Annalisa Rosso reports from Dutch Design Week

Self Unself

By Annalisa Rosso

Not able to get to Dutch Design Week myself, I got pretty excited when I found out Annalisa Rosso was planning on attending, and asked if she'd like to report back with a couple of posts for the blog. Here's her first post, reporting from the Design Academy Eindhoven graduation show 2013: Self Unself.


Like every year, Dutch Design Week begins for me with a visit to the Design Academy to stock up on the energy and enthusiasm of young graduates presenting their projects. The theme of this year's edition, Self Unself, explores the connection between the personal, the subjective, and the collective, the supposed objectivity of the multiform counter movement emerging in present-day society.

As always, the array of projects leave sediment in my mind and I have to let them grow to see what will happen. For the moment, here is a selection of the 10 that, for one reason or another, captured my attention.


#1) Artificial Atmosphere Design by Bart Eysink Smeets

This ironic project captured a lot of people’s attention during the graduation show. The A.A.D. (Artificial Atmosphere Design) is nothing more than a fake man, comfortably seated with a nice smile, displayed in three color variations. Does the fake man have an impact on the birthday party? Is his presence felt as he sits by the hospital bed? These questions are deeper and more interesting to me than they first might seem.



#2) A Strange Symphony by Philipp Weber

As his first time working with glass, this young German designer searched for the help of a master glassblower in Liège. While watching him at work, he decided to redefine the glassblower’s pipe by adding three valves, like on a trumpet, transforming the entire process into a music act. The valves activate three air chambers in the glass, enabling the glassblower to shape the glass from inside. A great way to reinterpret the craft traditions!



#3) Settings Of Connection by Sanne Ree Barthels

How comfortable do you feel in front of a camera and a mic? Sanne Ree Barthels explains, with her three mobile interview units, that an intimate physical space can be more helpful than verbal communication alone. A mini-kitchen for making apple pie, a rollator (or walking frame) bench equipped with knitting supplies, and a seat with a hooded hairdryer: in this case, each caters to varying degrees of the disease Alzheimer’s and can be witnessed in-action in a series of filmed sessions with patients. Heartwarming.




#4) Thanks For The Sun Series by Arnout Meijer

This project allows users to experience light of varying warmth and intensity within a 24-hour cycle, adapting the temperature and character of the light in their rooms. Bright white light during the day to help you stay alert and concentrate, while warmer, soothing light during the evening to help prepare for the night’s sleep.


#5) Kawara Bench by Tsuyoshi Hayashi

How do you recycle ceramic waste? When the glaze on Japanese roof tiles becomes cracked and the edges are not smooth, they often end up being smashed and used in road construction. This poetic and functional project preserves the wonderful properties of these tiles, such as their smooth curve, unique texture, and their durability and suitability for outdoor use.


#6) Leather Nudes by Renske Verbeek

“Wearing the bag close to the body, it becomes part of it, like a new limb,” Renske Verbeek explained to me. She molded the leather while still wet to create an illusion of soft folds like human skin and glued the seams together to create a subtle join that retains the simple beauty of the product.


#7) Screw Yourself by Tsung-Yih Hsieh

Screw Yourself is a collection of facial jewelry inspired by toy blocks and held in place with screws. The designer explained to us that the face is a playground for grown-ups, and that there is a mechanic inside every man. In my opinion, this project is a great way to discover and become more confident with your own face, even with the parts that you don't like.

DDW_07aofficial Copyright: Design Academy Eindhoven

DDW_07bofficial Copyright: Design Academy Eindhoven


#8) Dystopian Brutalist Outerwear by Martijn Van Strien

Awarded with the Keep an Eye Grant Prize and my personal favorite, this back-to-basics collection for harsh conditions considers the worst-case scenario. Made with minimum cost and effort from a single piece of heavy-duty black tarpaulin, it uses only straight cuts and sealed seams. The style is inspired by Brutalist architecture, giving it a linear and fascinating look.



#9) The Union Of Striped Yarns by Dienke Dekker

The designer has used three different techniques, ranging from industrial weaves with hand-dyed yarns to hand-weaves with industrially printed yarns and simple weaves based on two twined ropes. This gives textural depth, evoking seemingly random overall effects and intriguing color patterns creating a range of outspoken textiles fit for a variety of different products.



#10) Humane Traps by Bas Kamp

This set of five traps offers users a choice: death or live removal. You can check the traps regularly and relocate the live vermin away from your living space. Or you can terminate their life cycle: the trapped vermin can be eaten by a natural predator (a cat or bird, for example), or killed instantly without the use of any poisonous substance. In any case, a compassionate good idea.



All images are courtesy of Annalisa, except the images for #7 Screw Yourself which are courtesy of © Design Academy Eindhoven.

  • Text by

    • Annalisa Rosso

      Annalisa Rosso

      Annalisa is a freelance journalist, trendsetter, and independent curator often hired as an Italian correspondent on design and contemporary art. She is curious about everything, always looking for something new. Because unrest is a good engine.