Rombout Frieling loves to tackle challenges of physical interaction.


With a broad interest and expertise ranging from the design of systems, products and interactions to engineering, research and entrepreneurship, Rombout is able to navigate new territory quickly and lead complex processes, integrating rich insights into successful designs.


His clients range from industrial companies such as Merck, Vodafone, KONE, Siemens, Nestlé, P&G and Heineken to universities, city governments and cultural institutions.


Rombout is keen to collaborate and, having worked around the globe, he connects to a large international network. His work has resulted in various products and systems in use by people every day, and has been exhibited at venues like the Venice Biennale.


Rombout started to move in the Netherlands in 1983.


He studied design, engineering and philosophy in Eindhoven, Tilburg and at Stanford University before graduating on 'the choreoraphical potential of design' with commendation and distinction from the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London.


Rombout previously worked with leading design consultancies as well as with usability professor Donald Norman. He co-founded IKAWA coffee and he was creative director of the Intelligent Lighting Institute of Eindhoven University of Technology and Philips, while also directing the GLOW Forum for Light & Architecture. The Royal College of Art appointed Rombout as Dyson Innovation Fellow and he served as external examiner at Design Academy Eindhoven.


When not making, Rombout climbs on skis over mountains or flies a kite over the sea.



GB1018349.9 - Coffee brewing method

GB0885072.2 - A system and method for raising and lowering people

GB0803045.4 - A seat that emerges when someone sits down in it


media (selection)

station of being, financial times, 2020

station of being, wired, 2019

station of being, axis magazine, 2019

station of being, dezeen, 2019

vertical walking, axis magazine, spring 2017

vertiwalk, een alternatief voor traplopen, npo1 national radio, march 2017 (dutch)

vertiwalk live in el homiguero, 2017 (spanish television)

zonder trap of lift naar de eerste verdieping, rd, november 2016 (dutch)

schommellift alternatief voor trap, de ingenieur, december 2016 (dutch)

un ascensor que funciona con tu propio impulso, november 2016, el pais (spanish)

cet ascenseur manuel pourrait replaces les escaliers, le figaro, 2016 (french)

L'invenzione per dire addio alle scale: l'ascensore a braccia, la reppublica, 2016 (italian)

vertical walking prototype, archdaily, october 2016

vertical walking invention, core77, november 2016

forget the stairs, daily mail, november 2016

de gouden toekomst van lichtkunst, financieel dagblad, november 2015 (dutch)

licht in een donkere tunnel, NRC, november 2015 (dutch)

slim licht is de toekomst, NRC, november 2015 (dutch)

now future, vpro dutch national television, october 2014

ikawa coffee roasting machines are set to create a stir, the guardian, may 2014


talks (selection)

philips design hq, eindhoven, 2016

ucsd designlab, san diego, 2015


awards (selection)

designs of the year, design museum london, 2020

creative heroes award, 2019

braun prize nominee, 2009

james dyson innovation fellowship, 2008, 2009

royal college of art selected work, 2008


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© Rombout Frieling lab


Rombout Frieling lab

Kastanjelaan 400

5616LZ  Eindhoven

the Netherlands


+ 31 6 41467059