace, there will be a butterfly garden, which could use some help. So wanted: a nice, old gardener."