Artistic / Research director
2016 – present, Arles, FR
2009–2013, Wilnis, NL
2019 - present, Vlieland, NL
2013–2017, Amsterdam, NL
Henriette Waal was trained as a designer and works as an artist, researcher and art director. Her work is based on extensive cross-cultural research and fieldwork by engaging with the project context on multiple levels. Waal addresses cultural, social, environmental and technological systems, connects people and establishes local and international links. This includes collaborations with scientists, communities, her substantial international network of freelancers and she also regularly involves students. Her system-level projects integrate design, community and ecology.
“I think that design should be deployed and implemented as a way to question and transform notions of materiality, cultural meaning, ownership, self-organization, health or food production. Social problems are stubborn, complex and hard to communicate, let alone solve. My work acquires value because it is picked up independently or when it makes people want to take action themselves. That is the proof that it reaches people’s hearts.” HW.
Waal has been finalist in the Dutch Design Awards for her research in the Dutch countryside in 2013 and received the International Award for Public Art for her placemaking approach in 2011. She has been teaching in the Social Design Master Programme at Design Academy Eindhoven since 2013. In 2016 Waal co-initiated Atelier Luma, an experimental design laboratory in Arles, France. Atelier Luma’s work is held in the collections of the MoMA (New York), the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum (New York) and the Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), amongst other.
At Atelier Luma Waal is currently leading a fieldwork research in Mediterranean wetlands. Her research contributes to new transnational ways to organise and make design integrating remote southern european, african and near eastern wetlands communities.