Els Zijlstra, founder and creative director of Materia.
Els Zijlstra studied architecture at Delft University of Technology. Her other interests include design, biology, bio-mimicry, cultural anthropology and journalism. When she founded Materia in 1998 all these fascinations came together. Els mediates between creative professionals and the design industry and brings them together by joining innovative materials knowledge and networks worldwide. She has been guest professor at the University Delft and Eindhoven, has given lectures at universities in Toronto, Tokyo, Tel Aviv, Madrid, Rome, Melbourne, Seoul and has been invited for lectures by events all over the world. She has published several books and articles about innovative materials in architecture and design. Since our built environment is materialised, the right selection of materials plays a huge role in our future. Important issues include sustainability, smart solutions, human wellbeing by experience, health, comfort, economic profit, using sustainable material resources and respecting the laws of the circular economy. Her overall material focus is on (interior) architecture, product design, mobility, fashion/apparel and the graphic/packaging industry. She has given consult and workshops to many organisations like OMA, Gehry, UNstudio, MVRDV, BMW, Samsung, Birkenstock, ABNAMRO, Swarovski and many more. As creative director of Materia she is responsible for the content of the website, international exhibitions, lectures, publications and seminars. In 2017 she worked closely together with Pablo van der Lugt on the book “ Booming Bamboo”, published by Materia.