Change makers: Jolan van der Wiel

295 Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
Jólan van der Wiel researches natural forces and uses them for his designs. Rather than fighting against climate change, Van der Wiel embraces the consequences of global warming. In Tropic City – Rotterdam, he shows that the heavy rainfall and rising temperatures can be the starting point for solution oriented design.

What would happen if global warming slowly turned Rotterdam into a tropical city? If monsoons terrorise the city and the water level rises, how will we then live in Rotterdam?

In ‘Tropic City - Rotterdam’, designer Jólan van der Wiel investigates forms, techniques and materials relevant for this tropical future. As port city, Rotterdam has a special relationship with water; in addition, the city is fighting rising subsoil water and water surplus.

In his ‘Tropic City - Rotterdam’ study, he suggests that rather than fighting the forces of climate change we should embrace the consequences of global warming. In his ‘Water Lab’, Van der Wiel is studying how water can have a practical and aesthetic value. He designed, for example, a ‘Water Bench’, which stores water for drier times.

Video credits

  • Video: Anouk Wouters
  • Interview: Sophie Heijkoop
  • Met dank aan: Jólan van der Wiel
  • Ondertiteling: Einion Media
  • Met steun van: Fonds 21, VSBfonds, Gemeente Rotterdam, BankGiro Loterij, Boijmans Business Club
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1 series

  • Change makers

    From within the design world, there is a growing readiness to tackle the big systemic problems of our time: scarcity of raw materials, growing social inequality and increasing migration due to conflicts. For designers, these problems are not a threat but rather an opportunity to create something new. This series features seven interviews with ‘changemakers’; designers who adopt a critical stance and appeal for urgent change.