Nik Baerten is a designer at Pantopicon, and in 2013, he worked on Mobilotoop, an on-top project by Flanders In Shape and Design Platform Vlaanderen. Mobilotoop was a policy design project, aimed at thinking about mobility in Flanders in 2040, by way of co-creative methods and open design principles.

As a studio for forward studies and design, Pantopicon shaped and supervised the process, in addition to contributing some knowledge of future developments. In the three two-day workshops, a team of young designers, users and other stakeholders, explored ideas. The result was an ecosystem idea, in which the relations between stakeholders were repositioned, something which could form an incentive for further discussion.


“We succeeded in coming up with new possibilities which, admittedly, were too different from the usual for some stakeholders. For example, there was a bicycle manufacturer who was suddenly confronted with a situation in which he no longer supplied an end-product, but in which the components would be delivered to a ‘prosumer’ (producer/consumer). That’s contrary to the idea of a monoculture principle.”

System design

“Through open design principles, we thought about how components could be freely used, making them exchangeable. Whereas now car manufacturers still dominate, marketing a kind of black box, which only they can tinker with, we started thinking about building blocks which everyone can use. The contribution to this was the ecosystem idea in which you, as a user, are also at the same time a co-producer or supplier of services. In that sense, we laid the foundations for a new vision of both mobility, and the designing of it.”