Graphic Design Program at BNSD (Binus Northumbria School of Design) holds an annual immersion trip with Graphic Design Program at Northumbria University. We visit design studios in these cities; Barcelona, London and Amsterdam. Last year, on 2015, our destination was Amsterdam. The main objective of this studio visit activities as an opening eye for the students to work in the creative industry worldwide. It was really a precious opportunity that the students wouldn’t get it in other design schools here in Indonesia, to get inside the creative kitchen and get insight from worldwide designers at design studios in Europe. Since the trip was taking place in Amsterdam, we also got the great opportunity to visit art & design museum which was very inspiring for the students.
Day 1 -‐ November 3: Arrival Day
Exploring the hotel surrounding and neighborhood was the first thing we did. Inner Hotel is located in one of the most central parts of Amsterdam; the Museum District. Good neighborhood with exciting places to visit.
Day 2 -‐ November 4: Rijksmuseum
We decided to visit this museum on the first place since this museum reflects the history of The Netherlands from around Middle Age century to the 20th century. Spending all day long wasn’t enough to explore all the collection so each of us decided to explore the collection that attract our personal interest individually. I spent more time on the jewelry section, dutch porcelain and ships collection. The other thing that grab our interest of course the artifacts related with Indonesia history in the 19th century collection.
DAY 3 – November 5: Designbridge & Lava Lab Studio Visit
Along with Northumbria University students, we visited one of the wellknown independent brand design agencies, Design Bridge. Design Bridge was established their first studio in 1986 in London, and now they are well into their 3rd decade and have grown studios in London, Amsterdam and Singapore and have recently opened a representative office in New York.
On the 10s Celsius degree, we walked into the office and that cold was melted away by the warm welcoming from the Design Bridge creative director, Jason Kempen. Throughout his astonishing presentation, we were all experiencing many aspect on what they have done on branding projects. The presentation covered different type of clients and many stages of process starting from the client call, how the initial ideas started, developing process, how the client services dealing with demanding clients, and also how they involve independent artist into their project. The length of branding project could be taking more less three years fro them to work out. Among their clienteles are Tanqueray No. TEN, Dulux, Smirnoff, TNT and Johnnie Walker. We even got a change to sneak preview the making of Johnnie Walker Christmas packs edition! What an experience for us.
Day 4 – November 5th: GREET Studio, Independent Graphic Designer
This day we started the freeze day by visiting another design studio. We visited a small and cozy studio, Greet Studio, owned and managed by an independent graphic designer, Greet Egbers. Unlike the previous studios, Design Bridge and Lava Lab, whom are working on the huge scale of project, here at Greet Studio we learnt how to work individually. Greet Egbers has been working in Lava Lab Studio for more than 10 years, than she decided to work by herself and built her own design studio, located on Binnen Dommersstraat 3, Amsterdam.
The working system on this studio is very similar with most independent graphic designers in Indonesia and other places, while the designer hire other profession such as photographer and copy writer on project based. However, we learnt the differences. is the testing process of new release design. The system of that particular process has established between designer, client and the group discussion to find out what how the customer react into the new design before they launch it.
This visit was really intimate since the designer, Greet Egbers has visited Indonesia couple times.
Rene Treumann, a graphic artist has been producing and selling his artworks since 1967 on his little store named Typique Typographical Boutique. On 1979, the name became Typique Craft Printing. Located on Haarlemmerdijk 123, 1013 KE Amsterdam. In this place we can see the process of letterpress using hand pressed machine. All set by hand and printed on a proof press or pedal press by the artist himself. Rene created many type of printing such as stationery, wedding cards, birth announcement posters and many more. Typography is his focus of works. It is very enlightening for us experiencing different era of printing technique while we are living on the digital era bombardment. That was really completed our journey of industry visit.
Museum Visit – Van Gogh Museum
This is a must museum to visit when we are in Amsterdam and it always have a long queue at the ticket booth every time we passed. Lucky for us, it is only 10 minutes walks from our hotel so we could get there quite early and no long queue yet. It is quite obvious what we can see on the museum, Van Gogh collections! It feels different of course seeing masterpiece on real, such as Almond Blossom, Sunflower and The Bedroom. Unfortunately we couldn’t find The Scary Night, apparently it was displayed on the MoMA New York.
We have seen self portrait of Van Gogh on the Rijk Museum but here, at Van Gogh Museum we saw more of them. He has lots of self portrait. The other this that very interesting for us is the way this museum display the live of Van Gogh. Van Gogh himself had a unique life and some weird and lunatic moments, and through the impressive display combining the sketches, photograph and slide show exposing some marks of his life, the audience get a more comprehensive to imagining his life years ago.
We also got a change to see Van Gogh:Munch exhibition. Edvard Munch is a Norwegian artist, lives far away from The Netherlands and neer met Van Gogh, however their live were remarkably similar one and another, and their art works are closely related, colorful, intense and expressive.
Day 5 – November 6th: Museum Visit – Stedelijk Museum
Stedelijk Museum is located next to Van Gogh Museum. Entering this museum reminds us a lot to MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) at New York city, USA, since this museum is dedicated to contemporary art and modern design. We can see variant collection from contemporary artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Kandisky and Picasso. For me, this is the museum I like the most, probably because i feel more connected to the collection, specially the typography artworks by Phillipe Apeloig: Using Type. Philippe Apeloig’s mastery of typography is such that he is able to play a subtle and well-‐chosen game with characters and fonts. He makes regular excursions from the printed page to create digital typographic animations. He composes with typography for logos, books, folders, moving images and posters. Overall the typography collection is very compelling, exposing interesting printing process and material usage. There is also video of typography that inspired students for doing their motion picture project.Other thing that grabbed our interest among other collections is some artworks inspired by Shadow puppet technique from Java.
Day 6 – November 7th: Museum Visit – Rembrandt House Museum
Unlike other museums we had visited, this museum is not located on the Museumplein. It is located in Rembrandtplein, 15 minutes by tram. It is actually a house of Rembrandt himself, when he lived in that house from 1639 – 1658, that’s why it is called Museum het Rembrandthuis or the Rembrandt House Museum. Having a tour in a house gave a different experience, it feels more intimate and private. The museum tour was exploring room by room and every single room has a story beside displaying his artworks. There are three stories open for public on that little house and going to the top story is getting personal. On the 2nd floor there is a working room for etching process called Rembrandt’s printing room. Here we can see the demo of etching technique on 17th century, one of the graphic techniques that Rembrandt used. The other demonstration that we can see is on the Rembrandt’s painting room, how the paint was made in Rembrandt’s time and how the natural pigments and oil turn into beautiful color.
Day 7 – November 9th: Departure from Amsterdam
Of course we had a shopping time before heading back home. What a worth immersion trip!
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