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Zefir7 - Elisa van Joolen & Our Polite Society

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Elisa van Joolen
is a designer and researcher based in Amsterdam.
Her approach to clothing design is characterised by strategies of intervention and reconfiguration. Elisa's projects often reflect specific social contexts and emphasise collaboration and participation. They expose relational aspects of clothing and subvert processes of value production.

Elisa's work has been recognised with a Talent Grant – Creative Industries Fund NL (2016–2017), Han Nefkens Award (2016), Fulbright Award (2010) and nominated for the Dutch Design Award (2013) and New Material Award (2014). She participated in shows and exhibitions at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Arnhem Fashion Biennial, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, New York Fashion Week, 5th Brazilian Design Biennial in Florianopolis, Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg, OCAT Art Terminal in Shenzhen and West Bund Art Center in Shanghai.

Elisa holds a BA from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam (2006), MFA from Parsons in New York City (2012) and was artist in resident at Iaspis in Stockholm (2016). She teaches at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie.

In addition to running her own studio she is art director of Warehouse, a place for clothes in context in Amsterdam.


Our Polite Society is a studio for graphic design, type design and typographic research based in Amsterdam and Stockholm. It was founded in 2008 by Jens Schildt (SE) and Matthias Kreutzer (D) after their studies at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy Amsterdam and the Jan van Eyck Academy Maastricht.

Our Polite Society’s production comprises formats such as books, magazines, posters, exhibitions, record sleeves, screens and typefaces. Their way of working is informed by the specificities of materials and techniques in their relation with content, and the standardisations and restrictions of the production process during the construction of a (printed) object. The typographic medium is a recurrent common denominator.

Among others, Our Polite Society have produced works for Bauhaus Dessau, the University of Stockholm, the Sandberg Instituut Amsterdam, the New Institute Rotterdam, Malmö Konsthall and Internationale Bauausstellung. Their self-initiated work investigates how typographic form mirrors social phenomena, and how it relates to ideology and the distribution of knowledge. Since 2017 they are publishing typefaces under the imprint Our Polite Society Type.

Their work has been presented at the International Poster & Graphic Design Festival Chaumont, Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst Leipzig, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Tallinn Art Hall, and State University New York; it has been endowed by the Creative Industries Fund NL, was awarded with the Best Dutch Book Designs, and is part of the collection of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

Our Polite Society are currently teaching at the Konstfack University Stockholm, the Gerrit Rietveld Academy Amsterdam and the Royal Academy of Arts, The Hague; they have lectured in Amsterdam, Stockholm, Leipzig, Ghent, Brussels, St. Petersburg, Prishtina, Sofia and Montreal.


Audio credits: Father Futureback - Pictures of skies


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