Gabriel Fontana is the first Design Academy Eindhoven graduate to win the New Rotterdam Talent Award, which offers a graduate designer a five month residency, an allowance and professional development support to develop their work.

Fontana will now develop his project Multiform, which examines the potential of games in exploring ideas of identity and community, with a five month residency in Rotterdam.

He will be granted a monthly fund of €600 for research and development and will also receive membership of The Commune, which provides studios and workshops as well as training, and the Erasmus ‘Get Started’ programme. He will be given training in creative direction, creative business plans, social impact and studio management.

Fontana will also be invited to exhibit his process and final developments of the project in Rotterdam. The founders of the award, Eléonore Delisse + Laura Ferriere of design agency and studio This is Bouw, and the municipality of Rotterdam’s CityLab 101, which funds the prize, will work with Fontana to try and find a longer-term investment for the development of his design research and applications.

Gabriel Fontana on stage with Marthe Heltzel (l), policy advisor arts & creative industries, municipality of Rotterdam  and Eléonore Delisse (r), Co-founder & Managing director at This is BOUW. Picture by Angeline Swinkels.

The New Rotterdam Talent Award will be given to one graduate of DAE and one graduate from Rotterdam’s Willem de Kooning Academy each year.  

The jury for the 2018 edition of the prize included Eveline Visser, space and concept designer, Isaac Monté, product and concept designer, Renee Marcelis, program leader at Bouwkeet and chairman at R'damse Nieuwe, Tamar Shafrir, design writer and acting co-head of DAE’s Design Curating & Writing Master programme, Chantal Olffers, co-ordinator roadmap next economy at the Municipality of Rotterdam and Eléonore Delisse + Laura Ferriere, designers and creators of the Award.

The winner was announced during the DAE opening ceremony on 4 September, alongside the winners of the annual DAE Gijs Bakker award for best Master’s graduate project, and the Melkweg and Rene Smeets Awards for originality and professionalism, which are awarded to the best projects from the graduates of the Academy’s Bachelor’s programmes.


  • Gabriel Fontana wins inaugural New Rotterdam Talent Award
  • Gabriel Fontana wins inaugural New Rotterdam Talent Award
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