Creative Director Lifestyle Trends, Philips Design
In October the city of Eindhoven, the Netherlands was once again the epicenter of design during the annual Dutch Design Week (DDW) event. In the annual DDW Trend Book, Zuzanna Skalska highlights the undeniable presence of craft and artisanship. These factors are a contrast in a world that is dominated by the digital and virtual. It seems that designers of today are less interested in the technology as such, or are at least less mentioning it less. It is either fully integrated in their work, therefore not noticeable, or even neglected. This underlines a change in generations – generation D(igital) born after 1995, sees technology to be as natural as breathing.
Bart Hess invited visitors to co-create extremely labor intensive ‘fabrics’. People could sit at long metal installations and craft needles and drops of liquid rubber into creations that would eventually be sold to fashion designer Thierry Mugler and W Magazine.
Mark Sturkenboom exhibited intriguing low or non-tech objects like 21 Grams, a memory-box that allows a widow to go back to the intimate memories of a lost beloved one, like smell and sound.
Ya-Ling Hsiao wrote a letter to the director of the Design Academy, which was presented at the Graduation show. She apologized for what might have been caused by her behavior, describing the unbearable lightness of being a designer and the misunderstanding of the design community. Being bored with design, she just wanted to celebrate life. A brave statement that makes us think of what design entitles and what it does not.
What strikes me the most is this urge to understand. Many designers showed projects related to research. Not really working towards something that will be in the shape of a product, but a quest to learn and explore. The C-Fabriek, located at the Schellens factory in the centre of Eindhoven, presented 14 low-tech production lines establishing the New Factory. From food converters to shaping sugar, they all showed a process of transformation where the journey is maybe much more interesting than the outcome.
This non-finished process and numerous trials gives us a glimpse of what the future might be. From a finished state where flexibility and updates are more and more difficult to do, to a constant beta state where you are allowed to make mistakes, learn and try again. It is again about making statements and questioning issues in life.
November 13, 2012