The Heroine’s Journey of Margriet Vollenberg

What is the best thing that I love about my work? There are so many things that I love about my work. I was lucky enough to be able to start my own company: Organisation in Design. We specialize in anything design related and that makes me a jack of many trades. I’m a curator, an event planner, an artistic director, a producer, a project manager and of course owning my own business means managing my team of professionals as well. I like the diversity and I love to be able to create opportunities for design and designers here in Holland but also in places like Milan and New York.

What is my idea of perfect happiness? I think happiness comes in many different forms for many different people. For me personally it is exploring new countries, meeting interesting people but also enjoying the sight of a beautiful flower or having breakfast with my daughter in bed on a Sunday morning, with the sun peeking through the curtains.

What is my greatest fear? I have to admit that my greatest phobia is the fear of abysses. Heights don’t bother me in the slightest, but depths are a completely different story. In my day to day life – traveling the world by plane rather than by boat – it is easy enough to avoid an abyss. But don’t offer me the pleasure of a boat ride… I will always feel like I might be boarding the next Titanic.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? ‘Deplore’ is a big word for it but there is one trait of character I have that I consider both a blessing and (sometimes) a curse. I am a very straight forward and honest person. But people sometimes perceive my frankness for being blunt. I’m anything but inconsiderate. How can I be when I have a business that I run both in Italy and in the Netherlands? I can navigate quite easily between those very different cultures but I will always tell you what I think and I will be open about it. If people like their stuff sugar coated it is not the best trait but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

What is my greatest extravagance? Shoes, bags and contemporary jewelry! I don’t necessarily wear them every day, but I also really enjoy the sight of them in my closet.

On what occasion would I lie? I generally never lie, but then again… I do love a tall tale. And as we all know any good one has elements of hyperbole in it.

What is the influence of role models, in my work and in my life? Many people throughout my life have inspired me to do the things I do today. Role models help me see if I’m following the right path and also make me realize that I can always count on my gut feeling. And since I recently saw the documentary of Peggy Guggenheim, I can tell you that stories like hers really inspire me.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? Everyone around me knows that being stuck behind my computer typing away is not my ideal of a happy work day. Like all designers, my brain works with images so writing and putting everything in words is not something that comes easily to me or I enjoy highly. Luckily, with our very own PR department I have surrounded myself with people that just love to write, thus creating the ideal mix.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? After running a successful business for over 15 years in the creative industry I can say that my happiest moments can occur anywhere in the world and at any time. I’m at my happiest every time I accomplish the goals I set for any particular project; when I see people having fun at one of the parties that we launch; or if designers tell me that they sold their works at my events. But I can also be very happy and grateful when I’m on a plane towards a meeting or an event in another country and I realize what an amazing job I have!

If I could, what would I change about myself? I know it is common knowledge that you have to think big decisions through, but sometimes I would like to be less indecisive and act more on the impulse of what feels right.

What is my greatest achievement in work? Definitely one of the most important points in time on my success ladder is when I created the Ventura Projects (venturaprojects.com), and also when we decided to run the projects not only in Milan, but also worldwide in places such as Berlin, Kortrijk, London and New York. I’m so proud of the fact that we can present the work of thousands of designers to such large audience.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? Because my company operates in two cities, there are things I really love in both of them, since I can’t seem to leave one for the other. On one hand, Utrecht is a beautiful medieval city and the spot that really inspires me is the city centre area, with all of its old canals. It is such a calming and pleasant view. But on the other hand, Milan also has a special place in my heart since I lived there for a good period of my life. It is the city of “closed doors”, big buildings with enormous wooden gates – what’s not to love about that? Moreover, because we are constantly scouting locations for our projects, I come in constant contact with new places that inspire me – such as the very old “palazzo” or the warehouses near the central station, that haven’t been opened to the public for over 30 years, and which are now our new location for next year’s Ventura Projects.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? My greatest supporter over the years has definitely been my father. Although he is retired now, he’s very involved in my business and sometimes he’s even joining us as a moral support to events.

Whom would I like to work with in the future? I don’t have someone in mind I specifically look forward to working with in the future, but as a graduated designer and also working in the field of organising events, I’m always very excited about what the future holds, especially when it comes to new collaborations with designers and companies from all over the world.

What project, in the nearby future, am I looking forward to work on? Organisation in Design has a big part in organising design events and -projects but we also offer PR to clients who are in fact designers themselves or big brands that affiliate themselves with design. In both branches of the company no two days are the same and that means that we always have something to look forward to or to work towards, whether that is handling the PR of an inspiring designer or making sure we create visibility and a physical platform for amazing design talents from all over the world.

How can you contact me? You can contact me via email at info@organisationindesign.com

You can also read more about me and my work on my websites at venturaprojects.com and organisationindesign.com

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