Dutch Design Week has attracted international creators to showcase their best work and most though-provoking experiments in design. The fruits of their research are a compelling mix of luminous display, recyclable pavilion, and celestial bubble that question everything and look to the future with optimism. Here is our curated selection of the most enthralling exhibits of Dutch Design Week 2017. The paradoxically named exhibit, ‘Digital Realists,’ was conceived without regard for the distinction between the computerized and analogue, unequivocally embracing the digital age and even questioning the purpose of defining such a border. Taking place in an abandoned department store, the surreal atmosphere is achieved by layering translucent plastics, colourful fabrics and iridescent material on the raw industrial concrete.
The concept behind the simultaneously eerie and playful exhibit is even more intriguing; the designers approach technology with the same exuberant naiveté of a caveman who just discovered fire, exploring the myriad possibilities of our new digitally enhanced world. MVRDV expands the concept of living in the future city with a flexible exhibit that requires active cooperation between neighbours to negotiate partitions and manage competing desires. As cities grow denser and dwindling square metres must accommodate ever-changing needs, how will urban living be redesigned? The (W)ego exhibit directly addresses this intersection of the individual (ego) and the community (we) with an optimistic installation that is as flexible as the human spirit.
Colour blocking visually divides one space from another, but the possible configurations are endless – mutual symbiosis being the ultimate goal. Combining ephemerality and sustainability in an elegant structure, Overtreders W and Bureau SLA manifest an elegant pavilion that will silently retreat at the end of the week without a trace on the environment. Each and every piece of The People’s Pavilion – from the wooden beams, lighting, glass ceiling and interior fittings – was borrowed and will be returned in perfect condition at the end of Dutch Design Week. Colourful tiles lining the façade are fabricated from locally-gathered recycled plastic, adding a participatory element to the design which will be redistributed after its dismantling.
The meticulously planned structure demonstrates that beautiful architecture and sustainability are not mutually exclusive concepts; and perhaps even establishes its own niche of ‘borrowed architecture’. The Osmo installation offers city-dwellers a precious opportunity rarely encountered in the wild of the concrete jungle. Composed of the NASA material mylar, the spherical structure creates a celestial atmosphere with a peek into the vast cosmos. Designers mapped nearly 3,000 stars and planets to project the night sky onto the reflective silver fabric, intriguing visitors with a view of the universe usually only visible from remote parts of the planet.
In the human quest to discover every corner of the earth, the Loop installation takes a contrary approach by bringing an exploratory nocturnal landscape to the modern city. Bringing new meaning to the concept of individualized design, the Aura exhibition by Nick Verstand broadcasts personal feelings into colourful displays of light. Collaborating with the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research, various sensors gather data from the user, manipulating the behaviour of light. The emotions become plainly visible illuminance, prompting a debate on intimacy and cultural values surrounding privacy. The installation offers more than a visually pleasing show but directly links inner feelings to an outward display, heightening consciousness through the embodiment of immersive installation.