Self Portrait

Self Portrait
Holly Pepper

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Currently I am undertaking an internship in Utrecht, Netherlands with the renowned design team consisting of Tejo Remy + Rene Veenhuizen. Through this blog I plan to document my design experience in Holland.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


It is pretty exciting to see so many bicycles being ridden in Holland. Nothing stops the Dutch getting around by bike. There are young women stilettos cautiously mounting their bikes. Groups of Oma’s (Grannies) picking up there shopping. Mums cycling with their multiple children strapped front and back to the bike. Not even a trip to Ikea is an excuse to drive flat packed furniture home. Instead it is planted under the cyclists armpit, and precariously balanced on the handle bars all the way home.

Cycling is ingrained in the culture!

This is very inspiring compared with my recent experience back home. To cut a long story short I work part time as an Art Technician at a Perth High School. Anyway, we were delivered the best professional development session I have experienced a few weeks ago. The session focused on ways the school could become more sustainable in social and environmental aspects of school life. Reading the body language of most of the staff they hesitantly participated! Middle-aged people stuck in their old consuming ways not willing to change their habits for the benefit of the greater environment. By contrast me being the young and enthusiastic person I am, I filled my page with potential changes that could be made around the school to create a more environmental sustainable place.

-Ban all personal use vehicles to the school. Staff must carpool, cycle or catch public transport to the school.

- Ban selling water at the canteen. Students must refill from refrigerated taps around the school.

- Stop selling meat dishes in the canteen.

- Health + fitness should be valued over personal grooming in the school environment.

The list went on, I scrawled the ideas down with enthusiasm. I thought that implementing these initiatives in a small school environment would be relatively easy to organise. It would also be an environment that you would be able to actually see progress. Finally teachers could be valued for their role modelling, leading a green revolution!

Ok so I got a little carried away...little bit to radical in my train of thought. Instead I let the enthusiasm bubble away inside. I got a little distracted preparing for my trip away and never actually managed to try and initiate any of these ideas. However, one other teacher managed to pull finger and started to rally up support for carpooling. First it came with an email…. With no response… then it was brought up at staff morning tea. You could feel the staff role there eyes and silently zone off into the tray of cakes sitting on the table.

So with no luck I boarded my plane for Holland silently disillusioned by peoples’ inability to try new things, to change some aspects of their lifestyle for the common good. So for now I will lap up the Dutch’s enthusiasm for cycling + the good public transport born from high-density living!


  1. Glad to hear your excitement from Europe. I've experienced on my easter trip massive thought conservatism, so I'm happy to hear west is different....... hopefully more than just for the first few days :-)

  2. That's why most people think this Dutch person commuting to Curtin University from Swanbourne twice a week is crazy...

    I had a discussion with the council guy about the new bike plan in Claremont and living close to Scotch College we were talking about how to get more school kids on bikes... that was a tough one, apparently it's the parents; in most cases the mother, because they like to play taxi driver... Because they have to bring the poor kids to violin class or ballet after school so the poor kids can't go there by themselves... And they would be abducted by creepy old man when they walk or cycle to school and it's far too dangerous with all those cars (which most of them is the fellow mothers with school kids in it... there are no traffic problems during holidays)

    Anyway, apparently in the 80-ties lots of kids went to school by bike or on foot, but this changed and now it's very hard to change it back to how it was.

    And I am a bit afraid of the new generation; from my sustainable design class 25 out of 27 students have no outdoor hobbies, they listed only gaming, computering and watching movies online... of the two students who had outdoor hobbies one was playing hockey and the other one was a surf life saver... very sad, this generation probably grows earphones and extra holes to plug in future gadgets...


Midland Atelier

Midland Atelier
The Water Tower Studio.

The Water Tower View

The Floor Mat

The Floor Mat
This is an organic looking floor mat I am creating. It was inspired by mold crawling up the wall