Design in the flatlands reached new heights at this year's Dutch Design Week. With events and openings taking place on every horizon, all the major cities from Amsterdam to Rotterdam had something to offer, while smaller destinations including Enkhuizen and Utrecht upped their design ante for the occasion too.
The hub of the festival of course is Eindhoven, the city where it all began nine years ago, also home to the Design Academy, whose degree show still forms the central attraction.
Showcasing nearly 150 new graduate works, the Design Academy Eindhoven this year put on an impressive exhibition. Curated and designed by tutors Ilse Crawford and Piet Hein Eek, the pieces featured thought-provoking titles, such as 'Products Can Fertilize Each Other', 'Eco Friendly Fur is Possible', 'A Lampshade to Dignify Dust' and 'Nature Is Crawling Across Your House'.
Piet Hein Eek, meanwhile, also had his own business to attend to. Physically, and in other ways, his new 10,000 sqm space was easily the biggest news of the week, opening its doors for the first time in the former Philips ceramics factory at Strijp R. Here, the entire design process, from conception to sales and distribution, takes place under one roof.
A phenomenal undertaking, refurbishment and adaptation of the old building was completed in just six months. Now a concept store like no other, visitors can not only see Piet Hein Eek's furniture being made, but also visit showcases and in-situ studios of his favourite ex-interns and students-turned-designers. Not only that, but they can shop in a well-equipped and eclectic concept store, which stretches across the premises, and eat in a spacious café restaurant - the bar of which is built from pipes reclaimed from the factory's Philips days.
Over in Amsterdam meanwhile, the forefather of Dutch design, Droog, prepared for the opening of new hotel, Home At Droog, and in Rotterdam, Vivid Gallery inaugurated its dramatic new space on the ground floor of the Kees Christiaanse-designed, Red Apple building.
Having long been curious about the institution responsible for uncovering some of Holland's hottest talents, such as Kiki & Joost and Scholten & Baijings, Wallpaper* also satisfied a long held ambition to pay a visit to the Zuiderzee Museum in Enkhuizen. Though a little out of the way, we can report that it is well worth the train ride.
The museum's new show, titled 'Emmi+Gijs+Aldo', is an inspiring collection featuring objects from the designer family that is Emmy van Leersum, Gijs Bakker and Aldo Bakker, all juxtaposed with old examples from its own archives. We knew Dutch design was going places, but now thanks to Zuiderzee Museum, we know where it is coming from too.