British advertising agency D&AD have recently announced this year’s winners of their D&AD Pencil Awards for creative excellence in design and advertising, and the Netherlands nabbed seven awards this year, three less than last year. Studio Joost Grootens picked up a coveted Pencil award for the design of the new Dikke Van Dale, the “oldest and most extensive dictionary of the Dutch language”.
The pearly white cover presents a major break with the familiar dark hues [dark blue, maroon, etc.] traditionally used by the publisher. This signals the current association between the pursuit of knowledge and our use of white and silver digital devices as the portals to information.
With Almost 5000 pages of knowledge and in its fifteenth edition, this year the Van Dale was also fitted with navigational elements such as colours, symbols and illustrations.
Designer Jacqueline Storm has embarked on a project to make a drawing of a different iconic Dutch subject every day.
Some of her subjects such as wooden shoes and the king are perhaps a bit clichéd, but that makes it the more interesting to see if she can keep it up. How many things exist that simply scream ‘Dutch’? We’re about to find out.
Storm started her project on Facebook on 19 April and so far she has covered subjects ranging from Miffy to black liquorice to fries with mayonnaise to the national bird, the black-tailed godwit. At the time of writing she has created 12 drawings in the series.
For those of us who can’t still still, imagine sitting or moving around in your chair and charging your mobile phone at the same time. Thanks to Dutch designer Nathalie Teugels, you’ll be able to do just that: her chair called MOOV has 288 piezoelectric crystals under the seat cushion that produces electricity when it’s compressed.
Teugels was told way too often to ‘sit still’ and instead of catering to that, she decided to design something that would embrace the fidgeting, especially people with ADD. In fact, sitting upright in the chair can charge it up as well, so it’s a win-win for anyone sitting down. The chair is currently a working prototype, so we’ll have to sit tight for a while until we can get one.
If someone could do that with the utterly useless and annoying habit of pen clicking, I’d be a tad less misophonic. I actually carry pens around to switch them out to people who click them.
Dutch designer Dave Hakkens has created devices described as ‘a solution to plastic pollution’ that people can download and build themselves. The series is called Precious Plastic machines, which uses everyday materials and basic tools Hakkens says are available around the world.
Precious Plastic machines include a shredder, extruder, injection moulder and a rotation moulder, which can all be used to turn waste plastic into new products. Hakkens first showed prototype versions at the Design Academy Eindhoven graduation show in 2013, and has spent the last two years refining the designs.
Hakkens wants to deal with the reported 311 million tonnes of plastic waste humans create every year, of which less than 10 per cent is actually recycled. “A lot of things we have are made from plastic. It’s used everywhere, but it also ends up everywhere, damaging our planet.”
In late 2013 Hakkens partnered up with Motorola in order to create mobile phones to combat electronic waste: not throwing out an entire phone and swapping out a broken component instead.
This aluminum gradient chair on display in New York in 2014 was the second in a series of three chairs that researched microstructures for furniture. According to Laarman, it was designed and directly laser sintered in aluminum, basically creating a lightweight aluminum foam that is engineered on a cellular level to address specific functional needs for different areas in the object. The solid cells in the design create structural strength and rigidity while the more open cells create material reduction and lightness, all within one printing technique.
For anyone like me who usually finds ceramics dull, Dutch designer Floris Wubben of Eindhoven has found a way of making ceramics cool. He created a rotating flame-throwing device that makes exciting textures on his ceramic pieces.
A wet ceramic piece is placed on a rotating central stand, where an adjustable semicircular arm holds a blowtorch. The blowtorch then applies a flame directly to object’s surface, creating all kinds of patterns.
Wubben is able to control the flame, the distance and the speed at which the blowtorch hits a ceramic piece, creating cooler patterns than you’d normally see on ceramics. Wubben has produced bowls, pots and cups with different glazes in collaboration with Cor Unum ceramics studio of Den Bosch, Noord-Brabant.
Last year in Southbourne, England, a wall of valuable Delft blue tiles (not the ones shown here) worth up to £50,000 (roughly 64,350 euro) was uncovered during the demolition of a Victorian house. The wall had 256 tiles in all, bricked in behind a fireplace. It was uncovered by a demolition expert who had also found tons of valuable letters and such during the demolition of JRR Tolkien’s former Poole home in 2008, many of which were located around the fireplace, the place to check.
“The remarkably well-preserved collection of hand-painted tiles includes some decorated with patterns, biblical scenes, rural settings, animals and colourful birds.”
Five Dutch students of the Delft University of Technology are designing a back pack with a plant in it which would replace the use of gas masks in polluted cities. “The bag allows fine particles to be filtered out and cleans the air,” said team leader Marnix de Kroon. It provides instant fresh air to the wearer thanks to a filter that sifts it through the roots of a plant inside the back pack.
Plant-wise, “it seems that aloe vera may be a possibility,” De Kroon explained. An expert was quick to cut the plant bag idea down, claiming it wouldn’t be useful and the filter itself could ‘weed out’ 99.9 percent of the fine particles.
The team still believes that in cities like Beijing and Tehran, which have serious pollution problems, could be their main market. After all, the prototype did bag a Dutch design prize.
Stalaclights are bulb shades that look like famous buildings designed by Dutch designer David Graas. A play on words with the mineral formations ‘stalactites’ (stalagmites are the ones on the ground pointing upwards), these bulb shades are 3D printed and resemble some of the first skyscrapers of New York, Chicago and more. The shade can be placed over the bulb, as the lighting is LED and therefore doesn’t burn through.
Graas also makes street furniture you can laser cut and 3D print out yourself. The “I’m Too Sexy For The Sidewalk” series consists of three different furniture designs you can download for free and produce yourself using cardboard found on the street.
Not a month goes by in the Netherlands without some sort of animal-related scandal. Why not then be a glass hall full kind of person and take bird flu-infected chickens to create an urn, for starters?
Dutch designer Emilie van Spronsen researched that if you heat a dead, infected chicken up to 70 degrees celsius for just three seconds, you’ll kill the H5N8 bird-flu virus it has. The country has killed a lot of chickens to prevent this disease from spreading, but Van Spronsen felt like the dead chickens might be of some use. “I brought a last homage to these H5N8 bird-flu chickens by transforming them into design materials and ultimately by designing objects with the materials.” Her work was displayed in October during Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven.
The H5N8 urn was printed in 3D using a combination of ash collected from cremated chicken remains and clay, and features a spiky exterior that resembles the virus as seen under a microscope.