Dutch Design Week 2016: Top five graduation projects

The Design Academy Eindhoven graduation show is the heart of Dutch Design Week, one of the most thoughtful and inspiring events on the design calendar. Right now, the world needs smart thinking and great, intuitive, optimistic design, and Eindhoven has it in spades. From wearable tech to materials innovation, here are our top five graduation projects, straight from De Witte Dame.

Andrew Grincell

Soothing by Andrew Grincell

Hearables – augmented hearing devices – are one of the hottest areas in wearable tech at the moment, having just hit the market. Andrew Grincell’s take on the product is Soothing, a modular device that fits snugly over the head and in the ear to provide a sort of mindful hearing. Sound intake is displayed via smartphone, to help you to understand when noisy surroundings or loud audio could be at risk of damaging your hearing, and there’s also a filter function that allows users to tune out background noise or amplify the voice of the person they’re talking to. Wearable tech that actually solves a problem? Now we’re talking.

Lisa van den Heuvel

Aer by Lisa van den Heuvel

Continuing the thoughtful takes on wellness that have been a key theme at Dutch Design Week over the past few years, Lisa van den Heuvel‘s project, Aer, brings natural purifying and clarifying ingredients into the home to cleanse the air. Delicate pendant filters are filled with activated charcoal, sea salt-infused water is put on display in pure white bowls – so that its evaporation can work its magic on our skin and airways – while generous helpings of soil in ceramic pots provide the final touch for the naturally healthy home.

Bart Joachim van Uden

Marble Earth by Bart Joachim van Uden

Chipboard usually comes decorated with an imitation print that attempts to mimic real wood grain. Bart Joachim van Uden‘s project, Marble Earth, zooms out on this logic and suggests that instead of birch and oak effects, we decorate our furniture with images from Google Earth. The colourful topographic prints – some resembling veined white marble, some looking almost carved – lend a rather more grand feel.

Alica Pola Knabe

Woven Warmth by Alica Pola Knabe

Working from the feeling that bath spaces should be warm and welcoming, yet are all too often cold and angular, Alica Pola Knabe has created a pair of towel heaters with gently rounded outlines and plaited felt textures that will hold on to their warmth as the heater cools. The felt decoration also helps to filter the air of the bathroom and absorb humidity.

Tamara Orjola

Forest Wool by Tamara Orjola

Tamara Orjola‘s beautifully tactile investigation into materials centres around pine needles, an untapped resource with huge potential – 600 million pine trees are cut down in the EU each year, but the needles often go unused. Forest Wool harnesses techniques such as steaming and pressing to turn pine needles into soft textiles, durable composites and tactile paper. The resulting stools are sturdy and sleek, tapping into the ongoing shift towards Beautiful Waste – sustainability that looks and feels great.

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