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Last updated on Juni 17, 2021

We had a wonderful afternoon at Katja’s Mindshake House. Should I conjure an ideal space for design thinking and collaboration, this would be it. Katja is a design person through and through, even if she has long moved from „only“ teaching design at ESAD (Escola Superior de Artes e Design), where she was a professor for Design Theory and Design Methodology.

Mindshake House is a creative heaven. Beautifully designed with a lot of attention to every detail. The choice of fresh colours are a reflexion of the Portuguese sun and the sea, the walls make the house an entire white board, flexible furniture keep mind and soul agile. And then there is the beautiful light, the exquisite kitchen table which you can write and draw on, because the surface is made from slate, the masterpiece of a light blue armchair with the removable white eye, the lovingly upcycled wardrobe, etc. etc.

We found out that we have a few things in common: For example, she studied in Münster, like me: Katja kept herself busy with Romanic and German language and literature, I did English language studies and History, right next door. Somewhere along the line, she did her PhD in Design, by then already living in Portugal. After her studies and one year on the way in Barcelona, she went to Porto and got a job at the German Goethe Institute, I worked for the Goethe Institute in Madrid. Now she has been living in Portugal for 31 years, having two daughters (same age as my older kids) and working as a consultant and trainer for Mindshake, her company, and as a guest lecturer and researcher at the University of Porto and other academic institutions.

Katja wants her work to be sustainable – economically and in every other respect. And still, even after a year of relative scarcity during the pandemic, she invests her energy in a collaborative project. Because Katja is a creator and a generous mind. Nothing made me feel that I was, in fact, a relative stranger who was just bumping into her workspace. I felt invited, instead, and was provided with coffee, first, and a glass of port wine, later. Besides, she gave me a copy of one of her co-creatively written books, The Creativity Virus – A Book about and for Creative Thinking (2019). Because, once a year, she does a co-creative project with like-minded people and compiles a book. It’s fun, not only to read, but to scribble, draw, write and think, too. (And available for purchase, I would like to add.)

Her third book is in the making, now. The other two are available here. Dear Katja, I felt truly inspired by your Mindshake House and your hospitality. You’re half Portuguese, anyway, the boyz (Pedro and Hugo) say…

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