Dutch Design WeekWritten by Kostas Konstantinou 9 November 2021
Dutch Design Week (DDW) is the largest event of its kind in northern Europe; bringing together the ideas and innovations of more than 2,600 designers. The event offers a platform for established designers, entrepreneurs and young graduate talent to exhibit their work and creative visions for the future of design. Be it sustainable and innovative design or just unadulterated aesthetics, this is the place where creativity meets the everyday.
From spaghetti furniture to breathing coffins and edible beetroot paint; the 1HQ Netherlands team jumped at the chance to visit Eindhoven and explore all on offer; both the weird and the wonderful.
As expected, sustainability was a key focus. By taking plastic waste products and turning them into statement-making jewellery, Filip Stanislavskis demonstrated a clear message that plastic is forever, drawing a comparison between diamonds and plastic! We discovered simple, ‘can’t believe it’s not been done before’, closed-loop initiatives such as the REX chair (inviting consumers to return the chair instead of disposing it, for a small refund) learned we can turn pollution into an art form (permeance) and discovered a multitude of new biobased materials to build with.
Following COVID-19, many designers at the event focused on the physical and mental impacts of COVID-19 on the body. One of the whackier exhibits, Future Affair, saw us getting involved in an immersive research experience that recreates the feeling of human touch using soft robotic hands; without taboo or the threat of infection.
As well as some of the more headline-grabbing exhibits, it was nice to see modern interpretations utilising classic design and manufacturing techniques such as basket-weaving, tapestry and glass blowing. These glass water bottles by Juliana Maurer were a firm favourite with the team for combining beauty with function – each piece is uniquely moulded, using the thermodynamic properties of the stone underneath to keep your water cool and your dinner guests envious.
The ambition and initiatives demonstrated at the event highlights the requirement to nurture, encourage and fund our creatives, not only to make the world a more beautiful place, but to help improve it for future generations. Exploring new ways of interaction and relationships between product and consumer will enable creative practices to move forward towards a sustainable and simultaneously considerate way without sacrificing on aesthetics.