Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, is absolutely one of the most important design events of the year. With hundreds of students, workshops and independent designers – this is a hub of creativity and non-commercial thoughts. This is where you find experiments that does not necessarily reach the marked but the ideas are ever so challenging. Dutch Design Week is idea driven, not product driven – at least for 2019.
2019 is an interesting year. Threat of Brexit, sustainability, possible recession, anti-consumerism… The list goes on. During times like these, you could possibly expect that young designers would be waiting, passive, taking a step back, coccooning, go into details on craft – but no. Dutch Design Week with it’s main core on students from Design Academy of Eindhoven, if full of life and new ideas.
I am not using the word “optimism” because that is not necessarily the outcome of these student work. Not optimism – but change. Absolutely a challenging and changing time.
As a report from this event I will focus on the ideas and let’s start with the idea that we aren’t interested in new products or new objects.
The concept of having designers skip the object and focus on something else, isn’t completely new. We have had talks about service design etc. But everyone in Eindhoven was talking about the lack of objects. Everyone. I met galleries and shop owners standing with their faces blank… What should they bring back to Paris or Amsterdam?
At exhibitions in the city we could see installations like these by Giulia Soldati. An installation about eating food with your body. This I also saw at the Food exhibition in London this summer. Who needs plates in the future?
Who needs furniture?
Among the masters I talked to Lariane Heim. She had made her masters about grief and how the body can learn how to handle grief. The monotomy in building, destructing, reconstructing is kind of a meditation.
And this project where the idea is more important than the product is evident amoung young designers. Noone is talking office or work space. Maybe we wont be working in the future. Or collect things? And there was no real craft stories. Some of course, but the concept is to look for “new”, And this project by Lariane is very typical of this generation. Nothing you can buy, or bring home. You need to participate. And it is more on your mental state than status.
With irony and tongue in cheek, bachelor Boris Brucher had his project about the Instagrammable home. How to get a beautiful home? Well just throw a fabric over it and it will look like an expensive design piece. Of course the most photographed installation among the students.
I am quite sure that next year’s big question in our society will be mental wellness (or lack of). Here is a collection of toys to help you stay mentally healthy. Yes, we are not talking about getting better at mathematics or crosswords. The focus is on mental illness and curing that. By Varvara Lazareva.
These kind of projects tend to get a bit “gadgety” but still a sign of our times. By Guntra Laivacuma.
On town there was an exhibition by Polish design students and they were also focusing a lot on mental health. Here tools or toys to stimulare empathy.
Simple games where you walk about family and heritage rather than objects.
Design for public space where the same non-materialistic attitude is visiable at Weeping Wall in Jerusalem. By Nivi Lehavi.
Or what it feels like to be a non married woman in Korean culture. By Jae Jang.
Sustainability is still on the agenda. Of course. Sun Lee made a fashion collection out of paper and classical Korean traditions.
Kodai Shimizu made a collection of electrical devices. He made them easy to overlook so you can repair them yourself and thereby give them a longer life.
Ance Janevica made a beautiful collection of items so that we can pollinate flowers now when the bees are threatened.
A super cute project was this. Coral reefs are dying so why not get the kids to help build a sand castle reef that actually helps the marine life. By Amenda Kelders.
Matteo Viviano made building and construction materials that enables plants to grow on them.
But other the sustainable question is absolutely manifested in finding new materials or using waste. Here glazing by Seok-Hyeon Yoon.
What can you do with bottom ash, the most toxic ash? Carissa Ten Tije.
Also working with bottom ash. Not a student work, but from the city. Studio Mixtura.
Sustainable confetti. Not a student work. Saatgutkonfetti.
Making new materials of coffee grind. Polish design student Marek Kuzminski.
In the city there are always interesting exhibitions on waste and design. Here above bricks made of recycled plastics.
Masks of recycled plastics by Piet Hein Eek
Ending this report with some favourites that doesn’t necessarily fit the “no products” or “sustainable” topics. Here a student who made fances but in a new more beautiful way. What does the fence protect you from? Billy Ernst.
Danish textile designer made fabrics that you could scan and they would tell you a story. Julie Helles Eriksen.
This is my favourite. Jenni Maier made kitchen utensils that “leak” and give us minerals when being used.
I really liked this faucet where you kan put your things on the shelf. By Paulina Neiser
At Piet Hein Eek I found this light installation. Gorgeous. By Scheublin & Lindeman
Also beautiful. My crew in Eindhoven Holly and Eric.