My route during this year’s edition of Dutch Design Week included, in this order, the exhibitions Robot Love and Graduation Show at Campina Melkfabriek, Manifestations – Will the Future Design Us? and NeoBio, A Vision on the Influence of Biotech on Product Design both at Veem | Floor 9, Augmented Nature, Mind the Step and Embassy of Circularity all located at Klokgebouw, and The New Newsroom situated at MU.
The New Newsroom exhibition poses two leading questions I am most fascinated about:
“How Can We Use the Power of Digital Technology, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Social Media to Create Exciting, Meaningful Content? And How Do We Engage with the News on a Personal Level?”
Since print press we have come a long way. Today, unnoticed, we are completely submerged in media, from news apps, to videos, podcasts, social media feeds and VR.
With surprising findings, “Pics” or “It Didn’t Happen” is a project by Arvida Byström & Molly Soda that collects photographs that were banned from Instagram. Also unexpected was Arthur Boer & Boris Smeenk built machine that uses a deep learning algorithm to study existing Instagram accounts and generate content in real time.
Inspired by the successful 99% Invisible US podcast on design, Tjitske Mussche & Laura Stek (VPRO) created their own Dutch version that explores how meticulously designed our surroundings are – from playgrounds to traffic lights.
“Mobile Journalism” by Jim Brady invites the viewer to try on a VR headset and explore a news scene firsthand. The result is an extremely personal experience of the news much unlike other media is likely to give today.
Also addressing many of today’s needs, Mind the Step presents technology-based designs from three Dutch Universities of Technology – TU Delft, TU/e, and Twente University. This presentation is clustered around topics ranging from smart mobility, to growing patterns, health and wellbeing, home and leisure, improving our professional environment and innovative materials.
Houses made of 3D concrete, pigments produced from bacteria for the textile industry, a shoe sole that incorporates mechanical metamaterials to adapt dynamically to each individual, Zeeland mussels as circular material for 3d printing or, aerodynamic studies on the best racing configuration for professional cyclists, all projects focus on how can technology continue to ease and support human life.
Light Sit by Bin Yu, Xipei Ren and Biyong Zhang includes a sensor that monitors, visualizes and helps improve our breathing patterns within a smart workplace.
Chaise Longue by Arwin Hidding, Henriette Bier, Patrick Teuffel, Qing Wang and Sennatore Gennaro is a 3D printed chair, with variable stiffness and an adaptive structure that morphs into a bed by leaning against it.
Embassy of Circularity is where a lively series of ABN AMRO ‘E-talks’ on circularity takes place. More than simply exploring the idea of reusing raw materials for longer periods and more frequently, this hall discusses circular economy in its full spectrum – from circular materials, to products, systems, processes, behaviors and collaborations. From circular cement, to services like Swapfiets and Snappcar, the reuse of existing resources in new ways combines both sustainability and economy.
Simone Post has developed an interesting recycling project with Vlisco, a company that exports high-end textiles to Africa, by turning the company’s textile waste into new carpets, which are unique for their colour combinations and striking look.
In the main square, Joris Laarman and MX3D 12-metre-long 3D-printed steel bridge, that will be installed in Amsterdam in 2019, is on display. It combines design, an innovative material application and data-centric engineering. An integrated smart sensor network monitors the condition of the bridge.
Also the Graduation Show displayed works that are much attuned with today’s social and cultural concerns, from gender, to technology, sustainability, climate change, supply chain processes, automation, etc.
Thomas Woltmann has created a formula that directly visualizes and quantifies the amount of sourced material in relation to the distance a product has travelled. A reflection on the consumers’ increasing demand for a transparent and responsible supply chain, the formula helps consumers gain knowledge about the origin of the employed materials.
Letting the laws of nature dictate the design is an old idea. Nando Dolleman‘s playful experiments with small-scale models of metal frames that get dipped into soapy water reveal a chairs’ unique shape. Be it the law of physics or happenstance, Dolleman translates the “found’ shape by stretching textiles over large frames.
Sarah Brunnhuber creates eccentricity within uniformity. She has created a limited set of four different shapes produced in fabrics that reference uniforms: plain crisp cottons in blue and white, rigid navy blue and a static beige. Through a system of buttons and holes all pieces can be connected by the user at her own whim, who in this way has the complete freedom to create her own clothing.
Also, Tachisse De Beun brings an unexpected reflection on fashion. ‘Safety is a Luxury’ is a collection of protective knits for ordinary citizens. Ballistic panels are integrated into clothing through a variety of double knitting techniques, structures and layers.
In the area of sound, Cas van Son creates instruments that are not new in themselves but now allow everyone to easily experience jamming together, regardless of their musical education and ability. Tessa Spierings has created a soundscape that makes acoustics visible and tactile. By fitting tubes of various materials and dimensions onto 3D printed speakers, each sound has its own character.
At Dutch Design Week, the plurality of designs, materials and concepts are as varied as the wide scope of social, economical and political issues we are concerned with today.
Interesting reads are the daily blog on Dutch Design Week published by the Volkskrant and 10 Tips voor Dutch Design Week 2018 by VPRO.