As a result of the global outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent cancellation of both Ventura Centrale and Ventura Future at Milan Design Week 2020, Ventura Projects has been forced to cease operations after ten successful editions.

After ten successful editions and while fully prepared for the 11th edition of Ventura Projects during Milan Design Week 2020, Ventura Projects is no longer feasible. Both Ventura Centrale and Ventura Future had to be cancelled due to the global COVID-19 outbreak. Unfortunately, these cancellations have had a massive and irreversible impact on the company. Margriet Vollenberg, founder and art director of Ventura Projects, sadly had to make the impossible and heartbreaking decision to stop all Ventura Projects activities, leaving a massive gap in the entire design world. This means that after many successful editions the Ventura Projects events, organised by Organisation in Design, will no longer be on show during Milan Design Week and other international design events in the future.

‘It is with great sorrow that I’ve had to witness how the corona crisis has hit the entire world and event and design industry, and thus my company. I spent many sleepless nights worrying about whether and how I could save or transform my company to adjust to a new normal to still be able to serve the design world and enable the talent as we have always done. It is therefore with great pain in my heart that I came to the conclusion that it is no longer feasible to build on my dream, and therefore the dreams of many designers and design studios. The current circumstances leave me no other choice but to end Ventura Projects,’ says Margriet Vollenberg.

‘It is with great sorrow that I’ve had to witness how the corona crisis has hit the entire world and event and design industry, and thus my company'

For twenty-one years Vollenberg took a role as an organiser, coordinator, and matchmaker during Milan Design Week and over the past eleven years, as art director of Ventura Projects, she focused on giving a forum for international creatives launching their projects. With the support of two dedicated teams in the Netherlands and Italy, Ventura Projects exhibitors were offered guidance and promotion to give them the attention and exposure they deserved.

Vollenberg continues: ‘Over the last few days my team and I have personally called individual designers, relations and exhibitors of Ventura Projects. It was one of the most difficult tasks we have ever had to accomplish as a team. It was deeply sorrowing as well as heartwarming to talk to all our trusted friends and design lovers. For now, I look back with tremendous pride and gratitude on what my team and I have been able to accomplish in the international design world. With more than 7000 exhibitors, we have been able to present countless ground-breaking and incredible solutions to the world. We sincerely hope that the energised atmosphere of global design events will return soon. More than ever, to cope with this crisis and the aftermath the world is in need of the creativity, playfulness and ingenuity that design can offer.’

Former exhibitors about Ventura Projects
Internationally renowned designer Maarten Baas says: ‘From scratch, Ventura Projects created something unique and was able to renew and expand their concept during the years. Many designers, including myself, have been given and seized opportunities to show themselves through Ventura Projects. They gave colour to Milan Design Week and visitors knew they could expect something good. I was shocked when Margriet called me and told me about the news. With the loss of Ventura Projects, a great catalyst has been lost.’ Ventura Projects not only worked with international designers and brands for years – it also helped many of them launch their careers.

Ventura Projects not only worked with international designers and brands for years – it also helped many of them launch their careers

Another voice is Satoshi Yoshiizumi, representative of Japanese design collective TAKT PROJECT: ‘We are very surprised and saddened by this sudden and sad announcement. TAKT PROJECT has participated in Ventura Projects a total of four times so far, but the solo exhibition at Ventura Centrale in 2019 was particularly memorable. I think it was one of the best opportunities of Milan Design Week, a very important place for an independent design studio like us, and a point of contact between visitors from all over the world, especially for works that are experimental and open to the future of design. Thank you very much, Ventura Projects!’

Italian designer Luca Nichetto shares: ‘I remember the day I met Margriet in Venice, and it was immediately clear to me that she had a distinct vision on how Ventura Projects could help designers and brands, creating a platform to support their ideas. A few years later I took part in the first edition of Ventura Centrale. We all had a pioneering spirit, great passion and curiosity. Now I can only thank Ventura Projects, for all it has done for our community. But above all, I would like to thank them for giving me a great opportunity for professional growth.’

About Ventura Projects in Milan
Ventura Projects are curated exhibition areas – organised by Utrecht- and Milan-based company Organisation in Design – that cover the latest developments in contemporary design. In 2010, Ventura Lambrate formed the launch of a completely new design district in Milan during Milan Design Week. As the first fully curated area of the Fuorisalone, the event focused strongly on quality, uniqueness and research, and highlighted conceptual and new expressions of international design. During the last two years, Ventura Future, partnering with BASE Milano, was the place to be to explore the best of contemporary design from a mix of international academies, designers, brands and labels. And from its first edition in 2017, Ventura Centrale was an instant success and proved itself as an indispensable stop on the Milan Design Week itinerary. Exhibiting in the vaulted warehouses of the Milan central railway station, it provided a stage for brands that master the art of storytelling. Through captivating installations, brands showed their skills and resolve to the Design Week audience.

We thank Ventura Projects for the great years of cooperation and joint projects, and for their incredible support and enormous inspiration.

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Photos: Claudio Grassi (1, 3, 4, 5), Jason Wyche (2)

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