Inventions from Dutch Design Week

Fashion students’ Modebeloft show took place inside inflatable bubbles in an empty department store in the centre of Eindhoven.

Investigative, experimental design flushes one’s brain with new perspectives in Eindhoven. Dutch Design Week organized in the end of October focused on the future and asked an important question: “If not us, then who?”

Eindhoven. People are queueing in the rain. They’re heading for the Graduation Show. This is the miracle of Dutch Design Week. Organized for the 17th time in Eindhoven, the design festival has managed to catch the attention of the masses. Its circa 120 projects gathered more than 350,000 visitors.

The Design Academy Eindhoven’s Graduation Show is worth standing in the queue. Students’ work is extensively displayed in an exhibition that spreads across two huge industrial buildings. The projects are mostly about very specific problems, such as patients and the elderly not being able to put on support stockings independently. Many of the solutions rely on new technology, such as heat-shrink materials. Thanks to this invention, the stockings are easy to pull on and they tighten against the legs automatically once affected by body heat. An endless array of new ideas makes the exhibition feel like an invention show.

Dutch Design Week typically features speculation, prototyping and design research. This year’s theme is “If not us, then who?” Eindhoven believes that designers are responsible for imagining and building a better world. Most of the exhibitions present studies of new or recycled materials, digital opportunities or robotics. Designers have borrowed their methods from journalism, cinema and scenography.

There are few examples of traditional design, like cups or chairs, and the ones on display are experimental. There is a chair the seat of which has been placed very high to represent where the sea level will be if we keep ignoring the climate change.

Many of the Design Academy Eindhoven’s graduate works express feminist views, including Anna Aagaard Jensen’s ”manspreading” seats for women.
This year’s hit was Robot Love that focused on the relationship between humans and robots. Margriet van Breevoort’s sculpture called Bob is recognizable and strange at the same time.