Dutch Design Week returns to Eindhoven (October 16-24, 2021), with a city-wide program of events, exhibitions and initiatives marking its 20th anniversary. The theme of this edition, “The Great Number”, responds to humanity’s dependence on growth. Divided into four sub-themes, the projects explore the subject through ideas, research products and proposals.
Dutch Design Week 2021: the big numbers
The theme of the 2021 event is inspired by the Italian architect and designer Giancarlo De Carlo, who coined the expression for the 1968 Milan Triennale, of which he was the curator. For this event, the theme was chosen to “pose the question of the increase in the world population, the conquests of modern science and the gap between Western abundance and poverty in the Third World”. The exhibition was destroyed a few days after its opening, by a group of students who joined the European-wide protests that year and saw the Milanese institution as “the embodiment of elitism. “.
The subject is still very topical in 2021: ‘With this theme, on the one hand [we] claim less, ”reads a statement presenting Dutch Design Week 2021.“ Less consumption, less production and therefore less waste. On the other hand, we know that less is not always possible and that when it comes to more it should be better.
With this premise, designers and creatives were invited to reflect on the current state of the world and consider the pandemic as well as themes such as the climate crisis, inclusiveness and well-being. “Designers want to make a difference: to think of completely circular products, to introduce new forms of local production or to design products that make consumers think about the use and real value of the product,” the statement continued. “Designers are essential in this exploratory and experimental phase. They can use their imaginations to design a changing society.
Ambassadors of Dutch Design Week 2021
Floris Alkemade, Natsai Audrey Chieza and Christien Meindertsma have been appointed ambassadors for Dutch Design Week 2021. Each will develop a unique project for this year’s event, offering a personal interpretation of “The Great Number”. Every year, personalities from the field of design are enlisted as design advocates and assume the role of design ambassadors with specially organized projects in Eindhoven. According to the Dutch Design Foundation, “the nominated trio represent like no other the modern and most urgent voices in the design field of today and tomorrow”.
Design destinations to discover in Eindhoven
‘Between the no-more and the not-yet’ in Kazerne
“Go with the Flow” by mother and daughter duo Jet and Pieke Bergmans in Kazerne. Photography: Ruud Balk
Kazerne’s 2,000 m² exhibition space is housed in former military barracks connected to an industrial warehouse, and the spaces will showcase design talent under the title “Between No-Longer and Not-Yet”, with works by Adaptism, Jet and Pieke Bergmans, Social Label, Giulia Pompilj, Edward van Vliet and Teun Zwets, among others. Beyond the design week events, Kazerne is a design destination in its own right, home to eight luxury hotel rooms, a design boutique and two restaurants, making it the perfect destination in the city.
Avenue Paradis 8
Photography: Ronald Smits
Dutch Invertuals and The Future Laboratory have joined forces to explore how design can foster cities of balance: “future urban areas where collective ownership, flowing identities and nature have the power to thrive”. The project combines the forecasting expertise of the Future Laboratory with the power of Dutch Invertuals to imagine and build on those ideas. “We need to rethink our relationship with objects and our role as designers in our society,” says Wendy Plomp, design director of Dutch Invertuals. Exhibits in the exhibition include “Hortulanus” by Johanna Seelemann, taking into consideration the upkeep, change and degradation of our everyday objects through nature-centered technologies and production materials, and the concept of “no -design ”by Wen Zhan developed through a series of street furniture objects made from materials found on the streets of Hong Kong.
Avenue Fuut 12B
The factory and the hotel of Piet Hein Eek
The ‘Night Watch’ room, for night shifts, designed by Teun Zwets
The creative destination of Piet Hein Eek is a must visit in Eindhoven. His workshop-factory is open to visitors, with a restaurant, a boutique and a showroom that allow guests to explore the world of the Dutch designer. Since October 2021, he has extended his reach with a hotel (located in the same block as his factory, housed in a former Philips ceramic workshop), showcasing some of his iconic design motifs and produced in collaboration with local designers including Studio Rens and Teun Zwets.
Factory: Halvemaanstraat 30
Hotel: Beeldbuisring 201
“Until then” by Kiki & Joost
Designers Kiki Van Eijk and Joost van Bleiswijk present a show that reflects the optimism and healing qualities of the manufacturing and creative processes. “The exhibition is a cheerful and energetic presentation of our unique pieces,” they say. Dubbed “Meanwhile,” it includes new collections for Maison Dada and Moooi, an installation for the Queen of Hearts Foundation and the results of a design residency at Cor Unum.
Gabriel Metsulaan 1
Van Abbé Museum
The Eindhoven Museum of Contemporary Art is hosting “Budget Airlines” (until November 14, 2021), a project of the Geo-Design exhibition platform in collaboration with Design Academy Eindhoven. The exhibition explores the impact of low cost airlines in the world, on humans, the environment, politics and the social climate. “Over the past three decades, the airline industry has undergone dramatic changes due to the tactics and mechanisms behind these low cost carriers,” say conservatives Martina Muzi, Joseph Grima, who collected proposals in the part of an open call to Design Academy alumni to develop the project.
Design Academy Eindhoven Graduate Fair
Benedetta Pompili, Converser with Matter, Master Social Design
The Design Academy Eindhoven Graduate Fair is one of the unmissable highlights of Dutch Design Week, showcasing the work of graduates with bachelor’s and master’s degrees. This year’s iteration includes the first edition of the Critical Diversity Conference, addressing the topics of diversity and inclusiveness in art and design education.
Beursgebouw, rue Lardinois 10