This week Dutch student Steinar Henskes of the VU University Amsterdam, owner of the Bird Control Group, won Global Student Entrepreneur of the Year, an event held in Washington, D.C. Up against 2,000 students from 38 countries, Henskes took home a cool USD 20,000 (about € 18,500) in prize money.
Bird Control Group provides solutions to keep birds at a safe distance from commercial activities using animal-safe lasers. Founded in 2012, the company operates in 52 countries around the globe including major airports like Schiphol and London Airport. “The products are recognised by the World Wildlife Fund for their innovation, effectiveness and animal friendliness.”
Breda-based Dutch design studio Moooi is launching a new company called Moooi Carpets with an inaugural collection of photo-realistic designs by Studio Job, Ross Lovegrove, Neri & Hu (as shown above) and many more.
Moooi Carpets explains that it uses advanced technology to print designs directly onto carpet at a higher definition than ever before. Its printing plant will be able to print everything from rugs to full-width fitted carpet as well as one-off designs. “It’s the reinvention of the carpet,” says Moooi CEO Casper Vissers.
“The carpets are produced using a giant machine that measures 100 metres long. Its size allows it to print designs up to four metres wide in unlimited colours, without having to change the dye injectors in its Chromojet printer.”
After a few cities in Canada, it’s now the turn of the United States to embrace the building of a ‘woonerf’, a typical Dutch construct from the 1930s, an area where drivers, cyclists and pedestrians have to share the same space, but where pedestrians always have the right of way.
Ithaca, New York is building what they call a ‘living yard’ (‘woonerf’), with a low speed limit of no more than 10 or 12 mph (16 km/h to 19.2 km/h). Today in the Netherlands the woonerf speed limit is 15 km/h, although a few years ago it was still referred to as ‘stapvoets’, which is a old term from when people rode horses at a slow pace, which would be 6 km/h if it was really a horse, but not actually possible by car or bike without consequences. However, 15 km/h is still slower than what Ithaca has decided, which to me sounds too fast.
“The whole point is to encourage human interaction; those who use the space are forced to be aware of others around them, make eye contact and engage in person-to-person interactions.” As a North American, the car is always king of the road, but the woonerf forces drivers to realise that it’s not always their space just because there’s a road, which I think is a good thing to learn.
Dutch denim company G-Star RAW and Swiss furnishings company Vitra plan to use and update furniture and lighting created in the 1940s by French designer Jean Prouvé. The 10 furniture pieces of the collection, including chairs, desks and tables, were initially developed for G-Star RAW’s new OMA-designed headquarters in Amsterdam, which opened last year.
“We ergonomically changed it so that it is set up for 21st century modern interiors – we’re all a bit taller, so we had to extend things and make it for modern human beings,” explains Shubhankar Ray, global brand director for G-Star RAW.
Jean Prouvé as a French metal worker, self-taught architect and designer who was the first designer to demonstrate a lightweight prefabricated metal building system.
Dutch industrial designer Leonie Tenthof van Noorden, who uses 3D scanning to produce unique custom-made dresses, calls the technique she uses ‘digital tailoring’. She also claims that going to a shop that will scan you and make clothes for you is probably not that far off, either.
Her Master’s graduation project at the Eindhoven University of Technology ‘This Fits Me’ is called the way it is because the clothing is fitted specifically to someone’s body using 3D scanning techniques and generative design, explained in the video which was filmed in Eindhoven during Dutch Design Week 2014.
The Vigour cardigan is a collaboration between Pauline van Dongen, the TextielMuseum in Tillburg, and fellow PhD candidate at Eindhoven University of Technology, Martijn ten Bhömer. Van Dongen is also known for her long-lasting bioluminescent lamp.
Vigour has integrated stretch sensors that monitor upper body movement. The garment enables geriatric patients, physiotherapists and family to gain more insight into the exercises and progress of a patient’s rehabilitation. The sensors collect data that is then sent to an application installed on a tablet, so it can be analysed to help provide feedback from professionals.
The Popcorn Monsoon by Dutch designer Jolene Carlier consists of a pair of small yellow bowls placed on a wooden base: one heats to pop the corn while the other collects it, a design inspired by the 1971 film ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’. A curving glass tube fixed to the larger of the two receptacles delivers the popped corn into the small serving bowl.
Popcorn is a blast to listen to when it’s being made, or maybe that’s just because I still make it on the oven and the sound is the only thing to guide you. I had a twentysomething person over once who had never seen popcorn made on the oven before, as he thought it could only be made in a microwave.
I like this design a lot, with the exception of the popcorn flying out of the bowl.
In the video below, recent graduate of the Design Academy Eindhoven, Teresa van Dongen presents her graduation project called ‘Ambio’, an ambient lamp using a glass tube filled with bioluminescent bacteria, usually found on octopuses, in a saltwater solution. Once pushed the Ambio will swing for 20 minutes and emit light as long as it moves. The bacteria can survive for about two days, but Van Dongen has managed to push that to three weeks so far. The goal is to develop a way for the bacteria to survive for longer and find actual practical applications for such ambient lighting.
Before turning to design Van Dongen studied biology, which explains her interest in using bioluminescent substances. She’ll also explain why waves such as the one in the picture above emits light the way it does.
The idea was to build an experimental office environment where people didn’t have to sit at a desk all day, which is said to be unhealthy for long periods of time. In this space you can lean, perch yourself, lie down or use bits as makeshift table to read, etc.
Dutch studio RAAAF and artist Barbara Visser first started working on the concept earlier this year. They were invited to create this – their first working prototype – at Looiersgracht 60, a new exhibition space in Amsterdam.
I wouldn’t want my laptop sliding off a surface so when I see one in the picture, I wince. Some of these surfaces look too high for shorter people, which makes them look like counters. I think it’s an idea worth exploring and maybe the surfaces could even have tech built in like subtle screens with clocks and some Wi-Fi.
Shandrick Elodia, the ‘most amusing bus driver of the Netherlands’ from Enschede was sacked recently for safety reasons. By sacked, I mean not rostered anymore to work, as he didn’t have a permanent contract.
“Are you ready for the ride of your life?”, he would ask depressed passengers and then chat on the microphone and play music like Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and Tom Jones’ ‘It’s Not Unusual’. Everybody loved this guy, but he was way too much for his employer.
At some point, Elodia needed something more challenging and wanted to do something about all those sad faces boarding his bus. He once startled an old lady by wishing her a nice evening on the microphone and kept going from there.
Sure, Elodia should have followed the rules (only greeting people) and just done his job or quit and find something else — he is the first to admit that. Elodia has a degree in industrial design, and according to him, his global vision of ‘making poverty cool’ ended up spilling over into his work as a bus driver. “When you’re poor, you have to make due with rubbish products. When I drive up in my happy bus next to some guy in an expensive Mercedes, he sees how much fun the ‘poorer’ people are having and wishes he was in my bus.”