Dutch Design Week 2015: Top five graduation projects
By Sarah Housley

From the poetic to the practical, there was a wide range of exciting ideas – but they were all united by a keen sense of how the present will become the future. WGSN Lifestyle Editor Sarah Housley reports

Oct 20, 2015

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Dutch Design Week has carved out a reputation as one of the design industry’s most cerebral events, and at the centre of all the happenings is the Design Academy Eindhoven‘s star-making graduation show. This year’s stand-out projects run from playful to melancholy, poetic to practical, with one thing in common: a keen eye for the present and how it will become the future. Here are five key provocations from the show on how we might be living next.

A toy-hacking kit for the home
Thinking that children’s toys have become too readymade, David Van Der Stel set out to create an alternative option that invites creativity and active play. Hackjes is a toolkit of useful components like wheels, connectors, propellors and trumpet horns, which together can turn even the most mundane of household goods into an amazing toy. Equipped with Hackjes, everything from PVC pipes to broomsticks becomes a potential playground.

David van der Stel

David van der Stel

Rugs that improve with age
Adrianus Kundert Van Nieukoop‘s project Ripening Rugs turns wear and tear into a selling point. The surface layer of each rug conceals another colour underneath, so that as the top yarn becomes thinner, another element becomes visible. Each of the three rugs does this differently: one is made with double-wrapped yarn, with a top layer of gold that splits to unearth a base layer of red; another is topped with fluffy crimson fibres that reveal an orange base as they begin to clump together. Instead of becoming devalued as they age, these rugs start to come into their own.

Adrianus Kundert van Nieuwkoop

A clock that slows down your perception of time
The Greeks had two words for time: “chronos” meaning exact time, and “kairos”, human time. Thinking our world is based far too much on chronos, Wout Wolf Stroucken explores the richness of kairos with his clock, O. Instead of numbers and hands, time is conveyed through colour, which emanates from the centre of the circle like the rings of a tree. Tapping into our growing need to slow down and savour the moment, the clock is entrancing to watch.

Wout Wolf Stroucken

Tools for melancholy
Nel Verbeke‘s project Embracing Melancholy puts forward the idea that melancholy has as much a place in our lives as positivity and mindfulness, and can be equally helpful in terms of self-exploration. She has created a series of tools that give melancholy a role within the home, including a mirror fitted with memento mori, a metallic disc for moments of active contemplation, and a monolithic totem shaped to cocoon the body.

Nel Verbeke

Nel Verbeke

Nel Verbeke

The (much more discreet) future of wearables
Rather than a chunky headset that takes you into virtual reality, Lucas Teixeira proposes wearables that fit discreetly onto the skin and help sharpen and focus the mind in real-life. “Hos” is a concept wearable that enhances ways of thinking: tucking it behind the right ear boosts creativity, the left ear for focus, or place it on the forehead to deepen meditation or bring about lucid dreaming.

Lucas Pinheiro Teixeira

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Dutch Design Week 2015: Top five graduation projects
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Julia Jacob
Oct 22nd, 2015

I adore all of these, esp. Ripening Rugs and Embracing Melancholy. Now that I’m thinking about it, I can see why we should try to embrace unfavourable feelings; they are a part of us as individuals – we shouldn’t be frightened of them! The products that have come out of Verbeke’s work suit the sobriety and calmness of her subject perfectly.

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