Edible Innovations: Amsterdam’s Mediamatic Is a Makerspace for Food Design

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Edible Innovations: Amsterdam’s Mediamatic Is a Makerspace for Food Design

From Singapore to the USA and all around Europe, Edible Innovations profiles food makers that engage in improving the global food system at every stage, from production to distribution to eating and shopping. Join us as we explore the main trends in the industry from a maker perspective. Chiara Cecchini of Food Innovation Program — an ecosystem with a strong educational core that promotes food innovation as a key tool to tackle the great challenges of the future — introduces you to the faces, stories, and experiences of food makers around the globe. Check back on Tuesdays and Thursdays for new installments.

While I was in Europe (the Netherlands to be precise) this past week, I passed by a unique creative making space that caught my eye: Mediamatic.

Born in 1983, Mediamatic creates community around nature, biotechnology, art, and science in a strong international network. Located right over the famous Amsterdam canals, Mediamatic positions itself as a cultural institution, organizing lectures, workshops, and art projects around outstanding makers and artists. You should check it out!

Willem Velthoven, the founder, and the other team members hold 40 presentations, 25 workshops, and 3 exhibitions every year, hoping to give makers and artists a space to experience the community network, share projects, and get in touch with interesting, international people. Trained in visual communications and art history, Velthoven has always been fascinated by the cultural sector’s chances to become an essential social hub in society. He saw the crucial role of sharing spaces and open social networks in the innovation of cultural practice, so he created Mediamatic.

Now, Mediamatic is open to the community and represents a reference point for innovation, especially in the food making space.

Examples of Featured Projects

Velthoven and his crew are a restless catalyst of fascinating creative, socially involved makers and engaged artists.

Last week, a special dinner was served by the chef Margriet Craens: an artist with strong technological and design passion, who created a special “algorithmic dinner,” side by side with Chef Watson. Chef Watson is the IBM browser-based web app that, using IBM algorithms jointly with the entire recipe archive of Bon Appétit, allows users to generate recipes by selecting a permutation of ingredients and a style of cuisine. Craens and Watson collaboration was able to carve out an unique user experience that, for four days, has been sparking eaters around the possible human-machine interactions. “Your dining experience might be completely algorithmically established now,” Craens said.

Tempeh Ware was another interesting project. Using tempeh’s symbiotic base of fungus and European legume, Mediamatic developed and showcased a new kind of edible crockery. Creating tableware with edible and compostable material, Tempeh Ware makes you skip washing the dishes after dinner or, even worse, throwing plastic away.

The makerspace has also hosted fermentation specialists and authors for a full day program of 9 workshops, 5 expert meetings, and a market with over 15 fermented market stalls. Bio-Art pioneer Joe Davis had the chance to showcase how to bio-mineralize silk fibers with metallic gold and generate materials with unprecedented properties for art, packaging, or fashion.

Eventually, together with farmers, milk technologists, gastronomes, performers, and a synesthete, Sietske Cloister presented a monthly series of test productions on Amsterdam’s dairy culture.

Mediamatic is for Food Makers

“Food Design makes us explore food from a much more holistic perspective. It can force us to question the validity and efficacy of the way we grow, process, cook, and eat food,” said Dr. Richard Mitchell. Amsterdam is a city rich with innovation in the food space, and Mediamatic is catalyzing the innovative thinking and maker approach by offering a space to experience, learn, and showcase. As a Maker, Mediamatic represents an innovation hub, a tinkering space, and a making lab, where creators are encouraged to experiment and share valuable projects lying in the space of artistic making.

If you swing by Amsterdam (or if you want to spend few days in an amazing city!), be aware that Velthoven and his team are always looking for interesting makers to work with!

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Chiara is fascinated by food as a means to impact bodies, minds, and environment. She has studied international business in three different countries, and is an alumni of the Food Innovation Program and US Director at the Future Food Institute.

Based in California, she is also a Research Scholar at Food Science and Technology at UC Davis, working on building the first comprehensive Internet of Food to enable food care through food systems semantics. She is a selected member of Barilla Center Food Nutrition Foundation, a Research Affiliate at Institute For The Future, Board Member at Maker Faire and selected member of the Global Shapers, a young global network of innovators promoted by the World Economic Forum.

She is passionate about social entrepreneurship and impact investing, and aims to leave her mark on society.

View more articles by Chiara Cecchini


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