Dutch Design Week (DDW) 2020 will be a combination of a live and online festival, with the focus on relevant matchmaking for the designers. A limited number of people will be able to visit the participating designers in the form of pre-planned visits to studio exhibitions. Alongside this, the major public event will take place online.
Given the current circumstances, a DDW such as we are used to, with more than 350,000 visitors, large central locations and various organised transport options, is unrealistic. Consultation with the municipality of Eindhoven and Brabant Southeast Safety Region has confirmed reality. So the DDW organisation has developed a scenario with the design community for a compact 'live' DDW.
No major 'live' public event
Essentially, this means that DDW20 cannot be a 'live' public event. Due to the coronavirus it is not responsible to have large groups of visitors pass through the city and, in doing so, increase the pressure on public life in Eindhoven enormously. Also, we want to avoid crowds, making it unrealistic and unsafe for large groups of people to gather in indoor locations.
"Although this has been on the cards for some time now, it has been hard for us to take this somewhat inevitable decision," explains DDF director Martijn Paulen. “For the last 19 years, many months of dedicated work with partners and friends have gone into 'The Week' in October. A week that each year is characterized by quality, innovative design insights, future orientation and a richness of valuable encounters and inspiration. A decision like this has an enormous impact on the dynamics for designers and creators, partners, but also the chain of suppliers and of course loyal visitors.”
In conjunction with the design community, we have been looking for a fitting solution. ‘We realise that these are difficult times for the design sector as a whole’, says Martijn. “That is precisely why, with the design community, we want to build the stage for them. We are excited about this! We are all too aware that many of our colleagues have not been given this opportunity.”
Dutch Design Week 2020
In the ‘live’ version of DDW20, we will focus on a bottom-up 'studio exhibition model', aimed at relevant encounters between the participating designers and professional visitors. Participants will be able to register from 15 June onwards. After approval, they will be able to open the doors of their own studio in October or participate at another available location, with visitors attending by appointment. This takes us back to the roots from which DDW once grew and remains true to its DNA; there for the designer.
In addition to the studio exhibitions mentioned above, all participants will also have virtual visibility through participating in this year’s greatly improved digital DDW platform. Here we also offer space to designers and partners who cannot physically participate in Eindhoven. We will deploy our international PR and Media activities on the basis of the overall DDW20 programme, with a focus on both 'live' and online participation.
Because we want this virtual programme to be more than just a digital version of a physical DDW, we are currently working on strong online formats including virtual DDW Talks, various live streams, videos and more. This will ensure greater relevant reach for the participating designers.
We look forward to making DDW20 an unforgettable edition with the world of design and all its creative potential. Both 'live' and online. We will support this from the very core of our DNA and do everything we can to facilitate events."
Safety Region advice
Brabant Southeast Safety Region has indicated that it sees DDF as a reliable partner and we intend to keep it that way. We will ensure that all preconditions, restrictions and rules are strictly adhered to by everyone who joins DDW20. We cannot predict the future and decisions are taken based on what we know today. The route we have decided on has a caveat. If the prevailing Covid-19 restrictions are tightened or loosened by national or local government as a consequence of the situation, we will deal with these changes adaptively. Even if we are faced with a temporary lockdown. We expect the same adaptive capacity from everyone who joins us.
In concrete terms, this will mean that all participants are allocated a maximum number of visitors per agreed time slot on the basis of the net available floor space where the exhibition is taking place (10, 30, 100). In addition, a maximum number of DDW visitors per day will apply to avoid pressure on urban infrastructure. The exact protocols are still being worked out.
Participants explicitly agree to comply with the applicable Covid-19 restrictions. As an organisation, we will do our utmost to facilitate participants as much as possible, for example through developing digital tools for planning visits to studio exhibitions and by using clear communication tools to clarify the rules and possibilities.