Viewing: Dutch Design Week

Design Folder

Dutch Design Week is the kind of event that makes you go all home TV shopping and say… “But wait! There’s more! It’s an inexhaustible treasure trove of inspiration, and it was hard to select just a few things to blog about for the posts that I did here and on MangoJuiced.

That’s why when the kind folks at Design Folder invited me to blog a couple of guest posts on DDW, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. In this week’s guest post, I focused on home furnishings and lighting that are great examples of the Dutch knack for curiosity, simplicity and playfulness in design.

Check out my roundup of home furnishings and lighting from DDW at Design Folder, and be sure to check back for another post from me soon!

Design Folder is all about design—from the latest in architecture and interior design to the trendiest furniture and interior accessories. 

Design Folder is a Manila-based website dedicated to sharing design ideas and inspirations through its different sections such as Space Matters (interior design and architecture), Conscious Living (green design), Spacelift (makeovers), Design Speak (styles and themes), Design Trail (travel), DIY (design-it-yourself) and more. Every post is geared towards helping readers spruce up their lives by improving their own little space. 

MangoJuiced!

I’m happy to announce that I’m now blogging at MangoJuiced.com!

Thanks to my ex-colleague-turned blogfriend Iggy of Plus Size Fasyon Mudra, who also blogs for MangoJuiced, for hooking me up with Yayie Esguerra-Co of the MangoJuiced team. Iggy’s fashion posts are always fun, so be sure to check them out too!

For my first post at MangoJuiced, I put together my favorite finds from Dutch Design Week (yes, there’s more!) in a fun little multiple-choice quiz. I like to think of it as a virtual shopping trip through Dutch Design Week.

Like the idea of shopping without spending? Then pop on over to MangoJuiced for the full post… and have fun!

MangoJuiced is a webzine for anything and everything that interests women—from fashion and family, to pop culture and beauty, to travel and lifestyle. Follow MangoJuiced on Twitter and Facebook… and don’t forget to check back in for a new post from me every week!

When graduates create

Another event I didn’t want to miss at Dutch Design Week was the graduation show by the students of the Design Academy Eindhoven. At the entrance, each visitor was given a yellow arrow sticker and invited to vote for their favorite design by placing the sticker on a voting wall at the end of the exhibit.
With so many creative ideas on display, choosing a favorite was tough! Plus I dropped my sticker, so Marlon and I only had one vote between the two of us. Still, even having two stickers to vote with would not have made the choice much easier. 
Now, if I had five stickers, that would be have been so much easier. So I’ll just pretend I had five stickers, and award them to my five favorite projects right here on my blog. Problem solved! 
Check them out after the jump:

1) Forgotten Memory. I was first drawn to Jetske Visser’s project by this installation: a mass of soft, translucent crockery made out of some kind of paper-thin, pliable rubber or plastic. Something about their fragility was so arresting, I just had to take a closer look.
Jetske’s main project was a film designed to reflect on dementia, a degenerative loss of brain function that affects memory, thinking, language, judgment and behavior. The teapots and teacups were meant to represent the “hazy, fragile and precarious existence” of people suffering from dementia. They may look solid, but fall apart with the lightest touch.
The images in Jetske’s short film were so powerful, that it took less than a minute for me to be moved to tears. One of the most heartbreaking images was of a dementia patient asked to draw a clock. Patients suffering from severe dementia are no longer able to perform basic everyday functions and recognize everyday things. With every stroke, you just knew it was wrong, wrong, wrong… and it was heartbreaking that she didn’t. 
A split-second pause right before the patient penciled in the arrow communicated volumes. She knew there had to be an arrow in a clock. And you just knew, in that moment, it had hit her: she couldn’t fathom how the arrow worked or where it went. What is a clock when you no longer know what a clock is?
Such brave and moving work from a student. I don’t know if I would have had the courage to spend so much time in such a dark place. 
2) The Synergy of Colour. Yannic Alidarso created a bare elm wood cabinet meant to be colored using natural pigments—from leaves, grass or any organic material that the owner collects himself. How cool is that? 
I had a chat with the student designer himself and learned that it took two weeks for this six-inch strip of color to be fed into the wood. (“Now do the math for the rest of the cabinet!” he said with a laugh.) I suck at math, but I can imagine how beautiful and unique it would look over the changing of the seasons. Now that’s a creative way to bring the outdoors in.

3) House Wine. On a break from school, Sabine Marcelis returned to her native New Zealand, where her family has equipment for making wine at home. After going through the wine-making process, she wondered: “The process is so beautiful. But why does the equipment have to be so ugly?” Which is how she came up with this beautiful installation.

Yes, it really does make wine. However, it’s not bulky or ugly; in fact, it’s a design object elegant enough to keep in the living room instead of being relegated to the garage. It actually made me want to start making wine at home. And the writer in me loved the name House Wine. Clever!

4) Marlon and I awarded our single sticker to the designer of this wooden catamaran. I didn’t keep any of my notes on this, unfortunately. Basically, it’s a catamaran with sleeping quarters, bathroom, kitchen and a deck for seeing the outdoors while floating down the river.

I would love to see something like this in the Philippines. Don’t we need more classy design options for sightseeing? I can totally imagine it floating down the beautiful, pristine Loboc River in Bohol. Class na class!

5) Quasi-Mode. Textile design student Ziv Ben Gal explored the relationship between ugliness and beauty by creating fabrics filled with imperfections. What looks appealing at first turns out to be seriously flawed upon closer inspection.

Why the name Quasi-Mode? The collection is a tribute to the hunchback of Notre Dame. I can’t resist cleverness with words, really.

An honorable mention goes to Reasons to Rethink by Michael Kluver. He redesigned Euro bills with illustrations of his own, turning currency into a crystal ball that warns of chaos and collapse if the weaknesses of the Eurozone’s monetary system are not addressed.

I can’t seem to remember ever being this creative or clever when I was a fresh graduate. But I sure do remember being a hell of a lot skinnier.

Dutch Design Week

It was one year ago when the possibility of moving to the Netherlands finally became real for Marlon and myself. I distinctly remember that it was Dutch Design Week (DDW) then. Back then, I was giddy at the prospect of simply being able to attend DDW and surround myself with so much creativity. Marlon calls this event one of the deal sweeteners that helped us decide to go for it. To think we’re not even in the design industry!
So even if we were going to be out of town for most of the week, it was important not to miss it entirely. Thus an entire Sunday was devoted to trekking south to Eindhoven, the home of Dutch Design Week.
It’s hard to capture such a huge experience in one blog post. But I thought hard about the five things that stood out the most about my visit to DDW. And here they are, in no particular order, after the jump:

Magnitude and mix. Because of its scale, DDW covers pretty much every area of design you can think of. From concept to process, home furnishings to urban planning, industrial scale production to individual ateliers, you name it. The big boys are definitely there—quite literally, in fact, as you can see from this concept ATV by Mercedes Benz. 
But keeping pace alongside the big names are the quiet ones: the one-man shops like that of Ilias Ernst, who designed this lighting fixture inspired by the pipes and tubes of a gas refinery. And as we all know, it’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for.
Devil in the details. Even when we took a break from all this wonderful creativity and design, there were plenty of design details to see and enjoy. For example, check out this inverted lightbulb vase at one of the snack bars in the Klokgebouw, the main exhibition venue. Clever and cute!
Even getting to another venue became a design experience with Mini Design Rides. Who wants to walk when you can get a chauffeur to drive you in a Mini Cooper? Our short ride reminded me of two things: I really miss being driven around in a car, and I really wouldn’t mind driving my own Mini!
Kids everywhere. I must admit this both warmed the cockles of my heart and turned me an envious shade of green. It seems taking your kids to DDW is normal in these parts. Instead of taking the kids to a mall or leaving them with yaya, giving kids a design education becomes a real option for parents. Good on those who seize that opportunity. Can you imagine being what this exposure to design, creativity and out-of-the-box thinking at such a tender age can do for inquisitive young minds? 
At DDW, I saw so many children running, playing, exploring and questioning. As the Dutch would say, wat leuk! (What fun!) Kids can learn that drawers don’t always have to line up straight and that a spade can also be a chair… and more importantly, that making a living in design is possible (and not completely crazy). I wonder how many kids who grew up going to Dutch Design Week ended up embarking on a career in a creative industry?
Getting to know Etsy. Have you ever bought any handmade goodies from Etsy? I have. I also love browsing through it for inspiration. Recently, I’ve thought about changing my relationship with this inspiring online marketplace by becoming not just a consumer, but a seller. (Cue lightning and thunder. Yes, that’s a rather big pronouncement.) So I was really pleased to attend a short talk by the European director of Etsy and learn about what they are doing for the sellers on the site.
The Etsy booth at DDW was a showcase of talent from some of the site’s Dutch sellers. Dropping by the booth allowed me to meet some people from the Etsy community in the Netherlands… and got me excited about joining that community soon.

If you can’t make it, buy it. At the DDW shop, I scored the sweet early birthday gift you saw in my previous post. This rubber collar is from the “Out of Office” collection (designed with ordinary office supplies!) by conceptual jewelry designers Hartog & Henneman.
I loved how it looked like handwritten marks made with a Magic Marker/Sharpie/Pentel Pen (choose the felt-tipped pen reference most relevant to you, haha). And it certainly didn’t hurt that it went perfectly with that day’s monochromatic outfit. Sold!

For a non-design industry person such as myself, this was the best part about all this fabulous design: getting to take some of it home! 

Let’s get this party started

Last week was insanely packed (in a good way) and there’s still so much I have to blog about. But that will have to wait, because *happy dance* it’s my birthweek! 
Marlon sure knows how to get a party started, at least in my book. He kicked off my birthday celebration by treating me to a little somethin’-somethin’ at Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven. 

And that is your sneak peek at Dutch Design Week. That’s about all I can manage for now, but there will be more (lots more) when I get back. Promise.

In the meantime, I’m taking off to celebrate The Big 3-0 with a long-awaited trip to Istanbul. I’m excited to be crossing another big one off my lifelong travel wishlist. Ta ta for now and see you next week!