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Charles Nypels Foundation:

1985 – 2002 / New Profile / Board

Charles Nypels Foundation 2002 onwards


In 2002 the board of the Charles Nypels Foundation decided to draw up a new vision for the future. The following three developments led to that decision.

Realised ambitions

Since 1985 the ambitions which led to the initiation of the Charles Nypels Foundation and the establishment of the Prize has been realised. The estimation of book art in general and for Charles Nypels in particular have been promoted. Moreover, the Charles Nypels Prizes have contributed to the debate on the book as a medium, and to the practice of design as a ‘critical’ discipline. Finally, the prizes have also kept alive the memory of the work and life of Charles Nypels.

Research climate

A second argument concerned the research climate with reference to design in The Netherlands and abroad. The Charles Nypels Board and the Jan van Eyck Academie signalled a purely practical approach towards the design profession – an approach in which commissions and clients play a central role. Theoretically well-founded, reflexive practices on design are rarely of professional quality. So the Charles Nypels Foundation realised there is still a lot to be done in order to create a research mentality in the world of design.

Co-operation on a content basis

A third argument regards the co-operation between the Charles Nypels Foundation and the Jan van Eyck Academie. From the start the co-operation between the Foundation and the Jan van Eyck Academie has been successful.
However, both partners realised that their co-operation was hardly based on content. For instance, there had hardly been any development towards dealing with the artistic heritage of Charles Nypels within the Jan van Eyck. With regard to this, the Charles Nypels Foundation and the Jan van Eyck Academie wished to use their co-operation to better advantage, more in particular with regard to content issues in general.

New profile

With the above findings in mind a new profile of the Charles Nypels Foundation took shape at the end of 2002. The new profile looks as follows:

Stimulating research in design

The Charles Nypels Prize has been discontinued. Instead of awarding established designers or mature bodies of work, the Charles Nypels Foundation focuses exclusively on stimulating research in the field of design. Every two years the board of the foundation convenes an international working group consisting of four or five experts in the field of design research. After the working group has been established, each of its members will give a presentation, the sum of which is called the Charles Nypels Lectures. The working group makes a general inquiry into the status-quo in the field of design research and formulates a specific research theme. This research theme is brought to the attention of a professional public in specialised periodicals in order to recruit candidate researchers. Candidate researchers need to submit a dossier in which they describe their research proposal with regard to the formulated theme. They also need to indicate how they will proceed and which production will be the result. For this production the Charles Nypels Foundation will allocate a budget for the selected researchers. On the basis of this proposal and an interview the working group, together with the advising researchers of the Design department and the director of the Jan van Eyck Academie, will select the final researchers.

Heritage of Charles Nypels

The Charles Nypels Foundation will be actively involved in the historic heritage of Dutch design in general, and the design of Charles Nypels and his contemporaries in particular. An inventory should be made of the archive material on his work and it can/must be further researched.

Active co-operation

The Jan van Eyck Academie has become an active partner. Once researchers have been selected by the working group, they will be registered at the Jan van Eyck Academie. They will then have a studio and a grant and will have access to technical equipment and technical and artistic advice.

Regular public presentations

The Charles Nypels Foundation and the work of Charles Nypels will get greater acclaim. Instead of one awarding event – formerly: the awarding of the Prize to laureates – there will be various moments of presentation on different presentation platforms. For each research project a specific research trajectory will be drawn up. Depending on the nature of the production a suitable presentation platform will be sought. Any technical and artistic assistance will be taken care of by the Jan van Eyck Academie. Once all productions have been finalised, a publication will be made to round things off. The members of the working group will also make a significant editorial contribution to this publication (a design and/or essay).