Joseph Grima to be named as new Design Academy Eindhoven creative director

By Alice Morby

Joseph Grima has been appointed creative director of Design Academy Eindhoven, Dezeen understands.

An architecture critic and founder of design research studio Space Caviar, Grima is set to succeed Thomas Widdershoven, who resigned last year. The school refused to confirm the appointment but said it would be issuing a statement soon.

Grima, 40, graduated from the Architectural Association in 2003. He went on to curate the Biennale Interieur in Kortrijk, Istanbul Design Biennial and the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial.

He was appointed editor-in-chief of Modus magazine in 2011 – a role he held for two years before founding architecture and research studio Space Caviar alongside Tamar Shafrir. He is also the director of the Ideas City festival at New York’s New Museum.

He follows in the footsteps of a number of high-profile designers to have taken the helm of the Design Academy.

Widdershoven, who announced he had “decided not to be available” after the summer break in 2016, was appointed in 2013 following a period of turmoil that saw the resignation of the heads of the three masters courses, their subsequent return to the school and the departure of school’s chair Annemieke Eggenkamp.

Prior to Widdershoven’s appointment, the school had been without a creative director since September 2009 when fashion designer Alexander van Slobbe quit just nine months after being appointed as successor to trend forecaster Li Edelkoort.

Fuelled by the recent seven-month-long gap without a creative director, a group of Design Academy alumni came together to urge the school to make an appointment that enhances its creativity, rather than its business model.

The same group of graduates presented the school’s governors with a list of people they thought would be the most suitable candidates for the role – with Grima being named alongside the likes of Paola Antonelli, Jurgen Bey and Rianne Makkink, Jan Boelen, Ole Bouman, Alastair Fuad Luke, Hella Jongerius, Alice Rawsthorn, Thomas Rau, Job Smeets and Jan Tichelaar.

“Our alumni gathering and the opinion piece publication on Dezeen have instigated debate and raised awareness within the selection committee and board,” Jules van den Langenberg told Dezeen.

“I am glad Joseph Grima will be appointed as the new creative director. He is a candidate the alumni initially discussed and a young critical figure with an international scope, whom I hope will be welcomed by the status quo in the school to transform its educational institution towards a relevant future.”

Design Academy Eindhoven is regarded as one of the most influential schools in the world, so much so that it placed third in our schools Hot List.

Its students often produce thought-provoking and highly conceptual projects, such as a gun that collects tears and uses them as bullets and a range of “pearl” jewellery from human teeth.

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