Alrik Koudenburg

As an independent Creative Director, I’ve always been interested in the convergence of strategic thinking, design and physical experiences. Driven by architecting meaningful day to day interactions, through research / empathy / and design. It’s why I do what I do.
Whether we unlock innovation in the workplace, develop a new meaningful product or create a 360º user experience. By connecting what truly matters, design has the power to inspire new behaviour. This always starts by understanding the DNA of a brand, organization or challenge. Then finding ways of amplifying it into physical experiences in ways that touch and inspire people. These kind of projects require me to wear different hats and perform a variety of skills. From being a sparring partner for clients, empowering their organisations – to supervise the implementation. In the Netherlands I co-founded Frozz, a nutritious food company / collaborated with Rapt Studio in San Francisco as ECD / Sid Lee in Montreal / J.Walter Thompson /…,staat Amsterdam – and since 1999 with clients like Nike, Levi’s, GitHub, Unity3D, PICNIC, Heineken & Philips. For these interdisciplinary projects I build strong cross platform design alliances and lead them. I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with many talented creatives & brave clients, who have challenged me to stay on top of my game. If you’d like to team up, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

American School of The Hague+

Complete redesigned of the entrance & hospitality area, connecting it to hallways and classrooms, creating a showcase of what the school has to offer by opening up the Library, adding offices of Admissions / Transportation / External Relations / & IT Service desk. As well as upgrading security (& hiding it to the minimum) – adding a host instead of a guard.

ASH is an American-curriculum school that serves approximately 1200 students, from Pre-School to grade 12.
The project started small with the need for a new reception – but soon we identified with the ASH team the need to conduct a major overhaul of the campus entrance. ASH needed a new and powerful image to commensurate with their reputation in The Netherlands. All other aspects of the school (e.g. sustainability, curriculum, personnel, food service, etc.) are of the highest excellence, and therefore we needed similarly transform the first impression of visitors to their campus from ‘a drab and uninspiring façade’ (as ASH called it) – into a vibrant and exciting gateway to the formidable learning taking place in the classrooms, in the theater, music classes or sport facilities. ASH serves a multinational population from over 75 countries. Children of the diplomatic- / int business- / or the local Dutch community, who all seek a high end US style education.

For this project I teamed up with architect Marijn Mees / technical expert Remco Wieringa / designer Koert Broekman.
Redesign of campus entrance / facade & lobby

Heineken HQ bar+

The assignment started small with the request to leave a strong trademark impression at street level of the headquarters of one of the worlds largest beer breweries. In the development of a brand-manifesto Heineken states that ‘life rewards people who go beyond what they know’. We did just that.

First of all by showing Heineken's complete family of brands in a unique display unit, with different seating areas around it. We used a special type of glass film to create more mystique, with a green pulsating light behind it (which feels like a heartbeat). The main eye catchers is the refrigerated illuminated pharmacy-like cabinet. Where approximately 125 brands are made available for consumption. Each of them has it's one separate cooling drawer.
The cabinet is placed behind a complete white Corian bar in a traditional 'brown cafe' environment - combining the brand's heritage with its future. It is the focal point of the entire lobby. We ended up creating the entire entrance area, adding a mix of seating & work areas. We teamed up with Wieden+Kennedy, because we wanted to tell the Heineken story in a unique brand-manifesto in the main lobby. Uptill today it’s the favourite hangout for Heineken HQ employees and their visitors. ‘Cheers Heineken’

Made in a team at ...,staat amsterdam.
Displaying Heineken's complete family of brands, leaving a strong trademark impression.

Nothing Cardboard Office+

The briefing was simple: create an office that underscored the agency’s mission
–  “Creating something out of nothing”. While at the same time generating the amount of PR every agency start-up longs for.
All credits go to the founders Michael Jansen & Bas Korsten, both highly recognized and awarded creatives – because they dared to go for it. This office went on te receive international attention in design magazines and blogs around the world.

Michael Jansen: “Often design looks great in a magazine, it’s likely to be less that impressive in daily use. This office is definitely an exception. The convivial atmosphere and acoustic qualities this office provided, was an unexpected bonus for us. We never for a minute regretted our 9-5 home. The concept, design and execution for the now world renown cardboard office, was a perfect example of how being ‘on brief’ can still be a complete surprise.” 

For this project I teamed up with artist-/designer Joost van Bleiswijk.
Nominated 'THE GREAT INDOORS AWARD' by Frame Magazine.
‘Creating something from nothing’, with an interior that feels like a sketchbook / architectural mockup

Frozz Friendly Food+

In 2010 I teamed up with 2 partners to start Frozz. With our nutricious friendly food company, we first introduced Frozen Yogurt in the Netherlands, a fresh, healthy & 100% organic version (— among other mini meal concepts). As founder I was creatively responsible for the concept & overall brand experience. Now we have a great team, managing about ±15 stores in 2015 throughout the country (some franchise) / 1 pilot in Lisbon, Portugal / and a wholesale product at +1000 salespoints (incl KLM/ Shell/ Sodexo/ AH/ DeBijenkorf). >> More friendly food concepts will follow (like the Oodlz Noodles Bar) ‘Go Frozz go’.

For this project I teamed up with various creative partners, like graphic designer Jeroen de Boorder.
Frozz – Fresh Frozen Yoghurt, that’s it

Business Park Papendorp+

The task: Optimize & Reposition an existing park (only 50% plots in use - due to past economic crisis). Plan development kicked off by mapping & emphasizing the strengths (swot). It defined the challenge. Great project (& great team). We’re well on our way to put this green & sustainable park back on the map (masterplan by OMA / landscape by West 8).

The way we work today changed. We’re back in the office...for good reasons. To connect, collaborate, innovate, learn & laugh. After creating aerials from helicopter (drone 1.0), we connected all the gems on an interactive map. Promote mix use & diversity in the park, connect users (& city) – adding soul. Mindshift in progress. Making its qualities accessible – from Parking app, Gym to Daycare, Hotel, Recreation, Lunch spots, Board rooms & Flex desks. Building a brand around it, incl Marcom. Our drive: turn the park into a 840.000m2 Members Club. For all 12.000 daily users / in ±50 buildings to enjoy. Launched 2016, still in progress (roadmap 2020)

In collaboration with the excellent: Loek van Doorn (The Rosegaarden) / Nathalie Brähler (Cultural Oil) – and a great team of experts.
(New) Working ground for leading professionals

PICNIC Festival+

PICNIC is a leading European platform for innovation and creativity. During the annual festival PICNIC brings people together from diverse backgrounds who like to exchange insights and are keen to expose themselves to ideas outside their own area of expertise. During three intensive days we mixed creativity, science, technology, media and business to explore new solutions in the spirit of co-creation.

My assignment: create the physical space with the aim to create an experience visitors would never ever forget. We collaborated on several productions: PICNIC Festival 2010 & the ‘Amsterdam PICNIC @ WCIT’ (one of the world’s most prestigious IT events). In 2011, I teamed up again with PICNIC – to transformed a part of the port of Amsterdam into a temporary city. We translated the festival’s theme ‘Urban Futures’ into a physical manifestation of it as a pop-up city. By making the theme tangible as an experience for solutions at the intersection of business, public and social worlds, we help catalyze breakthrough solutions to the world’s societal challenges. — Call me anytime for projects with an ambition like that. Just great.

For this project I teamed up with Marcel Kampman (Creative Director PICNIC)
Briefing: Create an experience visitors would never ever forget

Nike AF1 Studio+

This temporary pop-up space in Amsterdam was created in honor of a masterpiece, the AF1 sneaker.
Celebrating the 25th birthday of this legendary basket ball shoe that has dominated the hiphop culture ever since it was introduced in 1982. Being responsible for the concept /design direction I wanted to create a mix of retail meets gallery meets hospitality & creative office.
Besides a Nike-iD design lounge, a documentary about the history of the iconic AF1 shoe, it features a hall-of-fame displaying private collections and limited editions and a craftsmanship area to show how an exclusive pair of AF1's are made out of Anaconda or Crocodile leather with gold detailing. After a celebration party, the doors opened to the public. The industrial loft space was open for 3 weeks only - having special guests Snoop Dogg, P-Diddy and many Dutch influencers come by to pick up their self-customized AF1 sneakers. 

Made in a team at ...,staat amsterdam.
A unique pop-up space to celebrate the AF1’s 25th birthday in style.

J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam+

The brief asked to reflect J. Walter Thompson’s new motto: Seriously Surprising. Which led to an intriguing open office labyrinth, housed on a 1850 sqm floor of an historic building in Amsterdam. JWT now has just 3 (instead of 14) leaner, meaner and more agile departments: THINK / DO / MAKE. Each with their own distinct look & feel.

To complete the warm inviting work space, we introduced a central cafe with its own chef. Now clients no longer are the hosts, but like to come & stay for haute cuisine lunches. Just like 90% of the employees. It makes JWT Amsterdam an exciting busy beehive, where truly amazing work is being created.
The relocation to the heart of the city in a radically new interior – gave JWT Amsterdam a more expressive and daring identity. It started to attract new, more innovative, international lifestyle brands / projects / and people (within 1 year the average age of staff went down with ±10 years). Within 3 years they were chosen ‘Agency of the Year’ in The Netherlands. The interior won the international 'Best Office Interior 2013' award.

For this project I teamed up with artist-/designer RJW Elsinga.
Revamp & Rejuvenation of JWT Amsterdam (the worlds oldest ad firm, 1864)

Nestlé Hospitality Area+

The assignment: creating a masterplan for a complete overhaul of a newly created entrance area of this multinational. Nestlé The Netherlands moved to the location a 1 year prior. It felt too formal / corporate, with an un-inspiring canteen. We’ve curated a spatial experience on multiple levels – from a the food experience > to offering a home-like setting with informal work place functionalities & mix of seating opportunities. Adding breakfast to the lunch menu, as well as afternoon treats. Serving quality cup coffee. From pleasant lighting – all the way to the right background music.

I find projects like this particularly interesting because you can really help the team internally (which created the initial design) understand what is needed to create more dramatic appeal and warmth, making it feel less corporate. It was a challenging project to create a space which we believe should be the physical manifestation of the brand, displaying it’s values in an artistic and intelligent way. It sure helped to work directly with the CEO. It’s essential for a multinational to challenge the leading professionals interacting with the brand. Educate, as well as inspire – creating some mystery and intrigue. These are people that like to fill in the blanks themselves, rather then having everything spelled out for them, to be made to think. The goals is to keep all involved & stimulate a close connection to the consumer that uses the end products. — Due to many restrictions, we succeeded partly in these objectives. Nevertheless all involved were proud of the result, the daily users happy & corporate guests impressed.

For this project I teamed up Koert Broekman / RJW Elsinga
Transforming the entrance of the NL HQ corporate office – to match its brand promise


Make work feel like play. The challenge of Fabrique – create the first office outside of Delft, their home town, with a tight budget / deadline. >>> My objective – facilitating Fabrique’s creative process, strengthen their internal (work) cultural, make them feel like one of the international firms in Amsterdam, since projects started to be outside of their Branding / Print / Interactive work, moving into challenging questions and complex problems in various fields in-/ and outside of the creative disciplines.
We took out all the walls at ground level of a 1884 warehouse on the IJ-river, and focussed most of our efforts (and budget) – into creating a floating pavilion.
The intention to do this was to create a strong focal point in the space to be used as a board room / podium for creative gatherings. The advantage was other details of the space, like re-using desks didn’t got noticed that much. We stripped the floor and sanded the concrete underneath, added wood planking on the walls and created some custom-designed communal tables. From sketch, demolition to execution: 2 months.

For this project I teamed up with: Fiction Factory (one of my favorite building companies)
A space designed to facilitate Fabrique’s creative process

Boomtent (Tree tent)+

A personal project born out of my desire to relive some of my greatest childhood memories. For me, a tree-house is a poetic space of small dimensions, easily blending into the natural world.
The Tree Tent affords all the luxuries of camping, without the pitfalls of wet earth and the perils of animals foraging for food. It’s ideal for collecting your thoughts away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, or for just staring at the sky, feeling like the king of the world. The Tree Tent is dark green to provide camouflage in typical (Dutch)foliage.

How it works: Toss a weighted tow-line over your branch of choice, raise the simple triangular tent construction of reinforced aluminium and waxed nylon, climb the attached rope-ladder, tie the support lines to the trunk and branch and there you have it, an instant tree fort. Enjoy.
Go climb a tree, swing from the branches. Feel like Tarzan.

What others say

  • Irene Koel Founder TheZooooo

    "In this day and age everybody graves for imagination and conceptual power. Alrik can deliver you just that and more.
    A broad conceptual mind, not bound to the barrieres the trade has invented. And even more crucial in a creative process: he's a nice guy to work with."

  • Nalden Founder WeTransfer / PresentPlus

    "Thanks to Alrik, I became aware of going Next Level. Always continue sharing, never stop playing!
    I know Alrik as an extremely skilled Design Director with a passion for creating inspiring interactions and environments.
    During my entire international career, I have not met many people like him with the same skills set and smarts."

  • Ralph Wisbrun Managing Partner JWT Amsterdam

    "Our complex world, the business, and the fast moving field of advertising demands a completely different way of working
    with just only three leaner, meaner and more agile departments. When I met Alrik the first time it was beyond dispute that he was the man for the job for our new office. Before even setting foot in our new building, he wanted to know all aspects from our business, what makes the people at JWT Amsterdam tick. Alrik’s interior design not only unified the people of JWT Amsterdam - it also gave a whole new meaning to our office’s vision to be Seriously Surprising."

  • Boyd Coyner W+K, Fuel, Modernista, 180º

    "Alrik has a knack for taking emotional ideas and helping to dimensionalize them.
    For Nike, he took a core idea and brought it to life in a very imaginative way, which really helped take the creative work to a new level."

  • Marcel Kampman Creative Strategist PICNIC / KABK / Mastermundo

    "Alrik is a true genuine, open and positive person, with a great heart and eye for design. More importantly he is a really nice guy. I remember that I was positively intimidated by Alrik’s presence and his really decisive attitude towards creative solutions. He can make the impossible possible, within time and budget, while exceeding expectations, including mine. Alrik is a passionate perfectionist, handles any challenge with a big smile and makes beautiful work while smiling. It is and has been a pleasure working with him on the projects we we involved in up to now. It's great to see that his passion and enthusiasm is contagious to individuals to let them make better work. "

  • Jeroen van Erp Founder / CCO Fabrique

    "Alrik doesn’t ‘do’ a project. He lives a project and he cares. He asks questions and he tries to understand what’s happening while looking you straight in the eyes just to make sure you are aware he’s in. But more important: he makes you ask questions, he makes a client wonder what it’s all about and he has got the power to shift the mindset of everybody involved without rocking the boat. He has the ability to challenge in a gentle way, apparently always in a good mood. It’s interesting that after a while the boundaries between working with him and talking in private with him are completely gone. I’m afraid you can’t hire him without the magic."

  • Joris Hofmans Creativity & Business coach (ao Microsoft Nederland)

    "Working with Alrik is a refreshing experience. He avoids the 'usual suspects' but at the same time he is not afraid to do the obvious when needed. He thinks big and makes things simple. And vice versa. He taught me how to play again, to step out of that hard decision-making strategic structure and be surprised by all the possibilities in creation. Free thinking, free shaping. You can't pin him down to just one trick like most designers. He's an all-darer, an all-doer. Hell, he's All-rik! Let him surprise you!"

  • Richard Spradling Director American School of The Hague

    "We wanted someone who could similarly transform the first impression of visitors to our campus from an uninspiring façade
    - into a vibrant and exciting gateway. Alrik was just the person to succeed with that challenge. When our redesigned main entrance opened to widespread acclaim and appreciation by our entire school community.

    Alrik gave personal attention to all aspects of the project, from getting to know what is special about our school, to involving equally talented associates and proposing a range of colours and materials that would echo the multi-national tapestry of our school community. Part of our design needs included an upgrade to security of our main entrance; here too, Alrik was able to blend high-technology security equipment into his design of a warm and welcoming “living room” atmosphere of our new foyer.

    We feel that his work on our campus has helped redefine the combination of security and welcome that should characterise any great 21st century educational institution. We would certainly engage him again for any similar campus renovation that required the merger of both practical and artistic excellence."

  • Alvaro Sotomayor Senior Creative Director Wieden+Kennedy

    "I have known Alrik for the past 15 years and have worked closely in a few design projects. His professional standards and design knowledge, makes him unique and one of the most prestigious designers in the Netherlands. Anyone that has the chance to work with him will quickly see what an extraordinary asset he is to deliver on the highest of designs around the world."

  • Jochem Leegstra & Julia Kortekaas Founder / Owners ...,staat

    "We demand a lot of our Creatives. They must be able to translate their creative ideas into 2D, 3D and 4D concepts. Alrik is a fine example of someone who can do this with finesse and ease. He is able to perform both in a team environment and alone. Alrik is a critical, poetic perfectionist with a healthy passion for everything he does. You could call him an all round creative specialist. In addition to all of this, he is a straightforward, sincere, nice guy."

  • Mei Lin Ang Founder / Managing partner Frozz

    "I was looking for a brand agency or a freelance concept designer for my newly founded frozen yoghurt brand.
    When I was introduced to Alrik who in just a few moments of briefing could capture the experience and feeling I had in my mind on a sketchpad. It was such a relief. Alrik gave our frozen yoghurt form in such an inspiring way, he helped us with our vision, created the concept, gave Frozz it’s identity and brought it to life in our first tastinglab.
    Within 2 years we were running a business of 2 food concepts, 3 sales channels, 14 own and franchised shops and 1000 points of sale. Based on my intensive working with Alrik in the past 5 years, I can truthfully endorse Alrik Koudenburg to be a one-of-a-kind inspirer. I could write a book about all our experiences that would show what an extraordinary talented creative, resourceful and beautiful human being Alrik is."

  • Roel van den Berg Senior Project Manager/Advisor – Access to Quality (ao Heineken / Nike Global)

    "Most of our projects are on the edge of time (yesterday), money (limited budget), content (out of the box, suprising en state of the art) and therefore almost impossible. I worked on several of these challenges with Alrik and with great results. He is a great team player, will never say no and will keep striving to the highest possible result. Pressure on time and money will not interfere with his creativity and he will make his hands dirty when it comes to production. Beside that he is a fine human being with a great hart,  a global citizen and somebody with no preconceptions."

  • Gerard Majoor VP R&D Philips (Personal Care)

    "Alrik really immerses himself in a project. He lives and dreams together with the people that must live in the building. He absorbs their culture and becomes one of them. Based on this he created for us a powerful future vision that we use as compass for all future changes.
    He really drives for great results, and voices this strongly. This is very important to get the best results. Next to that he is a very inspiring person to work with."

  • Michael Jansen Creative Director DDB / Selmore / Nothing / Havas

    "What impressed us the most about Alrik during our first meeting, was how different he was to other architects and interior designers with whom we’ve worked with in the past. Besides being uncommonly humble, he turned out to be the most practical designer we’ve met. Questioning us on everything that remotely related to our business needs, routings and the like. Essential things that artists of his caliber often see as secondaire. Once we gave the go, Alrik let loose and stayed within our merger start-up budget to deliver an unbelievably office.
    This office went on te receive international attention in design magazines and blogs around the world. Often design looks great in a magazine, it’s likely to be less that impressive in daily use. The office designed by Alrik is definitely an exception. The convivial atmosphere and acoustic qualities this office provided, was an unexpected bonus for us. We never for a minute regretted our 9-5 home (except maybe for the relentless guided tours given by our landlord). His uncommon gift of combining sincere humbleness with natural talent, is not often encountered in this world."

  • Bas Korsten & Michael Jansen Founders Nothing

    "Working with Alrik isn't like working. He's such an open, friendly but most of all talented guy that we didn't once argue with him during the process. Of course we're not half as stylish as him, so we couldn't argue with him on lots of things anyway. But when you look at the end result of our working relationship I think our cardboard office is a quite functional piece of art. Which has given our company a great start as far as free publicity goes as well as attract loads of international designers wanting to work for us. We'd recommend Alrik to anyone (but our wives of course)."

  • Ad de Hond (former) Brand Design Director Nike Europe

    "I have worked with Alrik on several projects. Especially projects that require conceptual thinking, detailing, and vision are good for Alrik. He's analytical, focused and topical in his designs work. And besides that he's a good team player and aware of what's really important in life. Yin Yang."

Not all who wander are lost
Alrik Koudenburg
Creative Director /
Spatial strategist
current location
Amsterdam, NL
+31 6 10537256