Under the guidance of its new creative director Thomas Widdershoven, the cutting-edge Design Academy of Eindhoven moves away from crafting 'collectables for museums' to instead respond to real-world problems. The new focus was abundantly clear at the Masters' show during Dutch Design Week, where we recently spotted projects addressing numerous important contemporary issues, including dyslexia, farming pure air, making things super local, recycling factory waste, politics and designing for 'digital immigrants' -- the elderly. Click through our photos for a quick look at the next generation of hot, conscientious talent coming out of the Netherlands.
Brazilian designer Sarah Daher‘s ‘Vegetalize’ focuses on a future where air will be farmed like food. Her glazed device uses the chemical molecules released by plants to make enriched air for us to breathe.
Carlo Lorenzetti’s ‘Disruptive Fundamentals’ is a set of uncanny objects designed to connect the subconscious with the material world. Made from ceramic and featuring an archaic aesthetic, the sensorial instruments blast primal sounds.
Italian Andrea De Chirico‘s ‘Superlocal 0 Miles Production’ calls for an urgent update on our production methods of goods. By finding and connecting labor and materials discovered within a short bike ride, he makes affordable efficient goods like this cork and glass hairdryer.
Simone Post gives traditional Dutch textile brand Vlisco’s waste a fresh new life with her project ‘Post-Vlisco’. Through folding and laser cutting leftover scraps, she creates circular rugs that are both recycled and beautiful.
As it name implies Jongha Choi‘s ‘From 2D to 3D’ makes a flat image comes to life. Made from lightweight recyclable aluminum, this simple seat also saves space and packs flat.
French graduate student Guilhem De Cazenove showcased ‘Felt Like a Sheep’ – a value-increasing nomadic workshop. The workshop consists of a mobile wool processing unit that can travel from one shepherd to another. Each person can use the unit to wash, dry, card and felt wool in a traditional way, keeping longstanding traditions alive.
Latvian designer Sarmite Polakova introduces ‘Pine Skins,’ which uses the bark of the ubiquitous tree as an alternative to leather. The designer explained to Inhabitat how the by-product of wood production is collected in spring to maintain its moisture and flexibility. It is then knitted or weaved into biodegradable products, including gloves.
Corinne Mynatt uses syntax (or rearranges the structure of design language) as the chief method for ‘Design by Syntax by Design’. By reconfiguring materials, forms and purposes, she makes brilliant neon-like lamps using plastic tubes, steel, felt and brass elements.
Alix-Marie Bizet felts all types of human hair for her ‘Hair Matter(s)’ project. Richly diverse in texture and colors, the fibers are turned into a textile that makes warm jackets, hairpieces and beards.
Greek Louisa Zahareas critiques our flat world filled with screens through her ‘Screen Mutations’ set. Focusing on the family dining ritual, she designed a bizarre ceramic homeware set that plays with the screen’s 2D image.
Vicky Katrin Kuhlmann celebrates dyslexia through her inclusive project ‘Sorry, I Am an Image Thinker’. Referencing dyslexia as a cognitive ability, rather than a disorder, she creates 3-D felt block letters and a booklet to process information through images instead of words.
Moritz Pitrowski-Ronitz‘s ‘Talking Digital’ was designed to connect young ‘Digital Natives’ with the elderly, described by him as ‘Digital Immigrants’. The project consists of a device that adds tactile qualities to ceramic cups through digital information mixed with the traditional process of cyanotype photography.
Indian designer Mahafrin Rustomjee demonstrated a lamp called ‘Enter in Solemnness,’ which enhances well-being through light. Using an energy-efficient CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) that casts a grey-bluish aura in a space, thereby reproducing the effect of daylight, the design makes a huge impact on users’ physiological and mental state of being.
Italian Beatrice Cordara crafted mind-bending wooden furniture for her ‘Unimaginary Project’. Although she explained to us that she wanted to get away from the image-focused media and the ‘design world’, she didn’t succeed as we couldn’t help to include her fluid, elegant line on our Design Academy selection.
Photos © Ana Lisa Alperovich for Inhabitat