KEVN | Work in Progress

At Work in Progress, we visit makers, designers, and researchers who are trying to get something unique off the ground. Something that isn't there yet, but should be. Today we're at KEVN, a new cultural meeting place, which is almost ready to open. How's it going? And do they need any help?

Yingyi Luo and Erik Slijpen are the people behind KEVN, 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 gonna 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 you have placed a glass extension with rather striking arches.

"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 else you need help with?

"We're looking for someone with green fingers. 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."

KEVN opens at the end of August.

What if you are still at the very beginning? If you feel like you have gold in your hands, but you are still a long way from being there? Every month we ask a design or tech talent about his or her work in progress. And if we can help with something. Would you like to tell us more about a project? Send us an e-mail!

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