Transformation Design

We are now heading into a period of further transformations that will deeply impact our lives on a personal, social and economic level.

Do you believe the world around you matters? Do you like to take the initiative? Are you a changemaker, an activist and a creator with a feeling for interactive work?
Welcome to Transformation Design.


The challenges of Transformation Design

Our world is constantly changing and with it our way of life. We  have to challenge ourselves to create a life for all entities on our planet, humans, animals and plants. We need to change our way of living to ensure that the world remains a great place to live and work side by side.
Science and technology plays a paramount role in this. Many new technologies and scientific solutions emerge to improve lives and even nature on the planet.
But we  have to be critical to todays developments in science and technology, we need to understand their influence on our life, the planet and nature itself.
As transformative designer you can take part in developments, you can contribute in interdisciplinary teams or create projects that critically investigate or explain these processes for the public to understand the impact of these ideas and to draw an opinion.

Technology, science and art can work hand in hand to face these challenges.
You are not designing another new product but projects that transform attitudes, behaviour or systems. You can make a difference…you are part of a new generation designers!

What to expect of Transformation Design study?

Transformation is activation by interaction.
At the Transformation Design study we enter into a dialogue with the public, scientist and technicians about real life contemporary questions. We use interactive media as our main research tools.

Collaborations and Case Studies

We collaborate with partners in the field who bring us case studies to work with. After in-depth research of the case studies we work with you to analyse the questions, the problems and start formulating your approach.
To arrive from a question or problem to an idea, research methods are needed. You will become acquainted with these methods in the first year of your study, which are then further explored and elaborated during your study.
By conducting research, you arrive at an idea, a concept, which you convert into prototype or blueprint or even a solution.
In your the research you are open-minded to the opinions of others, critical in used sources of information but also challenging towards yourself and your preconcieved opinions.

Your process is shaped by the use of design research- and methods. You will make use of media and approaches such as photography, audiovisual- or product design to construct and visualise an idea and prototype/blueprint. Your process must clearly communicate and interact to start a change, a transformation. Use of digital technology is welcome to interact and communicate with stakeholders,

Why would you want to study Transformation Design?

Because you want to make a positive contribution to a society and world that is constantly changing. We give you the tools needed to tell your message through creative process and through critical thinking. You work primarily with and for people. People make the world and you provide the input.
There is a demand from society, the market, science and technology for ideas and solutions that are not immediately obvious. Thinking out of the box and having an open mind are, in addition to in-depth research, essential for the creative process. Innovative ideas and solutions are created by thinking differently, re-framing, but also by being critical.
We work according to the 3Cs: Communication; how do you convey your message; Cognitive; how do you convince people to re-think the obvious and how do you encourage them to transform and Cooperative; to achieve results you have to work together with your target group, (scientific and technical) partners, fellow students, clients and professionals in a transdisciplinary manner.

What makes Transformation Design a relevant education?

You work in projects within different contexts: Mobility, New Economy, Technology, Food, Healthcare, Resilience, Politics, Art and Culture. By working together with partners, you are in the center of current events and urgent issues.
Our partners work within these contexts and share their knowledge and experiences with you in the projects. We work together with commercial but also with non-profit organisations, scientific institutions, innovation platforms, think tanks and health care institutions.

Do you fit in the Transformation Design course?

You are curious, you want to learn and discover, you are interested in current innovations and you feel involved in a world full of challenges. You also like to take initiative, feel the need to activate others, look for original perspectives, want to convince others and have a lot of perseverance. You have your own opinion, but are also open to the opinions of others.
You want to go beyond text, make work and research, convey your message to the public through a process and interaction. You are an activist in the soul.
If you recognise yourself in this, sign up for this study.

What knowledge and skills do you learn within the Transformation Design study?

Research methodologies: observation, interviewing, data analysis, mapping, future thinking, storytelling, form study, design thinking, contextualising;
Knowledge: philosophy, ethnology, social psychology, critical thinking, entrepreneurship;
Skills: photography, graphic design, product design, software, audiovisual design, data design, interactive design, technique, drawing ideas.

What is your role in the professional world and society when you have graduated from the Transformation Design course?

After your studies you will be a curator, product- and market innovator, concept developer/designer, creative strategist, creative visual communication specialist, changemaker,
You will be able to view a situation differently, to choose a different perspective and to develop a different framework from research to design by process. This is to actually incite change in people's behaviour, systems and organisations. You are a transformative designer.


On top of the major, WdKA adds elective projects. You can choose from a wide range of contemporary subjects and issues. These projects introduce students to our three graduation profiles or Practices. We call them the AutonomousSocial and Commercial Practices.

Next to 13 majors and three Practices WdKA offers its students high-tech meeting interdisciplinary spaces - Stations. Stations are the place for creating prototypes, experimenting, remixing and improving your ideas. All of our students and staff members are welcome to work in our Stations, regardless of their major, minor, elective module or study year. In the Stations you explore the viability of your ideas and find out how to turn them into fully-functioning creations.



Open Days & Recruitment activities

Want to know more about life at the Willem de Kooning Academy?

Check out our extended programme, full of (online) activities and interaction with student ambassadors and tutors via this link.

Next Open Day – February 11, 2023 – Register now!

Career opportunities

  • Curator
  • Product and market innovator
  • Concept developer/designer
  • Creative strategist
  • Trend initiator and visualiser
  • Trend expert
  • Creative visual communication specialist
  • Forecaster
  • Changemaker
  • ...and more

Students’ Work



By Saskia Verleg, Lucca Kroot, Lois Simon and Nikki Giesen

Sun radiation has increased significantly in recent years. Its warmth comes with a higher risk of skin burns and increasing numbers of skin diseases. We protect ourselves with sunscreen while most of them contain microplastics, which is very harmful to marine life. Therefore we developed a sustainable and biodegradable UV purifier inspired by biomimicry.

Using algae as our main ingredient, to be precise the Haematococcus Pluvialis. This algae creates a natural UV protector, Astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is an important pigment that also protects animals such as salmon, flamingos and shrimps against UV radiation.

In order to determine ones high burning risk areas, an additional facial scan measures which specific UV purifier is most recommend for your skin. The UV purifier can be used for 28 days, the average skin cycle. After the purifier outlived its purpose of protecting, it can be thrown into the sea as nutrition for marine life.

For more information about the project and the designers, please visit Saskia’s, Lucca’s, Lois’ and Nikki’s website.


By Daphne Kusters and Sam Oazzouz

Nettle is a project that researches the cleaning qualities of the nettle and materialises everything that the nettle has to offer. The goal is to not only make a renewable material to put back into the industry but, also use the cleaning qualities of the nettle to clean the grounds from their high levels of nitrogen.

Research has shown that the Netherlands is producing too much nitrogen and is therefore in a nitrogen crisis. Nitrogen oxides are emitted by industry, traffic and agriculture. There are plant species that grow better from the high nitrogen levels than others. These plants overgrow the ones that don’t. Stinging nettles, for example, overgrow orchids and grasses are increasingly seen in places where the heath used to bloom. This also effects the habitat of animals and leads to loss of biodiversity and nature therefore ultimately consists of fewer species.

Through researching and testing we have discovered that with these parts of the nettle you can make water based glue, compress the fibers, use the fibers to make fabric, make poly lactic acid and use the chlorophyll for colouring.



  • Barbara Schrammeijer
  • Danitsja de Nooijer
  • Dion Hertog
  • Alyce Bijsterbosch


For more information about the project, please visit Daphne’s website.

De MiddenKamer

De MiddenKamer

By Anouk Wismans, Hannah Kersten, Eva Bifet Tomas and Maud Pelmelay

According to many, polarisation is becoming a problem. The public debate in the Netherlands is dominated by the people who are screaming from opposite sides, claiming that their interest is not taken into account. However, the actual ‘unheard’ is a group that is situated in the middle. The group that doesn’t immediately says yes or no. To direct the discourse into a situation where this middle group doesn’t feel pressured to pick a side, we present De MiddenKamer (the MiddleChamber).

De MiddenKamer is a monthly online event, each time revolving around a different topic in the public debate, that takes place in a virtual building.

In this animated house, three guests will share an experience that is related to the topic. This triptych is an attempt to shift the focus from sharing an opinion towards developing an opinion. After having listened to these different perspectives, the audience will be placed in break-out rooms in duo’s. In this break-out room, you will listen to each other’s thoughts on the topic and stories. The focus is put on how to listen properly to people with other views and representing the doubt and nuances of the grey middle.


For more information about the project and the designers, please visit Anouk’s, and Maud’s website.


Moreganism (cover project)

 By Clara Harmssen

We are dependent on plants, but they are not dependent on us!   

We don’t act as if we are dependent on them. We take parts from nature and therefore also take them from us. We need to feel an urgency of dependency again.

'Moreganism' is a mutualistic relationship between a plant and a human. A plant that grows on and with the human body. Both are mutually dependent on each other.

—A speculative design approach to reconnecting humans with nature.

We are dependent on the plant and the plant is dependent on us! 


For more information about the project, please visit Clara’s website.


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Experience 4 years at WdKA


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Meet the tutor: Fokka Kortmann-Deelen

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