is a guest at the mcbw. Rosalie Apituley has the ambitious aim of changing our attitude to the weather.

Dutch design rules. Designers like Hella Jongerius and architects like Nathalie de Vries have cleaned up every award going for decades. This year the design platform Ontwerp Platform Arnhem OPA ( will guest at the mcbw with a two-day program on new materials in the textile industry and issues concerning our energy future. The latter is overseen by designer Rosalie Apituley, an energy specialist who will investigate the way we look at weather.


Energy galore

It’s all a matter of the right energy, a topic that has been pushed to center stage since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. “The energy crisis has definitely influenced the momentum of what I produce,” says Rosalie, who gained her Bachelor’s in Social Design at ArtEZ University of the Arts, “but I don’t use a very political stance in my work. I prefer to remain neutral, because my goal is mostly to reach a lot of people.” The effectiveness of this strategy was shown by her work for DDW (Dutch Design Week), proposing skating in the summer. When wind and solar power deliver so many “solar peaks” that there is hardly time or capacityto distribute the energy, wouldn’t it be smart to build an “ice battery” and redirect surplus energy into an ice rink so that we could skate in July? Skating on the frozen city canals known as “grachten” is a quintessentially Dutch phenomenon, captured by Old Masters such as Pieter Bruegel and Joost Cornelisz. Now climate change is endangering this venerable tradition.


A little crazy

But doesn’t an ice battery sound a little crazy? Not at all. An ice battery is an efficient way of storing power before later reconverting it into electricity. It’s creative design research in action. “I know I’m not going to save the world, but I’ll still try,” says Rosalie, who volunteered as an energy coach during her studies, helping people to reduce their electricity bills. Well aware of how energy brings people together, the social designer is exploring how we can work together to achieve more. She is examining the issue of “how we can deal with weather better on a societal and cultural level. We used to work hand in hand with the weather; we hung out our washing when the sun shone or the windmill sails were turning.” Today things are different: “The promise of renewable energy is that we can once again generate and use our own energy in mini-grids, with the idea that people will regain a connection to energy and to nature.” Hence, the issue is actually one of politics and social decisions; while it appears to place smart networks and smart homes in the foreground, at its true heart is a self-determined local energy supply for all.

 “My ideal, my utopian world is a place where we have regained the knowledge of how energy works and we can participate in that ourselves. So we’re talking about how we can work with nature to create something.” It is an ideal that requires people to join forces in supporting a common cause without being distracted by the market’s constant stream of seductive new things and new services, which tempt people to use them “before they even know whether they need them.”


Dutch cheerfulness

Throughout all this, the mood is one of tongue-in-cheek levity. “Dutch design occupies the space between industrial design and fine arts,” affirms Rosalie. “It moves fluidly between those areas and is well able to be provocative. We don’t always seek to create a solution directly. But we’re known for being honest, sometimes even blunt. Humor is a big part of my work, and we shouldn’t underplay its power to put things in perspective.” A particularly attractive promise of this future is being able to collaborate within neighborhoods again. “My vision is that we celebrate energy in summer when we have an abundance of it,” says Rosalie. “Perhaps we should adapt our whole culture around it, to work more in summer and less in winter."


Workshops on May 13 and 14: Ontwerp Platform Arnhem OPA ( guests at mcbw. Each workshop offers 24 places.

Stiftung Arnhem Design Platform OPA
Van Oldenbarneveldtstraat 79a
6828 ZN Arnheim