Meet the NEXT18 Designers: Studio C.A.R.E.

Rotterdam-based design studio Studio C.A.R.E. offers radical experiences in interior design — and are one of the designers behind NEXT18. We put them to the question…

Rotterdam based design studio Studio C.A.R.E. offers radical experiences in interior design. They push users out of their comfort zone to discover the everyday differently and explore other possibilities within spatial environments. They trigger real needs instead of decorating space, they demand co-creation instead of making genius-designs. We asked Christine and Sebastian some core questions about their work.

What is “good” design for you?

Sebastian: Good design doesn’t exist in an objective way. There are a lot of very impactful, subjectively good designs that try to fulfil an objective approach to good design. That creates a gap between the expectations of a user towards a certain object and its long term ability to meet these expectations. We want to move away from the idea of an objectively good design and instead research the real needs of people. Good design approaches from “above” are out fashioned, because they lack the ability to meet these personal needs.

Christine: Good design inspires you to be creative and playful, because it makes possibilities visible. It gives you a sense of how you can shape your own environment. It should meet your needs for the moment but also always have a kind of openness in its system where you can actually change it around. In our sense, good design is fairly produced, if possible locally and uses sustainable or recyclable materials.

How would you characterise your design approach?

Christine: Our design approach is human-centered, process-oriented, artistic, sometimes performative and often radical to people. We like to combine materials from different branches and put them together in a way that the construction is re-enactable, we don’t like to hide things.  Most things become a system so different parts of a design can be combined.

Sebastian: We want to really work together with our clients. We think that research for their needs should be a much bigger part of the design process then it mostly is nowadays. We want to open a door to the clients playfulness, spark their fun in taking part shaping their surroundings. According to the sentence “if you can’t open it, you don’t own it”, we think that a person really makes use of the space she or he uses when this person is at least, to a certain amount, part of the shaping process. We dream of co-creation and a flexible, growing and learning space for people that changes constantly and where people are aware of these changes. This sounds like the more effortful way, but it is certainly the more sustainable and reliable one.

What needs to be considered when designing for an event?

Sebastian & Christine: We’re still learning, haha! But apart from all the technical and logistical challenges, our main question was: how can we avoid throwing everything away after the event? And: how to stay playful and not too dogmatic? We like systems which can easily be dismantled, stored or re-used. For NEXT17 we went for a scaffolding system, because we thought it would go easily back into the cycle of material use. But the way we used it, the metal scaffold system was quite difficult to handle and too heavy. For digital fix, we work with lots of peg boards in wood and hemp which will be used in a long term project right after the event.

What makes the NEXT Conference unique?

Christine: There’s quite some effort put into it to make it unique, lots of personal dedication and spirit. Can’t go wrong, I would say.

Sebastian: I have never been to another conference and thus have no basis for comparison. But I do know that there is a helluva passionate team behind NEXT; there are inspiring and important questions that are being asked by this conference – and of course there is this cool interior design to be seen here and there. I guess these are good ingredients to at least maximise the chances of it being a unique event.

How would you “Fix Digital”?

Sebastian: Shut it down. Back to pen, paper or to be consequently back to some flintstone tools. This is of course not doable, and that’s the point where I usually lose track when it comes to this problematic topic about the broken digital world. I’m hoping that while strolling around NEXT18 I’ll come by some inspiration or solutions.

Christine: Technically, I don’t have a clue yet. But we try to do our part by creating a platform where things are possible to be altered and discussed, where you feel part of something of impact, where movements can happen and where a crowd of thinkers, makers and changers feels stimulated to dare to take the next steps.

Learn more about Studio C.A.R.E. at