October 2, 2015

Van Nelle in Rotterdam gets its own coin

Filed under: Architecture,Design by Orangemaster @ 11:51 am


Former coffee, tea and tobacco factory Van Nelle in Rotterdam is getting its own coin, the fourth in the Dutch UNESCO coin series. The factory is also the 10th Dutch site to be included on the UNESCO World Heritage List, a list that also includes Utrecht’s Rietveld Schröder House and the Kinderdijk windmills in South Holland.

British-Dutch designer Kianoosh Motallebi was inspired by the building’s characteristic style and the goods it traded. Acclaimed architect and photographer duo Robertson and Yerbury called it ‘a poem in steel and glass’, while Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier once praised its ‘purity and uncompromising clarity’.

Three different versions of the coin are available, a Proof .900 fine gold €10 coin (1,500 coins), a Proof .925 fine sterling silver €5 coin (12,500 coins, shown here) and a Brilliant Uncirculated silver-plated copper €5 coin (250,000 coins). The coin features King Willem Alexander on one side and the factory on the other.

If you travel by train to Rotterdam from Amsterdam or Leiden, you can see the factory on your left, on the Delfshavense Schie waterway.

(Links and photo:,

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September 20, 2015

Sleeping in a life-size sand castle hotel

Filed under: Architecture,Design,Dutch first by Orangemaster @ 9:27 am


Inspired by European ice hotels, two pop-up hotels (‘zandhotels’) made out of very 1000 tons of compact sand have opened in Oss, Noord-Brabant and Sneek, Friesland, which are already fully booked for this year. However, you can visit the one in Oss until 28 September and the one in Sneek until 4 October during nearby sand sculpture festivals.

The hotel’s basic structure is made of thin walls, covered inside and out with reinforced sand for sturdiness, while basics such as the shower, bathroom and bed are made out of normal materials.

Some media are calling it a world first, we’ll stay in our sandbox and call it a Dutch first.

(Links and photo:,

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August 22, 2015

Clothing made from recycled ocean plastic

Filed under: Design,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 8:13 pm


Dutch denim label G-Star Raw together with music artist Pharrell Williams have teamed up to design an entire range of clothing made from recycled ocean plastic. The RAW for the Oceans collection for the Autumn-Winter 2015 line for both men and women features a stylish jellyfish logo that pops up in amusing places on the clothing.

“The garments in the collection are all created using fabrics developed in collaboration with textile company Bionic Yarn [whose creative director is Williams] and environmental group Parley for the Oceans, an initiative that encourages creatives to repurpose ocean waste and raise awareness of the growing issue.”

(Link and photo:

August 19, 2015

Oxboard self-balancing device to conquer Europe

Filed under: Design,Technology by Orangemaster @ 1:22 pm


Earlier this year Dutch company Oxboard launched a two-wheeled, self-balancing transport device that looks like a cross between a Segway without handlebars and a skateboard. It uses four gyroscopes that correct balance in real time, allowing users to go backwards and forwards, and spin around. The Oxboard’s maximum speed is 15 kilometres per hour and a full battery can transport you for 20 kilometres.

Currently only available through the company’s website with a price tag of 799 euro, Oxboard was designed in Eindhoven and is manufactured in Asia. It is both for business and pleasure, and will soon be presented in Berlin at a major trade show in order to entice the rest of Europe. Although not my cup of tea, I can’t find anything really wrong with it except for the prohibitive price, which might go down eventually.

In 2008 the Segway had speed and permit issues in the Netherlands, something the Oxboard most probably won’t have to deal with.

Watch this kid rock the Oxboard:

(Link:, Photo: Oxboard)

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August 11, 2015

Dutchman designs DIY surgical robot

Filed under: Design,Science,Technology by Orangemaster @ 10:34 am


London-based Dutch designer Frank Kolkman, a graduate of the Royal College of Art, has built an open-source device that could enable ordinary people to perform keyhole surgery on themselves, aptly entitled ‘Open Surgery’.

This DIY surgical robot was made using 3D printing and laser cutting technologies, and would be suited to do surgery on the lower abdomen, procedures including prostate surgery, appendectomies or hysterectomies. The device would normally be controlled by a person and in this case, using a PlayStation 3 controller to be able to move in all directions.

“Open Surgery investigates whether DIY surgical tools outside regulated healthcare systems could plausibly provide a more accessible version of healthcare,” Kolkman explains. His idea is to demonstrate that medical innovation can come from outside the medical field, as more and more people from first world countries turn to medical hacks that can be found on YouTube.

It cost Kolkman 5,000 USD to make the device, and at the time of filming, he claims that an appendectomy in the US costs 10,000 USD, while a professional surgery robot costs 2 mln USD.

(Link and screenshot:

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July 30, 2015

Aircraft that could fly Amsterdam to Perth non-stop

Filed under: Aviation,Design by Orangemaster @ 1:34 pm


KLM and Delft University of Technology have presented designs for an aircraft that could transport passengers non-stop from Europe to Australia. It looks like a flying squirrel swallowed a hammerhead shark and then an Airbus or a Boeing, you choose.

This AHEAD (Advanced Hybrid Engine Aircraft Development) aircraft, would carry 300 passengers over 14,000 kilometres, about the distance from Amsterdam to Perth. Its design features two sets of wings – a small pair by the nose and a large set at the rear – that blend into the body. The team also proposes a hybrid engine to replace conventional turbofan engines.

KLM has previously worked with Dutch designers Hella Jongerius and Marcel Wanders to create cabin interiors and tableware.

(Link and photo:

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July 27, 2015

Students repurpose fruit and veg for designer products

Filed under: Design,Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 12:32 pm


A group of students at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam is currently working on making leather out of fruit and possibly vegetables for their graduation. The ‘Fruitleather’ project claims to deal with ‘one of Rotterdam’s biggest social issues, food waste’.

The group claims that market sellers in and around Rotterdam throw away approximately 3500 kilos of rotten or other unsellable fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. The goal of the project is to repurpose all that food that isn’t trash in their view by producing large-scale amounts of fruit leather and turning them into different products.

Do the products smell of fruit? Won’t they be eaten by bugs or animals? How sturdy are they? What about actual vegetables? It would be nice to know more.

(Link and photo:

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June 24, 2015

Tree-shaped bike racks to adorn Utrecht for Tour start

Filed under: Bicycles,Design by Orangemaster @ 11:28 am


Just in time for Le Grand Départ of the Tour de France in Utrecht in early July, tree-shaped bike racks called ‘Rack & Roots’, designed by award-winning student Esther Bergstra will be placed around the city.

“By parking your bicycle against these strong roots, you’re reminded of the world under the tree. Trees are a special addition to the urban landscape and together they form an urban forest.”

In the mean time, there’s still much construction downtown Utrecht as the world’s biggest bike garage dominates much of the construction landscape near the train station.

(Link:, Photo

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June 21, 2015

Henry the sign painter (video)

Filed under: Design,General by Branko Collin @ 11:43 pm

henry-sign-painterHenry van der Horst from Zeewolde hand letters signs for outdoor markets all over the Netherlands.

Two graphic designers met him while he was out working and partnered up with him last year. They built a website to sell his signs (his “5 Euro Super Deal” costs 39 euro) and created the video above (subtitled in English). Check also another video of Van der Horst creating a magazine cover.

(Link: Trendbeheer; photo: crop of a screenshot of the video)

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June 10, 2015

The art of noise reduction at Schiphol Airport

Filed under: Aviation,Design,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 2:11 pm


Visual artist Paul de Kort was asked a few years ago to design the Buitenschot land art park, a huge 33-hectare park with a series of ribbed hedges and ditches surrounded by trees that form a noise-reduction green space right off Schiphol Airport’s biggest runway, the Polderbaan. Sadly, you can’t see the park from the air and that would partially explain why I’ve never noticed it before.

The airplane noise experienced by nearby residents is mostly low frequency ground noise that radiates backwards in an oblique fashion from planes during take-off, and De Kort’s aesthetic yet functional park of furrows was inspired by 17th century German acoustic techniques as well as local farming techniques.

Completed in October 2013 Buitenschot features small parks, bike paths and foot paths. De Kort also incorporated art pieces that drew on the history of the project, like the ‘Listening Ear,’ a parabolic dish on a small pyramid one can stand in that amplifies ambient sound, echoing the park’s noise reduction purpose and a diamond-shaped lake where visitors can create ripple patterns on the water surface while standing on a bridge equipped with a wave generating device.


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