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Up Close & Personal 2021
18 - 22 October 2022
De Effenaar Eindhoven

For 5 consecutive days, Design United fuelled the debate around design research in the Effenaar during the Dutch Design Week in  Eindhoven. Isolde Hallensleben hosted a vivid show and talked to researchers and designers to ignite a lively discussion on 5 design research themes: 1 Entangled Ecologies, 2 Connected Interactions, 3 Changing Things, 4 Embedded Designers, 5 Evolving Methodologies.

Research questions discussed were for instance: How can we design and build products made from CO2? Can we design for a balanced non-human relation? How will we experience Machine Learning Forecasts of our moods?

Find out more about the projects below.

18 October
Entangled Ecologies

Designers, processes and the products they produce, originate and function within natural, social and technological ecologies.

Modern designs cannot be singled out, they are always connected and entangled. 

This challenges designers to identify interdependencies within and across worldly phenomena and find ways to address them together. A key role in this theme is played by the material of design: from living organic materials, to digital and speculative materials, we show how they create new entanglements and lead to unforeseen results.

Talkshow highlights

Watch the highlights of our talkshow in 3 minutes and discover what this theme is all about.

Entanglement Design
Jelle van Dijk - University of Twente
Editions 2021Entangled ecologies
A Data-Driven Peek into “Living with” Living Artefacts
Bahar Barati - Eindhoven University of Technology
Editions 2021Entangled ecologies
19 October
Connected Interactions

A consequence of ecological thinking in design is that interactions have both a local and global implications. 

The theme Connected Interactions brings home the idea that interacting with something can be meaningful for a particular time and place or can be alien to it, has impact on other interactions taking place, and can even transcend particular situations, producing effects beyond the local circumstances.

Talkshow highlights

Watch the highlights of our talkshow in 3 minutes and discover what this theme is all about.

Blended-ness and the future of connected interactions
Himanshu Verma - Delft University of Technology
Editions 2021Connected interactions
20 October
Changing Things

Many ‘things’ that designers envision and make are no longer singular but plural: things with multiple identities and material substrates. Organic living material combined with digital material, assemblages of human and artificial intelligences, blends of machines and meanings. 

How does this plurality challenge our perceptions of things and which tools and techniques do designers have at their disposal to craft them?

Talkshow highlights

Watch the highlights of our talkshow in 3 minutes and discover what this theme is all about.

Design with and for Changing Things
Heather Wiltse - Umeå Institute of Design (Umeå University)
Editions 2021Changing things
21 October
Embedded Designers

How are designer embedded in the ecologies in which they design and intend to transform? 

Their mere presence is not neutral. How do they choose their position? How do they deal with situations in which they find themselves, and how do they enable change: from within or from the outside, as humble catalysts, or as outspoken activists?

Talkshow highlights

Watch the highlights of our talkshow in 3 minutes and discover what this theme is all about.

Embedded Designers uncovered
Dieuwertje de Wagenaar (WUR) & Milene Gonçalves (TUD)
Editions 2021Embedded designers
Protein Transition
Remco de Kluizenaar - Wageningen University & Research
Editions 2021Embedded designers
22 October
Evolving Methodologies

Design as a discipline is evolving and so are the collective methods, tools, and techniques that constitute it. How can design become a more mature field of research and practice, while facing increasingly complex challenges that require its methodologies to continuously and rapidly evolve? 

How can design collaborate with other disciplines in cross-domain problem spaces, while maintaining its own identity? And what roles are emerging for designers, to integrate different forms of knowing and to intervene in contested issues?

Talkshow highlights

Watch the highlights of our talkshow in 3 minutes and discover what this theme is all about.



Concept & project lead

  • Marco Rozendaal
  • Berry Eggen

Theme leads

  • Mathias Funk
  • Jacky Bourgeois
  • Jamila Blokzijl
  • Daniël Saakes
  • Miguel Bruns
  • Dieuwertje de Wagenaar
  • Milene Guerreiro Gonçalves
  • Sara Colombo
  • Clemens Driessen


  • Marica de Michelle
  • Laura Papke

Talkshow host

  • Isolde Hallensleben

Design United

  • Berry Eggen
  • Daan van Eijk
  • Daniël Saakes
  • Dieuwertje de Wagenaar


  • Julia Candy
  • Jeanette Schoumacher
  • Nijs Bouman

Project Coordinator

  • Marijke Idema

After another year of intense and inspiring Design Research by the four technical universities, we are thrilled to get up close, again! We will zoom in on 35 specially selected top design research projects. And we are really excited to get the personal view of a new generation of designers and researchers during our Talkshows. What are their ideas and visions about our future? Which ethical dilemmas do they face? How might they solve them?

Over the course of five days (18 – 22 October), we center these discussions on five contemporary topics in design. Topics that have emerged as responses to scientific and technological progress, as well as new societal concerns and ethical viewpoints. Entangled Ecologies, Connected Interactions, Changing Things, Embedded Designers and Evolving Methodologies.

Whet your appetite by browsing our magazine. Organised by themes, a curated mix of project descriptions, expert columns, photos, and films, offers a depth of information.

Next, carve out an hour in your schedule so that you can tune into the live-streamed daily talk shows (starting from Monday 18 October at 15:00). Or join us live in de Effenaar!

Come to our expo in the Klokgebouw, watch the product demonstrations, listen to the discussions, and have your say via the daily polls. Time to get inspired!