It’s back and it’s bigger than ever. Dutch Design Week 2022 marked the festival’s 20th anniversary and featured the work of over 2,600 designers in events, exhibitions and venues across town, many of them repurposed industrial buildings relating to the railways or dating back to the era when light bulb manufacturer Philips had its heyday in Eindhoven.
This year’s theme – ‘Get Set’ – was a response to much of humanity’s addiction to growth and consumerism and referenced our global need to spring into action, change ways of thinking and develop products that stimulate change. It was also about preparing for the economic and environmental crises and challenges ahead. As new creative director Miriam van der Lubbe, who has taken over from predecessor Martijn Paulen, says: ‘We must forge smart coalitions and work together on the missions and the challenges we’re facing. Be prepared and recognise what is going on. Feel involved. But the most important message is that people must get activated.’
This year’s Dutch Design Week ambassadors were former Wallpaper* Design Awards winners, Solar Designer Marjan van Aubel and Italian design duo Formafantasma. Van Aubel showed her Sunne solar lights in a poetic installation that moved through different cycles of the day (sunrise, light and sunset) and in something called the ‘Solar Pavilion’, a large outdoor pavilion designed alongside V8Architects, where energy and heat were generated on-site using highly aesthetic solar panels. Formafantasma’s contribution to the event was a symposium where they also presented some of the first graduates from the Geo-Design course they oversee at the Design Academy Eindhoven.
Dutch Design Week 2022: the Wallpaper* highlights
RENS is a research-based design studio from Eindhoven that instigates products and projects in which colour in all its guides plays a key role. The studio works on its own collections and interior products but also collaborates with brands and labels. For this year’s DDW they created a series of new ‘glass ensembles’ combining glass sheets into innovative contemporary designs in unexpected and alluring shades and hues. They also launched new colour glazes for their re-glow tiles (existing tiles given a new lease of life with new colours) produced in collaboration with Dutch ceramics manufacturer Cor Unum. The tiles are now also available with magnetic backing so can be turned into wall pieces, side tables and decorative cubes whose colours can be changed and updated.
Piet Hein Eek, Strijp-R
Bricks in the digital era
Recent technological developments by Dutch brick manufacturer Rodruza means it can now bring a digital image to a brick surface. The company recently joined forces with phygital designers Studio Groovido to explore what bricks could look like in the digital era. The collaboration was showcased in PROPHECIES OF DUST, an immersive installation featuring a shelf, a bench and stools as well as decorative items all adorned with coloured pigments and glazes that gave lightness, movement and personality to the humble brick.
TAC (Temporary Art Centre)
Fashion for furniture
The influential Design Academy Eindhoven showed its graduation projects in a former telephone exchange building to great effect. The projects looked at everything from environmental, migration and gender issues to colonialism and political activism. A lot of the pieces also majored on our relationship with people and the world in an era defined by over-digitalisation and isolation (a lot of it a byproduct of Covid-19 restrictions). Josefine Andersen’s playful BA graduation project ‘Mono do (a) wear’ (pictured) examined our relationship to clothing by designing a series of garments that could also dress the home; a coat that turns into a cover for a cupboard in the evening, a blouse that becomes a curtain. Andersen’s hope is that if we build meaningful and lasting relationships with our personal belongings we will no longer want to throw them away.
‘The collection is’ at Van Abbe Museum
This exhibition – which brings together artworks from the museum’s permanent collection with pieces from trend forecaster, design educator and curator Li Edelkoort’s design collection, that the museum is set to acquire – explores the ties between visual art and design in a bid to remove the separation and hierarchies between the two fields.
Over 10 beautifully and poetically laid out rooms in the old building, visitors are invited to look at objects pieced together and references ideas and themes such as playfulness, political engagement, loneliness, the relationship with the countryside, and death. The design pieces are by the likes of Maarten Baas, Jurgen Bey, Nacho Carbonell, Atelier NL, Piet Hein Eek, Hella Jongerius and Studio Job.
Van Abbemuseum, Statumsedijk 2, until November 6 2022
'De Zachte Stad' by Christien Meindertsma
Dutch designer Christien Meindertsma, who has been working with wool for almost two decades, was invited by the municipality of Rotterdam two years ago to look into the possibilities offered by the wool of a flock of some 2,000 sheep owned by the city and used to keep the grass short in certain areas. In a bid to be as circular as possible, they wanted to do something with the 5,000 kg of wool the sheep produce a year. The fact that there is no longer an industry for washing, sorting and spinning wool in the Netherlands meant Meindertsma had to go to the UK to find out how the wool could be treated and what it could be turned into. It turned out to be suitable for making blankets, jumpers, hats, furniture upholstery, car interiors, felt sound insulation for walls and much more.
During the research, Meindertsma also discovered how to machine 3D felt out of wool without using water. This innovation means larger objects can be created out of wool without the use of environmentally harmful foam rubber, for example. The project aims to instigate the creation of a home-grown wool industry and give value to local wool, something another Dutch designer, Claudy Jongstra, has been working on for many years also (the company she co-founded, Weved, is showing a lounger made out of discarded local wool at Piet Hein Eek this year).
Microlab Hall, Strijp-S
The Rolls Chair by Rob Parry and Nel
‘The most beautiful chair never produced’ is the way 97-year-old designer Rob Parry describes the Rolls Chair. One of the most influential Dutch designers of the 21st century, Parry, who was a student of Gerrit Rietveld and worked in the fields of industrial design, typography, interior design and architecture, is best known for the red PTT letterbox he designed with colleague Emile Truijen.
Innovative local manufacturer Nel has brought the chair into production in collaboration with Parry and is showing it at Piet Hein Eek’s studios during Dutch Design Week. The chair is sustainably produced in the Netherlands of high-quality and responsible materials, such as fabric from recycled woollen jumpers, chrome-free tanned leather from organically-reared cows and woollen fabrics from Kvadrat.
Piet Hein Eek, Strijp-R
‘Ordinary Miracles’ by Rive Roshan
Design duo Rive Roshan created a mesmerising installation for Dutch Design Week this year that takes its cue from natural phenomena and plays with notions of perspective, perception and reflection. ‘Ordinary Miracles’, as it is titled, shows new sculptural pieces by the studio and a new collection of rugs made in collaboration with Moooi that feature geometric circles, ovals and square patterns. Designers Ruben de la Rive Box and Golnar Roshan play with material, light, shadow, reflection and movement in a bid to make people look and act more consciously, carefully and thoughtfully in their surrounding environment and in their everyday activities. Above all, though functional, the pieces are designed to make people happy.
LOADS 040, Aalsterweg 145
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