Design Switzerland is initiated by Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Arts Council.

Dutch Design Week 2022

Practical Information

Located at Microlab Hall, Strijp S
open from 11-18 o’clock, 22-30 October 2022

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The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia is presenting five promising up-and-coming designers at this year’s Dutch Design Week. The exhibition GIVING WAY revolves around personal interpretations of the theme things that matter: inclusivity, slowing down, balance, and circularity. With their bright minds, the designers invite us to appreciate and interact with everyday objects in a more conscious way, through their functionality or metaphorical urgency.

For the first time, Pro Helvetia is partnering with the Dutch Design Week with the purpose of giving way to a new generation of Swiss or Swiss-based Designers to present their meaningful propositions. Pro Helvetia’s exhibition will be held in Microlab HallThrough a selection of curated projects and international partnerships, innovative and sustainable solutions that are directly linked to their usage in today’s world will be presented. The venue strives to find different answers on the future of products.

Discover the five works displayed in GIVING WAY, a space transformed into an open landscape that brings the projects together and makes room for different mentalities. The mountainous scenery and strong, but transparent repeating volumes allow visitors to observe the projects from different angles and to immerse themselves in the space, from high to low.

All parts big and small are of great importance to keep the balance, they are the things that matter.

Selected projects:

Vestige, Alix Arto

The word «Vestige» can be defined as:

« What is left of something that disappeared or has been destroyed »

« Remains more or less recognisable of monuments or human activity »

« What is left of something abstract »

Vestige is a vase collection made out of bricks gathered in nature from the hills around Marseille. These industrial fragments, discarded around the city of Marseille, were selected for their formal aspect. In order to reassert their value and give a place to an abandoned object, the bricks’ fonction was twisted. The glazing and modelling processes, ceramic’s traditional methods, allowed the bricks to become water-resistant and offered a new function by adding a modelled clay base. Each piece is unique and made in a local ceramic workshop.

Alix Arto is a multidisciplinary designer originally from Switzerland and currently based between Marseille (FR) and Vevey (CH). Before establishing her own studio, she got a bachelor degree at ECAL (CH) and worked for prestigious product design studios in London (UK). Today, in addition to her collaboration with international manufacturers, galleries and museums, she is developing her personal practice through residencies and hands-on material investigations.

With the aim to create sustainable and innovative projects, she challenges the constraints of materials and production processes. Collaborating closely with artisans and industries, finding particularities in their savoir-faire and translating them into a collaborative project is central in her approach.

She also gives lectures and organises workshops to open artisanal creation to a wider public, promote the exchange of ideas and raise awareness of the stakes of production.

Alix Arto

Print my sleep, Rafael Gil Cordeiro

print my sleep makes the inconspicuous and unconscious of sleeping visible and translates it into dysfunctional objects. As an aesthetic alternative, PRINT MY SLEEP liberates sleep from the paradigm of optimization and idealization and gives it back some of its original intimacy.

Ever since it became the subject of economic and social debate, sleep has found no rest. Whether glorified as a post-material luxury good, acclaimed as a tool for increasing efficiency, or cursed as a waste of time – there is hardly any other topic in which social norms and collective longings are currently becoming as clear as with sleep.

The ceramic sculptures are created in 3D printing from individual sleep data, such as pulse, oxygen saturation and movement, each of which symbolizes a sleep phase. The materiality of the ceramic is analogous to sleep: the process itself requires time and patience and the result remains uncontrollable despite all targeted efforts.

Rafael Gil Cordeiro is a multidisciplinary designer working in performance, installation, objects and education: new design strategies, performances, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary discourses are at the centre of his practice.

Rafael’s approach to artistic and design processes is influenced by his background in theater, for which he still works. The focus of his interest are current topics and future research.

Born in Luzern, Switzerland, Rafael Gil Cordeiro graduated in BA Trends & Identity in the Zurich university of the arts (ZHdK). He has worked as a tutor, artist and designer in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Spain, Greece, Italy, and Germany individually and collectively.


Don’t steal our sunlight, Rafael Kouto

The goal of the work is to deconstruct and reconstruct the creative process, showing the possibility of creating a new narrative by emphasizing the consequences of climate change. These new visions occur through the personification of climate change, including the melting of glaciers and desertification, through two different textile production techniques and the inclusion of special effects in the video – where data on these changes are translated into visual elements. The project is part of the residency Milano Calling 2021/2022 at the Istituto Svizzero in Milano.

Rafael Kouto (1990, Lucerne) is a Swiss, with Togolese and Italian origins, fashion & textile designer and researcher in upcycling methods and sustainable strategies with a particular focus on open source and craftsmanship. He studied Fashion Design at FHNW-HGK in Basel, earning an MA in Fashion Matters from the Sandberg Institut in Amsterdam. He has had various work experiences at Alexander McQueen, Maison Martin Margiela, Carven and Ethical Fashion Initiative. In 2017 he founded the avant-garde fashion brand of the same name, engaging projects for the promotion of upcycling and sustainability through the use of textile waste, dead stock and others materials in the creative and production process. The brand won the Lotto Sport & Diesel International Talents Support Awards 2019; the Swiss Design Awards in the Fashion & Textile category 2018 and 2019, finalist in 2020 and 2022, and the Gebert Ambiente Design Preis 2020-2021 and nomination in 2022-2023. His vision has been featured on Vogue Uk, Vogue Italia, Harper’s Bazaar Italia, Dazed and others.

The collections have been exhibited at State of Fashion Biennale (NL), Furisalone (IT), Drapers Sustainable (UK), Textilmuseum St. Gallen (CH) and Museum für Gestaltung (CH) and are also part of both collection archives and presented at Pitti, Florence (IT), Mode Suisse, Zürich (CH) and Fashion Open Studio x Berlin Fashion Week (D).The promotion of upcycling takes place through workshops in collaboration with various institutions and through teaching as associate professor in Fashion Design at the IUAV in Venice. During the residency at the Istituto Svizzero in Milan, his reasearch has been focusing on the development of participatory projects related to sustainability, upcycling, climate change and open source in the creative and production process in fashion and textiles.

Rafael Kouto — Upcycling Couture

The Reagiro, Reto Togni 

The Reagiro is a first of a kind, steering manual wheelchair and results from a long, ongoing, research-lead development project. It introduces “steering by leaning” in the design of manual wheelchairs to allow more dynamic movement, easy 1-handed navigation and drastically improves energy efficiency. While a usable prototype exists, it’s still a research prototype used for studies in laboratory settings.

Mundane everyday things have the capacity to shape, in fact, change who people are, what they do, how they view the world and are viewed by others. As a developer of such everyday objects, Reto Togni disentangle these relationships, analyse their components, prototype interventions and design new practices.

Reto Togni was trained at Zurich University of the Arts, graduated from the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London and am now pursuing a PhD at ETH Zurich.

Reto Togni Design Portfolio

Diatomea, SALIENTI

Diatomea is an articulated led lamp and a modular element. This lamp was born from reflection on the possibility of creating an “additive” object that, like a system of cells, expands by replicating its basic conformation.

Diatomea is thus a lamp and a virtually infinite family of lamps that share the same principle: a series of replicable and articulated elements with which to “sculpt” light through ever-changing layouts.

By varying the position of the pivoting segments, a new and different perception of light can always be obtained according to use and place.

Thanks to its inherent characteristics, Diatomea is a flexible system that can expand to distribute light over a large area or shrink to compact the light on a single spot.

SALIENTI is a design practice based in Zurich founded in 2021 by Walter Toccaceli and Matteo Messinese. Focusing on the essential formal qualities of the objects and their durability over time, we develop meaningful and self-evident products. Our interest lies not only in the design of sustainable objects, but also in how they meet the needs of contemporary society and suggest new ways of living. Our ultimate goal is to preserve and enrich, as well as expand the inherited design culture in contemporary times.

Upcoming maintenance work

The application portal myprohelvetia will be updated from 1.1.-7.1.2024. Due to these changes, open applications must be finalized and submitted via the current online portal ( by the latest 23:59 on 31 December 2023. Until this date, the deadlines and criteria outlined in the current guidelines and calls for applications apply. New applications can be created and submitted in the application portal as of 8 January 2024.