During the Dutch Design Week, the Zuiver design team spent three days zigzagging across the city of Eindhoven to see as much as possible of the packed programme of exhibitions, open studios and special events. The week was so chock-a-block that we couldn’t possibly mention everything, but there are several things that we don’t want you to miss out on!

This year’s theme, THE MAKING OF, confirms what we’ve been seeing in the design world for years: a shift from product design as the main thrust to the making and thinking process behind it. New technologies and consciousness processes are making way for an entirely different approach. It’s about making the world a little better, or at least sending a message out into the world. As a result, a greater emphasis is placed on the underlying idea or starting point: sustainability, alternative fuels and raw materials, and new technologies. Another aspect that plays a role is the need to be offline. Now that the internet knows more or less everything about us, what is our privacy worth?

Making a product seems synonymous with making a statement. Whether it’s expressed or not, the story behind the design is often well worth knowing about. We’ve selected a number of outstanding designs to share with you!

Sustainability

Sustainability is an annually recurring aspect. Designers are always searching for new materials and techniques. Not only do they discover and develop different raw materials and energy sources, but they also make us aware of our waste streams and how we can deal with these in a better way.

"Making a product seems synonymous with making a statement. Whether it’s expressed or not, the story behind the design is often well worth knowing about."

New raw materials: algae (left) and fungi (right)

The top left photo shows Tjeerd Veenhoven’s inspiration. Material exploration has always been the starting point of Veenhoven’s design process. In the past he caused a stir with products made from palm leather. This time he has deployed algae to produce a new raw material that can be used to make sustainable textiles. After all, algae need little more than solar energy and CO2. Earlier this year, Tjeerd received a large sum of money for his discovery, enabling him to develop his ‘invention’ further.

On the right you can see the fungus project by Krown. Krown invents GIY products based on mycelium (the network of threads in a fungus): Grow it yourself! The kit consists of a laser-cut lampshade mould and a fungus mix. The process is activated by adding water, amongst other things. When the lampshade is completely grown, you stop the process by hanging the lampshade above a heater or outside in the sun.

Left: Pretty Plastic Plant, right: rugs made from textile leftovers

Bureau SLA collaborates with Overtreders W to develop wall coverings made from waste plastic. Sorting the plastic by colour first gives rise to a new aesthetic product that is more beautiful than in its original state. This is used as wall covering. The long-term goal is to build an entire building using these upcycled materials.

Vlisco’s African wax prints are made using complex techniques that involve a high proportion of waste material. Simone Post came up with the idea to use this textile waste for other purposes: she turns the leftovers into unique, colourful rugs.

New technologies

There’s nothing new about innovators that are constantly looking into the possibilities offered by new technologies. 3D printing, for example, is no longer limited to a measly white plastic ring but now extends to chairs and bridges. The path from innovation to “daily use” is a long one. Having said that, experiments with 3D printed food are also taking place.. With the expansion in the range of possible materials the current applications are endless! TU Eindhoven is conducting a study into 3D printed concrete constructions, without reinforcement or moulds. The study is led by Professor Theo Salet.

A great deal of research is being carried out by the clothing industry and fashion designers into ways of integrating technique into textile and clothing. Functional applications include integrated solar cells or battery packs to charge your mobile phone. But the possibilities go further still: how about clothing that shows your emotions based on your brain waves or heartbeat?
NEFFA incorporates innovative textile into clothing in her “Study for Dynamic skin”. In doing so, it responds to the needs of the user. The textile harnesses the sun’s energy to provide warmth or light at another moment in time.

Left: 3D printed concrete constructions, right: innovative textile that harnesses solar energy

Left: Marble Earth, right: long-lasting textiles by Cox Janssens

Bart Joachim van Uden gives chipboard furniture a unique twist: he uses images from Google Earth that look like exclusive natural stone. This results in furniture items with a totally different look!

Textiles are often discarded when they lose their appeal through the effects of sunlight, frequent washing and surface friction. The fabric collection Time included cloth by Cox Janssens is designed to last longer. And you will want it to, because this fabric series actually becomes more beautiful with use!

Left: Aart van Asseldonk – The Time is ticking, right: allow all the info to sink in with a nice, relaxing cup of coffee

One of the time theme highlights was the exhibition “Maarten Baas Makes Time”. The mortality of mankind is represented by the clock under the cloche. With the passing of time, woodworm, longhorn beetles, etc. gnaw away at the clock until it is entirely consumed. The process takes about 80 years.

As our visit ends, we pick up the new interior magazine WOTH to read on the way home. There was so much to see that we could have roamed around Eindhoven for many more days, just as there are so many more stories to tell. Whatever selection we make, we are sure to leave lots of good things out. So come to Eindhoven next October and see it for yourself!

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