Circular Expedition 2019

‘‘Do you think you’re too small to make a difference? Try sharing your room with a mosquito!’ We can all have an impact on our environment, even within a large concept such as the Circular Economy. Clever reuse, less waste production, upcycling, recycling.. we can all learn from the forerunners of the Circular Economy. For this reason, we allowed these initiators to share their ideas during the Circular Expedition 2019. It all seems to come down to a single word: ‘together’. Working together, taking the first steps together, going for it together.

Embarking on an Expedition together

It was not a coincidence that the Van Nelle Factory in Rotterdam was selected as the venue for the Circular Expedition 2019. It was as early as 1929 that Willem Hendrik Gispen designed his first unique interior elements for this very building, which is still as impressive as it was back then. Maurits van Berckel, commercial director of Gispen: ‘Beautiful products of very few parts; how subconsciously circular at the time!’ Nowadays, we are consciously circular and have organised an expedition revolving around the Circular Economy for three years in a row. Last year, we had Kees Klomp, who himself is a driving force behind the so-called ‘Meaningful Economy’, deliver an inspiring lecture on circulairity. During this year’s expedition, we again highlighted a number of circular initiatives and products and organised various CE Talks by initiators, workshops and short presentations at the festival market.

Expeditie Circulair 2019

Some visitors’ responses: ‘An abundance of fresh ideas and new inspiration.’ ‘We have already made many efforts, but we would love to do so much more. Embarking on this expedition together has therefore been of great value and was lots of fun.’ ‘Gispen just keeps surprising us – and this year they have done it again!’

Expeditie Circulair 2019

‘We want to help others in making their transition’

In a fully packed room, day chairman Lars Sørensen kicked off the expedition in an energising way. In his speech, he touched on the SDGs (the 17 Sustainable Development Goals for the world), which include circular entrepreneurship and production. Speaking of this subject, how has Gispen fared with this lately? Maurits van Berckel: ‘We’re doing well, but we could accomplish even more together. We desperately need our customers and partners.’ The common thread of this afternoon: a circular mindset and work ethic requires collaboration, on all levels. Maurits: 'This is exactly why we have organised this journey of discovery. We enjoy sharing our knowledge and want to help others in making their transition towards being circular. Either on our own or together with Gispen.’

Expeditie Circulair 2019

Keynote Ynzo van Zanten: a look behind the scenes of the chocolate factory

The expedition set off with a plenary session presented by keynote speaker Ynzo van Zanten, who is the rightful Chief Evangelist of Tony's Chocolonely. His presentation was lively and entertaining and was centred around the mission of the consciously commercial chocolate brand: making the chocolate industry 100% slave-free. This is exactly what Tony's does, according to Ynzo: 'By creating awareness, setting a good example and encouraging others to follow this example.’ Someone from the crowd posed the question: ‘How can the people in the room themselves make an impact in the office?  His plainspoken response: 'Why would you behave differently at the office than you would at home?' And: 'Become an activist if you really  need to.'

Key note Ynzo van Zanten

Making a difference

How does one really make a circular difference in practice? Interior architect Odette Ex of Ex Interiors explained and illustrated how she and RAU architects designed a completely dismountable, wooden 'cathedral' for Triodos Bank. The building is revolutionary in terms of circularity. Architect Wouter Valkenier presented several circular projects which Studio Valkenier developed largely in collaboration with other parties. From the Tuin van BRET to Café de Ceuvel in Amsterdam. He recently designed the circular and unpretentious new head office of Doctors Without Borders. In a joint interview, Sabina Duyvesteijn and Karina Szymanska explained how the Province of South Holland procures circular furniture. They shared their lessons learned when it comes to circular procurement.

Gispen furnished the entire 100% circular interior of the new Triodos Bank office, as well as the new head office of Doctors Without Borders and was selected as the circular furnishing partner of the Province of South Holland.

Odette Ex op expeditie circulair 2019

‘When it comes to circularity and sustainability, we do not only concern ourselves with responsible procurement, we look at the bigger picture. This means that we take account of the biodiversity of an area, the inhabitants and the well-being of our own employees. This is why I was open to gaining inspiration at the Expedition.’

Visitor: David Samama, Group Vendor Manager Triodos Bank

Zero Waste, Urban Mining and WELL

There was also plenty of inspiration to be gained from the smaller settings. In these interactive workshops, both our own interior designers and other initiators introduced the visitors to the world of Zero Waste, Urban Mining and WELL. Will you be able to escape from the linear economy? This was the challenge of the circular Escape Room at the festival market - teamwork required!

Workshop door Nicky Kroon

Circular initiators at the festival market

Our interior architect Alice Tabak expounded on the latest developments in the field of sustainable materials. In addition, several other circular impact initiators were there to present their products. An exhibition we would like to pay tribute to is that of the students of the Connected Spaces and Spatial Design course from HKU University of the Arts Utrecht. We gave them the challenge of finding a new purpose for residual materials produced by Gispen. The results attracted the attention they deserved. From a beautiful underwater world of plastic soup, wool felt storage solutions and a modular furniture piece to a perspective wall.

 Festivalmarkt Expeditie Circulair 2019


‘Small-scale efforts can truly make a difference. At Fontys, we too are thinking about incorporating circular objectives into our contract management, and we are doing so together with Gispen.’
Visitor: Daniëlle Pigmans, project manager and process manager at Fontys University of Applied Sciences, Housing & Facilities Department


Are you ready for creating an even greater impact? On towards Circular Expedition 2020!

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