The latest edition of DDW focused on wider implications of design and delivered with its experimental content.
Considered one of the biggest events on the design calendar, Dutch Design Week (DDW) yet again returned with a thought-provoking theme “If not now, then when?” this year.
At this point, when we are teetering on the edge of no return, awakening calls just won’t do; now’s the time to shake-up the established norms and hierarchies and take charge. This edition of Dutch Design Week was not merely speculative but offered solutions and alternatives through talks that emphasised on the urgencies to enact in order to stall further deterioration of our planet. Moreover, the message carried across by various rhapsodic installations made impactful impressions.
There was plenty of action spilling over more the 100 locations in Eindhoven, with over 2600 designers presenting their path-breaking work. The crowd throughout the week (19th- 27th October) swarmed in to engage in an all-encompassing programme that delved on the latest developments in the field of design. For eight days DDW threw doors open to trailblazing exhibitions, showcasing of biomaterials, launching of technologies and product, talks, awards, and festivities.
This edition sees first of its curated collaborations through DDW Talks – a programme brought together with the partnership of various experts. DDW offered speakers from all ilks, a platform to investigate facets of design. Current affairs, dated reflections presented with thoughts on future innovations, technological advancements, and bio-design solutions were discussed.
Talks categorised in seven relevant themes prompted enquiry, like raising awareness for social issues through ‘The Social Design Talk’, which investigates how designers can positively impact our social fabric.
The Bio-design Talk brought to fore the developments in the field of Bio-design. How the design sector has moved on from bio-mimicry and now boundaries between organisms and objects seem to have blurred. Interpreting the application of bio-design in a physical space, designer Pascal Leboucq in collaboration with Studio Crown Design designed The Growing Pavilion, which is constructed with mycelium – a variety from the mushroom family.
Like every year this year too, a new generation of designers were given an opportunity to shine and put to test their best ideas. At the Antenna Conference, international design graduates from across 5 continents shared inclusive and sustainable design solutions.
The exhibition ‘Rethinking Plastic, design with a mission’ focused on the alarming plastic crisis, and encouraged to opt for low-waste systems. Product options derived from waste, and the latest products made from bio-plastics were showcased.
The showcase delved on innovative sustainable materials and new technologies, like Red Mud, a series of tableware designed by designers at the Royal College of Art in London who transformed an industrial residue derived as the by-product of refining bauxite ore into alumina. Large amount of this fiery substance generally goes unused and the four designers at Royal College of Art are exploring the potential of the substance as a building material too.
Another note-worthy showcase at the event in fact re-used plastic to create surreal forms. French designer Dorian Renard took inspiration from glass-blowers in the Czech Republic, however he replaced glass with plastic. With his modified technique, Renard heated and formed plastic tubes and sheets, to create organic, undulating shapes.
With over 450 events the Dutch Design Week kick-started a debate that allows to break prejudices and move beyond convention, providing enough food for thought to bring in the much-needed change in the design sector. Bringing the enlightened youth in the mix to put together performances, films, talks, workshops and debates, The Arena succeeded in bringing fresh energy to otherwise ego-centric design fairs.
The DDW lives up to its format of being experimental and invited few of the best artists to showcase expressive installations that invoked contemplation on various levels. Studio Drift put-up two interactive installations – a light installation inspired by flock of birds called Flylight, took centre-stage at the Domusdela, a former Monastery and now a cultural complex. Materialism – the bag project, another telling sculptural installation made out of extruded plastic blocks aptly portrayed the over-use and abuse of resources in our lives and the necessity to lead a less resource-intensive lifestyle.
Experimental design studio Rive Roshan created a sensorial experience with its contemporary garden featuring water, glass, sand and sculptures which allowed visitors to have a static mind while letting the senses takeover. Using the reflective quality of water and light, the installation facilitated the visitors to bask in tranquility and ruminate.
The studio also collaborated with Moooi Carpets to produced water patterned and geometric rugs. Rive Roshan studio joined forces with with German start-up Sandhelden, to make collectible stools, chairs and vases out of 3D-printed sand.
The event successfully concluded this year’s edition on 27th October that facilitated an inclusive programme with its meticulously curated talks, displays, exhibits on future living, and introduction of path-breaking products and innovative materials.
Text By Shweta Salvi