During Dutch Design Week, the two strands of the Masters in Design MAN + Humanity and IM showcase their work alongside the more numerous Bachelor graduates.
In the IM section a little green grass town with a paper windmill strikes you immediately. It has been built by Cedric Ceulemans, whose The Plasticficator demonstrates ways to reshape waste through solar power technology.
Today around 18 million people suffer from Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and not only will the future population have a greater risk of developing AD, but they will be more likely to become primary caretakers of someone who does. No better reason for designer José Rodrigo De La O Campos to come up with design tools that provide new ways of communication between the care partner and an AD patient. So he designed this music system Transcendental Tunes to trigger memories and emotions.
The pieces by Australian designer Henry Wilson also immediately catch my eye. His project Things Revised, Things Curated features chairs and kitchenware, giving a different outlook to classic design icons and updating them to modern use.
We see nature in Saara Jarvinen’s project Devoted to Dirt. Her theory: ‘In self-sufficient households people had devoted relationships with objects. Unlike now, waste equaled failure. Cleaning is a creative way to make sense of our physical surroundings and build bonds with the things we own. Cleaning is the key to regaining control over ownership.’
But there is no dirt in nature. So Saara came up with two cleaning encyclopedias that honour traditional cleaning practices. One looks at the tasks from a child’s viewpoint. The other, meant for adults, takes its text from the Martha organisation, a Finnish home economics organisation founded in 1899 to promote the quality and standard of life in the home.
Looking at nature for solutions is something Susana Cámara Leret knows too. Her project Smell Triggers uses current scientific research on the genetic modification of mosquitoes into flying syringes, to propose a new outlook on healthcare based on prevention and passive diagnosis.
Nature is also the start for the furniture designs from Kitikoon Worrasorratorn. In his ‘Handmade Production’ project, he focuses on craft skills, which often are passed on from generation to generation, but are slowly disappearing due to mass production.
Registering humans is something that fascinates Mie Frey Damgaard. “The registration systems of individuals have grown tremendously within the last 30 years and today privacy is difficult to maintain. Soon our physical body as well, refer now to our biometrics, will be registered and filed in databases. This phenomenon will redefine the body as digital codes that can be read by a machine.” So with her project My Digital Body, she designed a future scenario where the digital body, containing our entire personal data, merges together with our physical body.
Maurizio Montalti’s work is called Continuous Bodies and is all about fungi. Two projects are shown. Bodies of Change uses fungi for a new type of burial practice – a felt shroud inoculated with fungal mycelia which helps the decomposition process of the body, while collecting and neutralizing toxic elements in the body and distributing different nutrients from the body to surrounding life forms.
The Ephemeral Icon looks at the application of fungi to synthetic materials that do not naturally decompose and leak dangerous chemicals into the atmosphere. The Bio Cover is a felted wool cover that gradually eats away at plastic.
Modern, but with a different undertone, is how one would describe the project by Thomas Saxby entitled Political Mindscapes. With a simple production line, existing of letter stamps and black/white photographs with today’s society’s outlandish events printed on them, every visitor can own their own printed T-shirt.
Bart Nijssen’s project Design in Times of Crisis, Revisited explores the concept of people having to improvise in times of hardship and demonstrates this with simple applications, such as a universal joint that enables you to connect any object to any surface.
Chul An Kwak from Korea designed a black steel, imposing table to talk about the material (Western) world. His project Materializing Dematerialization plays on the concepts of object and space, and how this defines what we see.
Image credits: Cedric Ceulemans, Hentry Wilson, Thomas Saxby by René van der Hulst; José Rodrigo De La O Campos, Mie Frey Damgaard, Kitikoon Worrasorratorn by Vincent van Gurp; Maurizio Montalti, Chul An Kwak by Maurizio Montalti.