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This is a report about ‘Our Work Is Worth’ by participant Liesje Lobki. Four students and two alumni of DAE went to the Just Mad art & design fair (part of the big ARCO Art fair). This event is held from the 16th till the 19th of February in Madrid.

Wednesday we've arrived in Madrid. Choosing rooms turned out to be not that easy cause every floor of the Silken Puerto America hotel is designed by a different designer or architect. For Liesje the choice was easy; she is a stubborn smoker and the smoking floor is the 11th.

While the others were looking at the rooms Liesje went down to the garage of the hotel because this is the location for the fair. All the stuff from the academy arrived but the presentation blocks were not there! Turned out that we had to pay in advance, so they didn't made anything yet. After  some tapping her finger in a fast repetitive manner of Liesje, and Siang-Lan paying straight away by credit card they told us they will deliver the next morning. We found some benches on the fair that we painted for the time being and voila we had an exhibition!

Tired and hungry we looked for a place to eat in the area. But the 5 star hotel was located in a district  similar to 'Buitenveldert'. There was nothing. So we headed down town where we found a delicious wine bar: Trempanillo. Together with great tapas we were happy again.

Later that night, back at the hotel we checked each other’s rooms and all the floors. Sabine’s' room definitely is the winner! We couldn't stay at the Zaha Hadid floor but while we were checking the corridor and entrance of the floor the sweetest man arrived and we couldn't help but asking him if we we're allowed to have a look at his room. We did and the shower is insane cause somehow it looked like what I would call an infinity shower. You can't tell where the wall stops it looks endless...

Thursday was the first day of JustMAD and this was the day for the collectors and professionals. We started the day with borrowed benches instead of the presentation blocks which still had to be made at the time. A lot of respondents and compliments on the project. Liesje was walking around like a little maniac in order to get the blocks on location. De students explain their design enthusiastic and insightful to the visitors which in turn are willing to fill out the survey forms. We've met the director of JustMAD and she was very enthusiastic.

At 12h the blocks arrived but they still needed a paint job. The paint man painted them on the side way and a the lawn of the hotel.  At 14h they were done and we can quickly build up the exhibition as we intended to. Turned out they we're a bit too high for the relatively small Spaniards but that should not spoil the fun.

In the afternoon Liesje and Siang-Lan had a lunch with the people form culture of the Dutch Embassy. A traditional Spanish dish with soup, peas and meat. The director of Culture is very interested in the designs we're exhibiting and the concept of OWIW.

Back at JustMAD after 18h it became very busy and a lot security was around. It turned out that the mayor of Madrid, Ana Botella was paying a visit. The moment she stands still to have a look at House Wine form Sabine, Ma'yaan speaks to her and Sabine offers her a taste of her House Wine.

Friday is the first day of 'normal' public and there was slightly less interest in our exhibition. Which is funny cause the professionals gave so many compliments 'bravo bravo'. Just like the first day Liesje and Siang-Lan took place behind the computer to import the feedback in Excel. Furthermore some practical things like finding a copy shop, buying pens.

Siang-Lan spoke with a women from a school here in Madrid who was very interested in working together with the Academy. Judith and Christel from the Dutch Embassy visited OWIW and they were very enthusiastic. They arranged for us that we can go to the ARCO fair.

That evening we tried our best to find a nice place to eat which was difficult cause the first place we had dinner was so great all ready. We ended up in a tiny place where they served the best Tostas of Madrid according to locals, and now also according to us. Knee to knee we had dinner and wine and we've discussed the first feedback and the values. Sometimes it was a bit disappointing. What was difficult to get form the feedback was if the visitors gave feedback on the whole series of a product or on just one. Something to add to the evaluation list (point of improvement for the next OWIW). Great food, great wine and a well nice authentic place to eat where everyone could have a thought about the values of their product.

Saturday was also kind of slow, obviously a family day. At the end of the day it became more busy but we get relatively little ratings. Half of the group get up rather late but do get to go to the ARCO fair. In the afternoon the switch didn't went that smooth but at the end every one paid a visit to ARCO. It was huge with a lot of art and it felt a bit like Biennale. It was a bit of an overkill, we couldn't find the 'must-see' tips from Siang-Lan' friend in New York. We did found the people from the embassy at the Dutch pavilion watching a performance, right next to the Heineken bar... say no more. We are being well taking care of by Heineken and Volvo because we are VIPS so we get plenty of free beer and from time to time the good looking Volvo boys drive us wherever we like.

Sunday morning: In our small local breakfast club we've had breakfast with (almost) everyone. Liesje and Siang-Lan fill in the last values and everyone can start determine their price. Because Sunday is the one and only day of sale. Some hard thinking took place but at the end Liesje made a clear overview: This Work Is Worth.... Funny to see that some prices had a range from 20 to 3000 €. We correct the prices by taking the highest and the lowest price of to have a better idea of the price. Print the outcome at the hotel and present this at the exhibition. We are very curious if there will be work sold.

At the end of the day Ieva Laurina sold her necklace. This was the only work that we could sell straight away cause she made more. The other products were prototypes so the students gave and collected email addresses from people who had interest in buying. Now we hope that they eventually will contact the designer and visa versa so that they can make a small series of their product!

Published: 27-Feb-2012 15:56

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Photography: Niels Datema