Eva Feldkamp and "the responsibility of design"

All in Awe, Peterborough Pop-Up, salone milano

All in Awe, Peterborough Pop-Up, photo Carlos Jimenez

Consultant and strategist, Eva Feldkamp is also the founder and director of All in Awe, a social enterprise revolving around a global network of creative professionals

After many years spent in the field of design, the latest as head of the interior design team at Tom Dixon’s Design Research Studio, Eva Feldkamp decided to give up everything and devote herself to humanitarian and social projects. In 2021, she launched All in Awe, a platform giving charities and non-profits the chance to work with creative professionals without the fees of large agencies. During the 60th edition of the Salone del Mobile in Milan, the designer participated in the talk held by Maria Cristina Didero “Sustainability: three different episodes”. From London, enthusiasm and wonderful contagious love.

A fantastic career given up to follow a project that’s good for the community. They called you brave. What do you think?

People tell me this all the time, but I don’t think I am. I’m not Mother Courage. I just want to do something, change design together with people. Usually it’s something you attempt on your own, and you often look for someone to do it with you.


eva feldkamp, salone milano

Eva Feldkamp, photo Carlos Jimenez

You changed jobs and you were also generous to create All in Awe.

Maybe one reason is that I like to experiment, try new things. I like it when there’s an opportunity and we can make a change. Do something better, when everyone is involved. I don’t want to wait for someone else to do it, but I like to try it and see if it works. This has always been the key: to be able to do something, to make a change. It’s hard work, but someone will have to do it. No? And if I don’t do it first, who will? If we wait for someone else to start, change will never happen. It’s also a question of responsibility.


How did the All in Awe platform come about? How did you decide to start the project?

I’d been working in the world of design for more than ten years, in different practices, and in fact I’d already started volunteering in my spare time. I realized how similar all of us who work in the world of design are. I needed to meet people who were different from me. I wanted to go out on a limb and experience reality. Often in this world a lot is bound up with money, luxury, different opportunities. I wanted to have a lot more life in my days. Only when I went to the supermarket did I realize there were other people in the world and I wanted to connect more with them. This was the first moment, the first thought, when I started volunteering. That was where I got the push to start the project. So I started doing this work, even in my neighborhood. I always tried to work out how to use these qualities more in the design world, but I couldn’t figure out how to connect the two.

pop up, all in awe, salone milano

All in Awe, Peterborough Pop-Up, photo Max Creasy

Was there a spark that triggered everything?

The reason I decided to quit was first of all that I had worked enough in this field. In addition, while working for Tom Dixon I realized how much impact the decisions of a leader had on others. It has consequences on the use of materials and sustainability. If you work on the development of large projects you realize how a small decision can change other people’s lives profoundly.


How is it going?

It is a non-profit startup, so like all startups there have been ups and downs, though I admit that for us there have been a lot of ups. It’s tremendous fun. Now it’s been running for a year and a half, a lot of charities are recommending us to find the best design. The idea remains of being a platform where both non-profits and designers can register and choose to do a project with us as consultants.

chair, all in awe, salone milano

All in Awe, Chair making, photo Max Creasy

How do you choose the designers?

They apply. What we usually do is to say what kind of creatives we need. Then they write or submit a portfolio. They tell us their rates and apply a discount precisely because these are non-profit associations. There are some designers and studios who tell us that they’ve earned enough and so they do it for free. They’re happy to lend a hand. It still depends on the project. Some will attend for a couple of meetings, some for a small project. It also depends on the duration. There’s a lot of altruism.


How far does politics count in changing things?

We do a lot of projects with public bodies. I believe that politics is closely bound up with changing the situation. Then we work locally. The association could only have been set up here in Britain, but we now have designers working in Europe, the USA, Japan and Australia. Strangely no Italians so far.

pop up store, all in awe, salone milano

All in Awe, Peterborough Pop-Up, photo Max Creasy

all in awe, participatory design, salone milano

All in Awe, Participatory City, photo Sarena Shetty

chair making, all in awe, salone milano

All in Awe, Chair making, photo Max Creasy

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TALK - Sustainability: three different episodes

28 December 2022