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The story as driving force

17 October 2018

Low & Bonar - Daphna Laurens - Photography Barbara Medo
This year, Dutch Design Week presents 8 design trends that mark the most important developments in the field of design. The fourth trend is all about art & collectables.

Art & collectables represents exclusive projects and objects that are not focused on a tangible application or use. Within this discipline, the conceptual force and an experimental attitude lead; following the footsteps of Dutch Design. In the meantime, it has expanded to encompass an attitude that disposes of a vast diversity of characteristics. Relating a story. The search for - and experimentation with - new materials. Questioning our society. The pushing of boundaries. This is more than apparent to us from this year’s submissions for DDW. In 2018 the emphasis is on new materials, cross-disciplinary collaboration and storytelling.

Fluidity captured in static objects

Morph is an exhibition that explores the layered nature and merging of disciplines within the domain of design. The transmedia effect of design is becoming increasingly apparent. The physical experience is increasingly supplemented with digital apps and websites that create a new reality together. Various artists and designers share their vision through an object connected with the theme

“morphing”. Even though the majority are static objects, they all represent the same thing: the creative process comprises a flowing chain of actions. In this exhibition work can be seen by, for example, Audrey Large and Thomas Ballouey. 

The collaboration between industry and design

Another collective presentation, this time focused on material development, is Envisions. Last year, Envisions and the Spanish wood process manufacturer Finsa presented the first phase of an experimental collaboration between a designer and industry. The emphasis was on the process and not on the final product. The follow-up to this embraces depth and refinement, taking a tangible next step. Six of the studies that were on show last year have undergone further development resulting in a collection of implementable materials.

Another recurring collaboration between industry and designers is In4nite II. Within this project, product designers, graphic designers and architects get to work with new materials: Enkamat, a 3D polyamide that strengthens textiles. This is just one of the industrial materials produced by material manufacturer Low & Bonar. In addition to Enkamat, the designers set to work again this year with another technology textile, Colback. A variety of applications such as a lounge chair, panels and a shoe collection are presented by designers including Marc Meijers, Daphna Laurens, Joris de Groot and Mieke van den Hout.

Intercultural and disciplinary exchange of knowledge

For the project Weaving Stories, the graphic design duo Thonik crossed the border to collaborate with the Chinese designer Fin Zhao. During a residency in China, the graphic designers learned of the refined craft of Yunjin brocade. This is a silk weaving technique which is characterised by figures woven with gold and silver thread. In turn, the craftspeople gained more insight into the design process. The objective of this project is the exchange of international methods and perspectives. It also had a deeper social significance; female weavers often still have a subordinate role in China. This idea was negated during this collaboration because everyone was able to make an equal contribution. The result of this collaboration? Two brocade wedding dresses that can be seen in the VEEM, a film, workshops and lectures. In addition to presentation at DDW, the project will be shared during Beijing Design Week.

A new meaning for LUXURY

In the exhibition LUXE? by the design museum CUBE a striking object can be observed. Sophie de Oliveira, founder of “The Alternative Limb Project” created a leg prothesis covered with Swarovski crystals. According to the exhibition makers, this represents the layered meaning of the word luxury in our current society. What do you consider a luxury? Is luxury material or immaterial? We often associate luxury with expensive objects, but these days luxury can also mean travelling or being a week offline. This exhibition questions your ideas of luxury.  

Sophie de Oliveira Barata, Crystal Leg
© Photography Omkaar Kotedia

Plastic: a new fossil layer

In Mutant Matter, Dutch Invertuals engages with a different question. Where do the boundaries between manmade and natural fade and disappear? Through the arrival of industrialisation, we are living in a new geological era. Where our substrate used to only comprise natural materials, this is now no longer the case. All plastics that are produced worldwide and consequently disposed of leave an indelible trail behind. They add a new geological layer to our planet. Together with experimental design studio FranklinTill, Dutch Invertuals adds colour to this shift.

New material applications, cross-border collaborations and the fading of the distinction between artificial and natural, form just a selection of the topics that will be dealt with during DDW. Curious about other design trends at DDW18? Click here.