At the virtual edition of Dutch Design Week, check out light installations, living coffins and hats that could help you social distance
Last year, over 3,55,000 people had converged at Eindhoven in the Netherlands for Dutch Design Week (DDW). That’s exactly why this year, the 19th edition of the annual event has gone virtual, with 3D viewing rooms, live streams and over 360 videos.The pandemic has also dictated the main theme of the festival. The New Intimacy explores “a new equilibrium in a time when, due to Covid-19, the creative world has been accelerating the exploration of different ways of relating to each other and the world around us”.
On the fair’s website, tune into talks by its ambassadors — trend forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort, designer Sabine Marcelis, and Philips’ Chief Design Officer Sean Carney — on design trends, tactility in the digital age, and the future of healthcare. Dezeen, the architecture and design magazine, has also collaborated with DDW for a series of live discussions, including Stories of a Product (discussing how good design can improve people’s relationship with products).Here are a few highlights from the festival.Ananya Patel’s Topi-CologyInspired by birds that gather materials from their immediate environment to build nests, the Vadodara-based artist has used things from nature to create a series of hats. Seen here is the Neem Halo, one of the exhibits at Duth Invertuals’ True Matter show. The wide-brimmed hat is made with bamboo, banana stem and the bark of a neem tree that fell during the monsoon. It “offers shelter from the heat and insects”, explains the designer on an Instagram post and shares, tongue-in-cheek, that the neem’s distinct smell may also “keep people away”, an advantage in our times of social distancing.
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Sabine Marcelis’ Virtual TactilityThe Dutch designer explores how one can translate physical objects — a series of polished resin and onyx marble stacked tables and totem lights — into a remote experience. With her ‘digital interaction’, created in collaboration with tech partners 5GHUB and Dimenco Displays, virtual visitors can control cameras placed in a remote gallery and experience Marcelis’ work.
Object Density’s Lens Luminaire APWith this site-specific installation, designers Nicola Charlesworth and Kim Stanek redefine an element of waste — dead-stock lenses from ophthalmic optics company Essilor — while paying tribute to one of Eindhoven’s most iconic buildings, De Bruin Heer. The duo examined the optician’s process and production (the building houses Mr Brown Specs & Beans, a luxury optician and coffee cafe) to create the installation that “seeks to reinstate each lens’ inherent beauty and value, [while] the distortion of the light source highlights the unique optical properties of each lens”.
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Studio Hendrikx’s Living CoffinThis isn’t meant to be macabre, but rather a way to become one with nature. Using mycelium — the root network of mushrooms that inventor-biodesigner Bob Hendrikx says continuously transform “dead organic matter into fresh plant food” — the coffin brings humans into the cycle of life, helping humans enrich the soil instead of polluting it.The Dutch Design Week is on till October 25.Details: ddw.nl