Interview with Dimitri Duchenne for Make-A-Wish Nederland, 

30 years of wishes.


Read below the English translation of the interview or  →

30 FACESTORIES, the expo

The traveling exhibition 30FACESTORIES is conquering the country. The exhibition was already on display at the Institute for Sound & Vision and the Kids’ Night and will be on Yacht until the end of this year. The reason is the book of the same name by Ariëlla Kornmehl and Julie Blik, in which ‘thirty wish children” are depicted in words and images. The exhibition fits perfectly with the impressive stories that come to life in the book. Dimitri Duchenne and Arjan van der Bliek from here we are were responsible for the special diamond-shaped design. It is time to ask Dimitri some questions (with a little help from Arjan …).


Read the original interview in Dutch on the Make-A-Wish Nederland page

Describe yourself in five words? Creative, listening, surprising, reflective, relaxed.


Interior architect or interior designer? Neither. We regard ourselves more as spatial designers. Our team consists of two architectural architects and an interior architect and our expertise complement each other well. Together we take the broader context and develop what we call spatial identities that inspire and show what you stand for.


Nike or Mexx? Nike of course! Nike is innovative, leads the way and at least dares to make a statement. Nike is a brand with guts and that appeals to us.


Where will you be with your company in ten years? We want to grow big in retail and culture. The great thing is that we can use our knowledge of retail for the culture sector. At cultural institutions, commerce is often a bit of a dirty word, but they have to live. And there is much more overlap than you think, because even at a museum it is much more about telling a story and adding value to your brand. 


How did the collaboration with Make-A-Wish go? Very well. The whole process went decisively, quickly and without dawdling. In the beginning we helped with the construction and dismantling; they are quite heavy units. After the Kids ’Night, that was no longer allowed. Make-A-Wish thought we had done enough. Instead, we were then on standby by telephone. Great, because it was also intended that Make-A-Wish could do it itself. After all, it was a design condition, that the parts would be easily removable. 


Happy with the result? Very happy. Visitors respond well and really take the time to view the panels. I do notice that our design works best in large spaces, such as at the Institute for Sound & Vision or now at Yacht. 


What is your relationship with Make-A-Wish? My wife is a wish receiver. Through her I met Hanneke Verburg on a benefit evening. We got into conversation with each other; I told what I was doing and as a result we came to make an exhibition of the book. That’s how the ball started rolling, and than it went fast. We made the first sketches in June and the opening in September. And there was also the summer vacation in between. 


That’s pretty fast, yes. We can do that. We started with an internal design session, with Make-A-Wish and the wish-children in mind. From the options presented, Make-A-Wish ultimately opted for the star with the diamond-shaped arms. The star is a link to the Make-A-Wish logo and the children are the diamonds. We then further developed this design, in close collaboration with graphic design agency Bloemendaal & Dekkers and a furniture maker. Just after short four months it could be installed. We have done our best to keep the costs as low as possible. The money can be better spent on the wish-children. 


Doing nothing more so? No. We are still right behind. 


Do you want to lose something? I just want to say that we are both impressed by the organization. And the way in which Make-A-Wish manages everything, with few people and resources. There is a good team that creates something beautiful in a pleasant atmosphere. A low bow.


here we are 

Dimitri: “We started because we work so well together. Arjan van der Bliek and I know each other from various other companies and have already done projects together. Now we carry out our own projects. We turn spaces around, organize exhibitions, devise new store concepts, design museum stores, and so on. No longer under the name of a big brand, but from here we are. Our portfolio is diverse. Retail and culture are preferred. Customers include Nike, the Jewish Historical Museum, but also the store around the corner. In addition to design processes, we also launch advisory processes to see where the opportunities lie to position you as a company or cultural institution.”