How DesignLab helps companies to grow

| Marianne de Beer

DesignLab is not only suitable for study-related projects. A large number of start-ups at the UT use it during the beginning stages of their company. We spoke with three of them to discuss their experiences with DesignLab and how it helped their company to grow.

Photo by: Jellien Tigelaar



SmartMirrors is an electronics and software company that focuses on the development of interactive, intelligent mirrors. It was established in 2016 by Menno Noorlander and Ivar van Wooning. Van Wooning (22, Creative Technology) tells us about how they used DesignLab to develop their product and build their company. ‘DesignLab provided us with our own workspace where we could work on our prototype for four months, as we did not have a suitable place for this ourselves. We used the different tools in the workshop to develop our product and really enjoyed the productive and friendly atmosphere at DesignLab.’

Van Wooning is very positive about the facilities that DesignLab offers: ‘Students usually do not have the means to rent a workspace, so it is really cool that DesignLab offers students a place where they can build their own enterprise. It is also great to be brought into contact with other entrepreneurial students who might want to join your start-up. There is a lot of knowledge in DesignLab, which makes it a really special and inspiring place at the UT.’


Aryzon produces an Augmented Reality headset that offers a lightweight and affordable option to experience the world of augmented reality. It was founded in February 2016, by five Industrial Design students. Maarten Slaa (27), one of the co-founders, tells us that the development of the design of the headset was mainly done in DesignLab. ‘It was really nice to be able to have a spot where we could set up our project, we used the laser cutters at the lab which were very suitable for the material we were using. This enabled us to make a lot of different prototypes. We also really benefited from being in contact with the inspirational and enthusiastic people at DesignLab, this offered us a lot of new opportunities and helped us broaden our network.’ Slaa is optimistic about the future of Aryzon: ‘We are currently very busy with setting up our production, we already have a lot of orders. In the future, we want to make Aryzon a lot bigger and we also want to start selling a more advanced version of our product.’

Tiny Giants

Tiny Giants is a 3D communication studio that empowers brands with animations, concept visualisation, and storytelling. It was founded by four Creative Technology students, whose goal for the future is ‘to work together with NGOs on meaningful projects that create a better world where visual communication breaks cultural, religious and political boundaries.’ – in the words of Arian Hohmann (27). Hohmann, co-founder of Tiny Giants, expressed that DesignLab was a great asset in setting up their company: ‘We do not have a tangible product like most start-ups do, but by being connected to DesignLab network, we could build trust with potential and like-minded clients. It is an incredible network of creative people and businesses collaborating during the diverse events of DesignLab to bring science to design for society. These events create the possibility for start-ups and established businesses to mingle and create awesome things together.' 

You can read more stories about DesignLab in the special DesignLab Science2Design4Soceity.