Introduction to Kvadrat Change Maker Networks: Design Network

The Design Change Maker Network, is a network of ambassadors within the organisation that works within product development and design. The goal of this network is to reinforce, support and knowledge sharing between our different design teams to foster change, with the aim of becoming more sustainable product by product.
Our Sustainability team conducts extensive research into various aspects, including new materials, the environmental impact of materials and chemicals, certifications, and more, which is shared with the different brands and product development teams of Kvadrat, providing us with new insights and tools to work with.

Meet Dienke Dekker – a Change Maker at the Design Network.
Dienke Dekker, Kvadrat Rugs Design Manager and Design Change Maker, elaborates on being a part of Change Maker Network.

Dienke Dekker is the Design Manager Rugs at Kvadrat. Dienke became entirely fascinated by textiles and their production techniques during her minor studies in textile at the Design Academy Eindhoven, leading her to specialise in the subject. After graduating Cum Laude at the Man & Living department in 2012, she started her own studio in Rotterdam, Netherlands. She worked for different clients such as the Gan Rugs and Crafts Council and initiated various free experimental textile projects as a member of the collective Dutch Invertuals before joining Kvadrat.

Q: How is the Change Maker Network a part of your job?

Working in Product Development, change has always been a daily aspect of my work. Being a part of it feels very natural.

Over the years, there has been a significant increase in awareness regarding the impact of our products. Within this context, durability and longevity are fundamental principles, which fortunately have always been core aims at Kvadrat. Yet, these times have also brought a multitude of questions concerning the environmental effects of materials and production processes. This ongoing exploration continuously challenges the existing notions of what is considered good or bad due to the ever-evolving insights we gain.

This, to me, is adding a very interesting and meaningful aspect to our work—how can we improve and incorporate these considerations into our design processes and products? I feel very fortunate to work in a fantastic team, alongside great suppliers, where we continuously exchange knowledge and learn how to enhance our products. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for creating a perfectly sustainable future. It's an ongoing journey, and the Change Maker Network supports this.

Q: What is the most important role of the Change Maker Network?

It highlights the importance of recognizing that change requires a group effort. From my point of view, lasting change succeeds when its positive effects are clear to everyone involved and when everybody is fully engaged in achieving a common objective.

Q: How do you work with implementing sustainability into your design processes (the challenge of sourcing and designing with new materials, e.g. Recycled materials)?

We aim to apply the knowledge we gain to every new product we create, and our suppliers are crucial partners in this. We share our insights, and they do the same. Together, we collaborate to discover optimal solutions. Nevertheless, there remain numerous questions and uncertainties.

For instance, each product has both positive and negative environmental aspects, and we need to consider various factors like material and manufacturing impact, production location, chemical compliance, recyclability, longevity, maintenance, pricing and more. Balancing these factors is not always simple. However, based on the available information, we always strive to ensure that new products have a more positive impact in different ways compared to the ones before.