ten tips for DDW 2015

Jonathan Maas, Leonieke Verhoog, Yasmin Wegman en Willem van Zeeland ,

Urine candles, a walking ball pit and polar bear ice-cream: the craziest, most fabulous and most talked-about from Dutch Design Week 2015.

10 Things, the VPRO claim, you cannot afford to miss.

allegory of the south

Allegory of the South in the Augustijnenker

Atelier Van Asseldonk drew inspiration from the cheerful dining scenes depicted in the paintings in the Augustijnenkerk, by Jan Steen and Pieter Breugel, for their attractive interior for the church. For the whole of Dutch Design Week this will form the splendid backdrop for festive lunches and dinners. This entourage is intended to resurrect the atmosphere of bygone days. You take your place at long tables, where you engage in animated conversations with the people sitting next to you, even though you do not know them. Checking your smartphone is strictly forbidden. The food is of the highest calibre, prepared by chef Dick Middelweerd from the restaurant De Treeswijkhoeve (2 Michelin stars) in Waalre. He prepares his dishes with regional products and even the flowers, which are here in abundance, come from the region. Everywhere you look you see exceptional and weird design objects, like a candle stick oxidized with urine. It stands happily in the middle of the dining table. Dinner costs 150 Euro including drinks and almost all the seats are reserved. But don’t despair, outside there is a market that is part of this Allegory of the South. Small dishes are served here, and naturally the traditional Brabant sausage roll is available.

Location: Paterskerk, Tramstraat 37
Open daily until 25 October, 11:00-00:00 hours

de modebelofte

A sewn horse between your legs

Huh, fashion in a football stadium? The world of testosterone, beer and football hooligans does not seem like the most obvious place to showcase avant-garde fashion. But as this year’s theme is sportswear, Modebelofte (fashion promise) curators Niek Pulles and Harm Rensink are very happy with the Philips stadium (PSV home turf) as a place to show work by the 42 (!) fashion designers they selected. Divided over six tunnels we see work from international up & coming designers from the London Royal College of Art, Central Saint Martens, the Dutch Rietveld Academy, ArtEZ and the Taiwan fashion academy – to name but a few. What do we see? Think walking ball pits, trousers with a sewn horse between the legs and a gruesome bright red dress made from silicon poured onto the floor that has subsequently been torn apart, which evokes associations with blood.

Some designers have already been snapped up and are now employed by corporate giants such as Nike (Charlotte Grace, here with a wearable suit made from parachute fabric combined with knitwear) or Louis Vuitton (Matty Bovan, here with avant-garde, not particularly wearable work that somewhat resembles stitched together rubbish from a bin – but then cool!) – from which you can deduct that there is no set recipe for a young designer to make it. Except for having to come up with distinctive work that stands out, and that goes for all the work here. Also striking: many masks and other forms of concealment, to protect yourself against the busy outside world and against the continuous pressure from social media.
Location: Philips Stadium, Frederiklaan 10
Open daily until 25 October from 11:00 to 21:00 hours


Looking for an alternative revenue model

In Dadabase in the OXI exhibition Govert Flint explores a new revenue model for designers. A visitor’s face is scanned by a camera upon arrival, and age, gender and race are recognized by the software. The system can also detect the visitor’s emotion: are you surprised or shocked by a work of art or does it not mean anything to you? This data is valuable. On the internet, data mining like this is already applied on a large scale, but in the physical world not so often yet. And that while trend watchers would pay good money if they knew what visual language, style or colours were going to be popular in a particular section of the population. This research is on show at Sectie C, the sparkling incubator for Dutch Design Week, where 180 creative entrepreneurs, artisans and artists open the doors of their studios to the public. Pay the OXI exhibition curated by Justine Kontou a visit and contribute towards the designer becoming self-supporting.

Location: Sectie C, Daalakkersweg 2-8
Open daily until 25 October from 12/14:00 to 21:00 hours

de kazerne

Open Ended - Lidewij Edelkoort

Lidewij Edelkoort, possibly the most important trend watcher in the world, became the director of the Design Academy in Eindhoven in 1999. This was also the time when Philips moved its head office from Eindhoven to Amsterdam. But Lidewij appeared to be a game changer. She turned the Design Academy into a world-famous institute and the Dutch Design Week, in the former Philips factories, became an international crowd-puller. But Edelkoort left Eindhoven in 2008 after a row. Now she is back with an exhibition of her own design collection in De Kazerne. It has become design from another era, the time of art design or autonomous design, not the socially engaged design that predominates these days. It is more about art here than about functionality, with many chairs that are not intended for sitting. But it is a beautiful loving collection from by-now leading designers who were embraced by Lidewij as young talents. If you are in De Kazerne anyway, check out the 3D-printed shoes that are exhibited there. You can try them on too.  

Location: de Kazerne, Paradijslaan 2-8
Open daily until 25 October from 11:00 to 00:00 hours

graduation show

Graduation Show Design Academy Eindhoven

Refugee crisis, financial crisis, climate crisis… The world seems to succumb to misery sometimes. Do you want to regain positivity and get the feeling it will be alright with the world: do go to the graduation show

You will find: young, newly graduated designers with innovative ideas and solutions or simply out-of-the-box ideas for complex social matters. Like the refugee problem for instance. The Limbo Embassy by Manon van Hoeckel is a neutral meeting place where ambassadors, village residents, passers-by and civil servants are invited to enter conversation – a space for an equal dialogue, debate and cultural exchange instead of another polarised debate in a news programme.

Some problems seem small but can have major impact, such as incorrect posture when working at your computer in your workspace. Designer Jeffrey Heiligers has found a solution: shirts that are uncomfortable when you are sitting in the wrong position. With the correct posture for your body, the fabric fits comfortably around your body, so that you are automatically corrected in the right direction. So don’t think orthopaedic sandal look or support stockings; no, Heiligers’ designs are clean-cut and fashionable and turn you personally into the new black.
Location: Graduation show Dutch Design Academy, deWitteDame, Emmasingel 14
Open daily until 25 October. 

Saturday 17 October from 13:00 to 18:00 hours, other days from 11:00 hours to 18:00 hours, Thursday 22, Friday 23 and Saturday 24 October open until 20:00 hours.

collective [ir]rationality

Studio Knol researches mass behaviour

How docile are you? Do you follow the crowds or do you take your own path? You are confronted with these questions the moment you come in. Three gates: above every gate there is a designer name. Do you go through the gate with the long queue? Or do you choose the gate you can simply walk through?

After this choice you end up in a labyrinth, a game that tests your docility each time. But also your playfulness. Do you sneakily press the button or not? Or do you slip under the gate after everyone’s endless loitering? Your choices are closely watched and are part of the research by Studio KNOL in the MU. What makes all those thousands of people traipse through Eindhoven during DDW? Which way do they go, are they led or do they choose their own path? Undergo it at the Ketelhuisplein and be confronted with your own flock-like behaviour. 
Location: Torenallee 40-06, Strijp-S
Open daily until 25 October from 11:30 to 18:00 hours

Meat lamp & salmon leather

bioart laboratories & playing life in veemgebouw

Algae lamps, fungi chairs and insect bioplastic – quite a lot of biotech has been on show at Dutch Design Week in the last few years. This year too, centred on the Veemgebouw’s eighth floor in the BioArt Laboratories exhibition. 

The most eye-catching we thought was Isaac Monte’s meat lamp, a design piece focused on food wastage. Monte collected meat that supermarkets dump because it is past its sell-by date, extracted the cell material from it, to eventually end up with a structure resembling marble. He subsequently turned this into a lamp in the form of the E. Coli bacterium, a bacterium that, when found in large quantities, spoils meat. If your stomach is not already churning from the mere thought of this bacteria, see if you can take a bite of Carolien Schulze’s mealworm snack (she will be deep-frying them to order on Sunday the 18th and Saturday the 24th of October, on other days you will have to make do with a visual presentation of her work).

On the other side of the same space you can see the exhibition Playing Life by Transnatural
, which depicts the (future) world of design with living materials – just like bio art at the cutting edge of art and science. A highlight: salmon leather by Nienke Hoogvliet, research into the possibility of developing materials from organic waste products from the sea, like fish skin for example. When fish skin is processed using time honoured tanning methods, it takes on the same qualities as that of pig skin or cow leather. A benefit: there are no scary chemicals involved in this process. It looks really cool and it does not smell of fish. We cannot understand why this is not produced on a large scale. 
Location: Veemgebouw, Torenallee 80
Open daily until 25 October from 11:00 to 18:00 hours

age of wonderland

clay cookies by arie syarifud

In many countries eating clay is quite normal. Healthy too, because it is rich in zinc and minerals and it appears to be the perfect way to scour your intestines clean – detox avant la lettre. Arie Syarifud knows all about it, he originates from Jatiwangi, West-Java (Indonesia). Clay is an important export product for Jatiwangi, the community fairs well from the manufacture of roof tiles and festivals are also held with clay musical instruments. But the land was sold to corporations like Nike and Adidas, and so the region not only lost its land as a source of food but the identity of the area also came undone. In brief, soil represents a lot. These layers are allowed for in Claynialism. Sounds heavy, but it is not, because they are just tasty biscuits to eat. Made of clay, yes. Little sandy aftertaste, but interesting to try with a familiar chocolate and coffee flavour. And just plain healthy.
Location: Natlab, Kastanjelaan 500 (Baltan Laboratories)
Open daily until 25 October from 11:00 to 18:00 hours

Experience virtual reality in Hyperspaces

From rollercoaster to epileptic fits

Have you never worn a pair of virtual reality goggles? Then this is your chance. Hyperspaces is an exhibition by the Hyperspace collective and offers different virtual and augmented reality experiences, in which virtual things are mixed with the real world.

There is a painting, painted with real paint on canvass, in 2D, transformed into a virtual 3D version, in which you can look around with virtual reality goggles, walk, swim and see what happens when suddenly you can ‘be’ in a painting. Shadows flash by and you wonder what is taking place above your head. Looking around in this virtual world you soon discover that the sun rises surprisingly often and sets again inside a minute. It plays with the (im)possibilities of a physical painting.

In addition to this art research, there are more social virtual reality applications, like the simulation of an epileptic fit. You attempt to walk through a space in 3D, but the light keeps going out. What if you were to have a black-out at the top of the stairs? Perilous, does it really feel like this when you have an epileptic fit? This is exactly what the maker wants to hear from someone who has never experienced a fit. Suddenly through Interu Psy you can enter the world of an epileptic, something that can be extremely important for family and friends in gaining an understanding of what their loved one is going through. Various companies bundle their knowledge and experience in the field of virtual and augmented reality in the Hyperspace collective. Put on the goggles and enter the illusion of another world.
Location: Hyperspaces, LAC building, Mathildelaan 1, Central Area
Open daily until 25 October from 10:00 to 18:00 hours

Polar bear ice-cream

Delicious ball of in vitro meat

Fatigued sauntering and from all the stimuli? Feel like an ice-cream, despite the rigours of the autumn (bonus tip: wear a warm sweater and a waterproof jacket, lots of the spaces are not heated), then visit the red ice-cream cart in the Veemgebouw hall. There you will be served by the friendliest ice-cream man ever who has all sorts of different ice-creams to choose from, bacon flavour ice-cream, dragon flavour ice-cream and even polar bear ice-cream.

The ice-cream is made from meat, not real meat from animals, but from stem cells. In vitro meat. And why offer in vitro meat shaped like a pork chop when we can turn it into an ice-cream? The ice-cream cart is part of Bistro in Vitro, mixes meat flavours with the soft texture of ice-cream to research if in vitro food can be presented in an entirely different shape and taste than we are used to for meat. Come and taste it, and decide for yourself how delicious it is…

Location: Entrance Veemgebouw, Torenallee 80
Taste daily

Portrets Dutch Design Awards

English subtitles are available.