Several years ago Atelierdorp, a collective of designers from all parts of the world, set up shop with work studios inside a church in the city of Eindhover in the Netherlands. Starting with a small handful of passionate innovators, the group immediately became a 'design family' that has since grown and gained international recognition for their avant-garde ideas.
Even within the world of design, it was the most unusual gathering of creative minds. The church, which became a communal live/work space for the designers, was a breeding ground for new concepts and 'healthy competition' among individuals, as the Spanish design star Nacho Carbonell put it. And, from unique pottery to some of the most cutting-edge furniture, many of the works pushed boundaries and challenged traditional ideas in design.
But, most importantly, Atelierdorp was about collaboration and sharing amongst a group of budding creatives who were all trying to find a place in a competitive industry. "For starting entrepreneurs the most important thing is to have a good network," explains furnituremaker Bas Van Raay. "Nowadays we really make use of each other's networks and that is really important. And, this way you grow really fast because you can use each other's factories, each other's clients...a lot of information doesn't get lost this way."
And, since their founding, Atelierdorp has had large-scale exhibitions. However, in early 2011, just about three years after the collective first set up their studios in the church, the group had to move to a new location.