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Elle Decor Italia

Dutch Design Week, the 7 ideas with which design will save the world

From the basalt-made jacket to the concept for a new Wall Street, the best of experimental design seen at the Dutch Design Week 2017


Recolored by Jessica Den Hartog aims at giving back to plastic its colorful qualities after the recycling process - photo © Jessica Den Hartog, courtesy of the Dutch Design Week

“Can designers save the world?”, asked journalist Marcus Fair in the series of talks entitled “Good Design for a Bad World” that took place in Eindhoven on the occasion of the Dutch Design Week 2017.

A difficult task that yet was taken up with militancy, optimism and an unshakeable faith in science by many creatives of the DDW 2017. We selected the 7 ideas that better show us how to face a near future dominated by material scarcity, pollution, food issues and much more.

The research conducted by the Dutch-Italian Yeelen Tavilla, a graduate of the Academie Artemis, explores natural materials from Sicily - from lava to sansa - through porcelain and textile - photo © Yeelen Tavilla

Experimenting with raw and natural materials - with the hope of finding natural alternatives to synthetic materials that pollute - seems to constitute the red thread of many contemporary researches.

For instance the students of the Bauhaus University of Weimar presented a series of six radical projects at Veem (Strijp Area), among which were the raincoat made of biodegradable paper by Luzie Deubel, the jacket made of basalt by Anja Zachau and Jakob Kukula, and the set of textiles produced by Freya Probst by weaving plant roots.


Made of Rock is a jacket made of basalt designed by Anja Zachau and Jakob Kukula - photo © Anja Zachau and Jakob Kukula, courtesy of the Dutch Design Week

Inge Sluijs presented Plasma Rock - in reference to the homonymous mixture of waste that is broken down to its atomics elements and then fused together - as part of the exhibition by United Matters. “We humans have had a dominant influence on the climate and environment. So, it’s time to delete our traces [...] and transform them into a new purpose!”, underlines the designer, who with Plasma Rock tackles the issue of material waste and open-air landfills and suggests new ways to use the big amount of rubbish that we produce.

The Dutch designer Inge Sluijs conducts field researches in one of the 1655 coastal landfills of the UK - photo © Ruzena Vakulenko, courtesy of United Matters

Plasma Rock, the upcycled tiles conceived by Inge Sluijs - photo © Ruzena Vakulenko, courtesy of United Matters

Plastic - according to Dutch designer Dave Hakkens - was actually invented to solve the issue of ivory trade, but actually became an even bigger threat to the planet. With more and more plastic being poured into the natural environment, finding alternatives is now urgent. This is why Hakkens came up with “Precious Plastic version 3”, a replicable service that allows communities all over the world to set up their own workshop to recycle plastic and create new “valuable items”. Fitting in an old shipping container, the concept - which includes a storing area for material, a working space and a shop - is a call for a global open source movement that shall encourage alternative enterprises to blossom all over.


The machine developed by Dutch designer Dave Hakkens allows different types of plastic to be recycled - photo © Dave Hakkens

On the same path is the Wall Street initiative. Claiming that “the economy as we know it is a myth created by economists”, third-year students of the Fontys Academy for Art, Communication and Design of Tilburg - together with Dutch designers Lucas Maassen and Philip Stroomberg - set up a new Wall Street right in the city center. Exploring alternative economic models, the students came up with a speculative exhibition-performance-restaurant where visitors could experience a series of money-related projects. From a vending machine that distributed old plates to a jukebox that contained real people singing, the exhibition wished to underline the importance of an economy based on exchanges among real people.


Views of the exhibition Wall Street - photo courtesy Dutch Design Week

Food is an important element of the changing-the-world equation. Positioning herself between food activism and design, Marije Vogelzang curated a new exhibition at the Embassy of Food - a large greenhouse sheltering a series of projects that questioned the future of agriculture and food, from mushrooms to algae.

From left to right: Plant15 is a vegetarian sausage made of mushrooms and developed by Dutch food design studio Botanic Bites - photo courtesy Dutch Design Week; Anna Diljá Sigurðardóttir and Sorrel Madley’s A Future for Fish project proposes a vegetal alternative to fish - photo © Anna Diljá Sigurðardóttir and Sorrel Madley

Among the ideas featured were a meat-free sausage by food design studio Botanic Bites, a didactical egg-game by Food Curators, a vegetarian fish by Anna Diljá Sigurðardóttir and Sorrel Madley and an algae bar by Marije Vogelzang herself.












by Laura Drouet & Olivier Lacrouts / 30 October 2017


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