About Margriet Vollenberg

Since my early childhood, I spent every Sunday with my uncle, getting my hands dirty, shaping beautiful things out of clay. As I grew older, I learned how to make glazes and fire ceramics using the raku technique. I enrolled in a pottery course at the age of 12. Since then, that spark of creativity has guided my artistic journey ever since.

From Milan to entrepreneurship
Moreover, my father’s entrepreneurial background had a profound impact on me. Witnessing his work ethic as the owner of a prominent international transportation company, I was inspired to explore the dynamic intersection of creativity and entrepreneurship. This drove me to pursue my dreams at the Design Academy in Eindhoven, formerly known as the Academy for Industrial Design, when I was 17 years old. It was a challenging period, filled with hard work and dedication, but at the age of 20, I had the opportunity to embark on a life-changing internship in Milan. Those months in Milan were truly incredible. After graduating, my heart led me back to Milan, where I laid the foundation for my career. My first job was with an authentic, 3 generations old, Milanese jewellery company called Pellini, renowned for its contributions to the fashion industry. Over the course of four years, I passionately worked on eight jewellery collections that were on show on many fashion runways and in international magazines. However, my insatiable thirst for self-expression and entrepreneurial endeavours became increasingly apparent.

Milan international design fair
Every year, Milan hosts an international design fair in April, and the design  community quickly discovered my presence in the city. As a result, I received numerous requests for assistance, which progressively grew in scale and complexity. Over time, I found myself organising and coordinating over 30 stands and presentations. For a decade, I curated all the international presentations for the esteemed brands as Moooi, Linteloo and Piet Boon, while also orchestrating captivating shows for esteemed designers such as Maarten Baas, Marcel Wanders, Kiki van Eijk & Joost van Bleijswijk and many others.

Starting Organisation in Design
When I decided to start my own business, the clerk at the Chamber of Commerce in Milan laughed because I was only in my mid-twenties. That’s when I knew it was time to return to the Netherlands. My partner had completed his studies, and together we made the bold decision to start with this new chapter. I joined Studio Makkink & Bey as the PA of the designer Jurgen Bey and shortly after, I founded my own company, Organisation in Design. While Salone del Mobile in Milan remained a significant project for me, I also recognized the power of effective communication on a global scale. And Organisation in Design also established its own dedicated design PR department next to the project organisation.

Ventura Projects
I felt compelled to create my own exhibitions in Milan as well, which led to the birth of Ventura Projects of which I was the curator and Art Director as well. Organisation in Design got its first employees and we set out to provide a platform for small international design studios in the vibrant Lambrate district and later also at the Central Station of Milan. As my own studio continued to thrive, we expanded our operations and established an office in Italy. And for years, we operated from both Utrecht and Milan with a passionate team of talented employees and interns. We embarked on organising a series of international design events, and expanded our reach beyond Milan, venturing into cities such as London, Berlin, Dubai, and New York. These endeavours opened incredible opportunities for international designers, organised and facilitated by Organisation in Design. Incredible exhibition venues of +30.000mq, over 150.000 visitors in 5 days, mayors, ministers and kings and queens visiting our design events, hundreds of international articles in notable magazines and newspapers and very good results for participating designers and studio’s. Organisation in Design was there to let our participating designers flourish.

Evolving role
As my journey unfolded, my role transformed from that of a creative operating my own studio into a multifaceted position encompassing management, art direction, curation, advisory, entrepreneurship, policymaking, and decision-making. Over these transformative years, my commitment to continuous learning persisted. I actively sought knowledge from my dedicated team members and engaged in numerous courses, training programs, and networking events. With my expanding expertise, I found myself frequently invited to serve on prestigious design award juries. Additionally, I had the privilege of delivering lectures in diverse cities such as Taipei, Singapore, and The Hamptons, sharing insights and experiences with an international audience.These opportunities further enriched my perspective and deepened my connections within the global design community.

Navigating challenges
In 2020, Organisation in Design had a busy year ahead with numerous projects in the pipeline and several international exhibitions to organise. I also received the honor of being appointed as the curator for a major design exhibition in Helsinki. The exhibition was planned to take place in the restored Olympic Stadium, spanning over 20,000 square meters. Excitement filled the air as, at the end of February 2020, we eagerly hosted a press conference attended by 180 Italian journalists. During this event, we enthusiastically unveiled our plans and the remarkable showcase we were about to present within a few short weeks. However, just 10 days later, the world was plunged into the grips of the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to a global lockdown.  Regrettably, we never had the opportunity to bring our visions to life over the following two years. Intuition told me that this pandemic was not going to be a brief interruption. After weeks of rescheduling and months of uncertainty at Organisation in Design, I was faced with a difficult decision: to stop Ventura Projects and our PR activities. This meant cancelling all the exhibitions and projects we had planned.

The birth of Joinanew
In the middle of this turbulence, I found myself pondering the evolving creative needs of our clients and contemplating what they would require post-pandemic. During this period of serenity and reflection, I completed my advanced training as a practitioner coach, a path I started three years prior. This led to a fresh perspective and a novel project: Joinanew. Join stands for “together,” and Anew means “in a new more positive way”. A programme made to empower designers in their entrepreneurial endeavours. Instead of merely providing them with solutions, the aim is to equip them with the skills and knowledge.

As of today, Organisation in Design is helping designers all over the world with their entrepreneurial questions and providing guidance to aspiring designers and design studios in their creative journey.  We advise and coach design studios and we continue to act as curators and art directors, facilitating relevant international design presentations. Our motto for years has been: “Connecting and advancing for the creative industry.” That’s Organisation in Design… and that remains unchanged to this day.

Margriet in a nutshell: design enthusiast, wanderlust, certified coach, and entrepreneur in the field of design

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