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DDW23: programme narratives

03 May 2023

9 min. to read

© Max Kneefel
As of this year, Dutch Design Week (DDW) introduces ten programme narratives that help make the best possible matches between the participating designers and visitors. DDW has established missions and design perspectives as a framework for the programme and activities during the week.

The goal is to utilise the potential of design by making better matches. Field research has taught us that DDW participants want to be more easily found by the relevant visitors. Whether this is other designers, the industry, collaborative partners or other parties from their respective branche, but also governmental agencies, policymakers, the business community, knowledge institutes or the general public. 

DDW is therefore introducing ten programme themes, to help all the different types of designers and the great diversity of visitors navigate through the festival. These themes consist of various ‘missions’ and ‘design perspectives’. As always, DDW also welcomes group exhibitions: clusters based on more or less neutral data, such as schools and archives.

Over the coming months, we will highlight each of the following ten programme themes, with concrete examples and in-depth information, on and the DDW social media channels. Stay tuned…!

Design perspectives

There are numerous ways of looking at the design profession, and there is no single definition of what design is. Dutch Design Foundation (DDF, the organisation behind DDW) serves the field in its broadest sense –– from individual to systemic and from conceptual to applied. Within this context, DDF distinguishes different design perspectives:

    Artistic exploration and individual expression are the foundations of this design perspective, translated into objects and other renditions that are poetic or conceptual in nature.

    Designers working from this perspective excel in exploring unexpected thought processes and taking an approach that goes off the beaten track. This takes shape in research by design or the development of (social) interventions.

    Everything we use is designed. All these products and materials demand the most diverse methods, skills and knowledge.

  • SERVICE & INNOVATIVE DESIGN                     
    Lightning-fast digital and technological developments raise all kinds of questions. Designers answer these questions with groundbreaking concepts and concrete applications.

    There are always designers who cannot be defined. Makers and inventors of autonomous and critical work which often reflects on the design profession itself.
Creating Our Living Environment: Living Roadblocks by Bob Hendrikx (DDW22 © Max Kneefel)
Challenging Our Digital Future: Retro Future Fun Fair (DDW22) ©

On a mission

We also see that designers are increasingly taking on major issues, such as the climate crisis and social inequality. Based on what is going on in the design community and within society, DDF has distilled the following missions:

    For a healthy planet, design must enhance the power of nature, or at the very least not stand in its way.

    Designing our living environment, mobility and the materials we use to create them goes hand-in-hand with shaping our own quality of life. 

    Designs that structurally improve our quality of life – from the food we eat to healthcare and personal well-being – and that contribute to the most precious thing we have: our health.

    To achieve equality in society, we must (re)design systems and interactions that value everyone. Safety, inclusiveness and connection are key here.

    Our digital realities and future are being explored to the full and influenced by designers, from virtual worlds to artificial intelligence and from global platforms to individual experiences.
Speculative & Social Design: Kleinkijkacademie by Sjaak Langenberg & Rosé de Beer (Public Award winner Dutch Design Awards 2022) © Ben Nieuhuis
Independent & Critical Design: CAPSLOCK by Ruben Pater (Communication winner Dutch Design Awards 2022) © Nick Bookelaar

These ten programme themes can already be seen in the recently opened Call for Entries. When registering, applicants are asked for their preferences for certain missions and topics or design perspectives and disciplines. Of course, designers can always choose to skip this matchmaking phase and allow connections to arise spontaneously during DDW

DDW is experimenting with this registration method for the first time this year and is researching the possibilities of linking certain themes to specific locations. What is certain, is that the ten programme themes will form the basis for routes, meet-ups, events, tours and all kinds of other activities during DDW for the next three years. This should create more clarity in the overarching programme, the wayfinding and the presentation of what is often an overwhelming amount of work.

Dutch Design Week
Dutch Design Week (DDW) is the platform for quality design. DDW is all about the design of the future and the future of design. DDW opens-up, inspires, shares and connects. During the nine-day event, Eindhoven is completely immersed in design, with all conceivable disciplines and aspects of design on offer. The emphasis is always on expertise and talent, experiment, innovation and crossovers. Dutch Design Week is also the platform where we address and discuss the design profession itself.