Highlights from Dutch Design Week 2022

1 Collective Doh Exhibition Photo Landscape 300dpi

Once again, Elementa visited the annual Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, and below are three favourite exhibitions from this year’s edition. The selected exhibitions reflect on the role and agency of the designer, and on ways of performing critique.

Collective Doh (Plan-B)

Collective Doh is a newly started collective consisting of Design Academy Alumni. The exhibition at Plan-B during this years Dutch Design Week was the first collaborative exhibition as a collective. In the words of the group itself, “As a way to respond to the pattern of puking solution-looking answers in front of great urgency, the collective initiates to start from narratives of the individual's entangled reality. Interested in the permeability of literature in their lives, each artist implies the method of essay writing into their design practice.”

Celebrating Nothing Min Kyung Seo Landscape Hi Res

‘Celebrating Nothing’ by Min Kyung Seo is a visual and spatial installation that seeks a sense of liberation from reality through obsessive and detailed observation. Sober observation invites to break the preconception and imagination of a familiar scene.

Photo: Pierre Castignola

Object Verb Chanbyul Park Landscape Hi Res

Humans live in three dimensions but have a habit of recording in two dimensions. In this exhibition, Object Verb by Chanbyul Park records the daily life between humans and objects in three dimensions.

Photo: Pierre Castignola

Link to video!

Oxymoron Atelier Seung Hwan Ji Landscape Hi Res

The project Oxymoron Atelier by Seung Hwan Ji is a visualization of the artistic identity across art, craft, and design. This work, which blurs the boundaries of the art category, excludes the functionality of objects and becomes the outcome itself with a sculptural character.

Photo: Pierre Castignola

Barbie The New Classic Yongwon Noh Landscape Hi Res

Yongwon Noh's project Barbie: the New Classic is a series of design practice completed by adding structure to the objects collected by the artist, and deals with the artist's attitude toward discarded objects.

Photo: Pierre Castignola

Waving Home HI Kyung Eun Landscape Hi Res

Waving Home by Hi Kyung Eun deals with contemporary life where individuals continuously move around and repeat the acquisition and loss of their homes. In the process of converting a physical house into an abstract painting, and then again into a spatial installation, the work invites people into the portrait of an imperfect home.

Photo: Pierre Castignola

Waving Home HI Kyung Eun Detail Hi Res

Waving Home by Hi Kyung Eun, detail

Photo: Pierre Castignola

Onomatopee: “Design in Conversation” & “Despise design, all bless the Fair!”

This year Onomatopee hosted several exhibitions, including “Design in Conversation” and “Despise design, all bless the Fair!”. In the first Onomatopee invited five designers to respond to questions such as “What should a designer know?” And “How do their different expertises and critical understanding inform their practice?” by crafting an object and reflecting on how they think and work. The featured designers were Bruno Baietto, Ramón Jiménez Cárdenas, Flora Lechner, Eleonora Toniolo, Jannis Zell & Lisa Ertel.

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Ramón Jiménez Cárdenas

“This image contains two objects, the reference to the equipal and the object on which the sentence is written on: the petate. The equipal (náhuatl: icpalli) could be considered the first chair with modernist ergonomics to be made in the Americas; an object purely for sitting dating back to the 1500s. The petate on the other hand is a craft object and the first traces of it date back as far as the year 200. The production of equipales is closely tied to the arrival of the Europeans to the Americas. Before the equipal, the petate was the closest thing to a chair; a rug or carpet for the everyday. Not only would you eat and rest on the petate, but you would be born on it, and dead bodies were to be wrapped with a petate for burial. Europeans however demanded a strict separation between their bodies and the earth, hence the rise of the production of equipales and other sitting objects. In the Americas, this would become the first visual metaphor and living representation of a hierarchy between man and earth.

Photo: Ramón Jiménez Cárdenas

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Bruno Baietto

“Design defines the materiality of what is valuable or not, especially when it’s in contrast to what is designed to be discarded. From architecture to object design, classic materials such as marble, wood, ceramics, and glass are long-lasting; they used to support western social values, becoming signifiers of commerce, power and class. There, design plays the role of perpetuating those values through the way materials are shaped, either as forms to be respected and taken care of or as to be outlooked and discarded right away.

By forcing ‘valuable’ materials and processes to adapt into the often discarded, the set of furniture takes the shape of a physical Trompe Loil. By challenging the perception of what is valuable (or not) according to how materials take shape by design, cardboard and tape nudge the shape of furniture, outlining the materiality we left behind.”

Photo: Onomatopee

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In order to write on this petate, ducks were feathered. A textile application technique using thread and needle called plumon. The technique consists of twisting a thread while enclosing feathers from a duck’s chest, and (beforehand) dying the feathers with cochineal to achieve the red hue.”

Photo: Ramón Jiménez Cárdenas

The latter exhibition, “Despise Design, all bless the Fair!” is inspired by the seven deadly sins, and the collective exhibition targeted the monetized culture of design fairs and challenges the represented practices within. Via evocative performances the group of 14 designers presented the sinful side of design celebrations seen from the figurative teachings of Sloth, Pride, Wrath, Envy, Greed, Lust and Gluttony. The included artists and designers were The Ironing Board (Marta Ríos and Miguel Parrrra) (Pride), Hsin Min Chan and Shun-Chih Chang (Sloth), Ned Kaar and Scylla (Bianca Schick and Sofie Topi) (Wrath), James Grünfeld and Flora Lechner (Envy), Bruno Baietto and Sergi Casero (Greed), Xsenofemme (Ines Borovac and Ginevra Petrozzi) (Lust), Alejandro Cerón (Gluttony).

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Greed: Bruno Baietto and Sergi Casero

Veni, Vident, Vici

“While visibility has become a long-lasting concern among designers, the promise of working for exposure has become one of the main regulatory engines of design’s economic disparity. Either by encouraging precarious work conditions within the creative industries, or as sustaining the establishment of the design field and its few gatekeepers. Working for visibility has become a fictitious economy that stratifies the field upon the promise of an idealistic and alienated scenario of success. ‘Veni, Vident, Vici’ presupposes a physical visibility currency, and showcases its clashing materiality while being used in a current monetary system; it questions the structure that hides behind the promise, “hey, do you want some visibility?”

Photo: Gigi Totaro

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Lust: Xsenofemme (Ines Borovac and Ginevra Petrozzi

Secrets to Sell Your Design Services - Act II

”Design exists because of a very elemental human need to satisfy a certain desire for beauty, a lust for forms, a pleasure derived from owning. Design fairs, like Dutch Design Week, become places where designers sell themselves more than their objects, since objects alone are no longer enough for the voracious audience. Participating in a design fair, then, means entering a seducing waltz with curators, collectors, buyers. The designer itself becomes the desired object, while business cards and contact sheets are the currency.

In ‘Secrets to Sell Your Design Services - Act II’, design duo Xsenofemme embodies and performs their portfolios, CV, artists’ statements to tempt visitors into buying their design services.”

Photo: Gigi Totaro

— Working for visibility has become a fictitious economy that stratifies the field upon the promise of an idealistic and alienated scenario of success.
Bruno Baietto & Sergi Casero
Snoepwinkel 03

Lastly, The Snoepwinkel took place in a container on the Plan-B area, and was initiated by Ida Blichfeld and Anna Resei. The participating artists and designers were Adèle Vivet, Carlos Sfeir, Chongjin Chen, Clara Schweers, Ida Blichfeld, Meghan Clarke, Anna Resei, Tadeas Podracky and Thomas Woltmann.

In the words of curator, Pete Fung; “Does sugar-coating our designerly critiques make them more enticing and easier to swallow? The design world is so often weighed down with ambiguous exhibition texts, self-absorbed research projects, feel-good speculative proposals and fetishisations of craft. For DDW 2022, we challenged a group of thinkers, designers and makers to create edible design critiques: Some made literally from sugar and its associated ephemera, others looking at the complex social and cultural surroundings of candy: the desire, the addiction, the (un)sustainable consumption, the exploitation, the novelty and exchange. Visitors are invited to lick, suck chew, munch and enjoy the surges of dopamine as the critiques swim through their digestive tracts and seep into their subconsciousness. With this pseudo candy shop, we are interested in reimagining what shapes and forms critique can take within our contemporary culture. How do we move beyond preaching to the choir, inviting others into these often inaccessible subjects as a form of critical engagement with the public?”

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Bodily Effect by Clara Schweers

The technological advancement of cinema production today has resulted in a narrowing between reality and illusion. Materials of film are given qualities that are only possible on screen, while the continuous need to be pleasured visually is affecting our physical environment in unimaginable ways. Bodily Effect follows the pattern of deceiving consumers, manifesting itself as the object of our physical bodies - patiently waiting to be melted inside your month.

Photo: Chloe Alyshea

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Sweet Fall by Carlos Sfeir

Sweet Fall takes sticks of Birch, cultivated with sugar crystals, paying homage to the Birch tree’s role as a growing pioneer of the Northern hemisphere. Birch trees are sweet and bountiful carers - their bark full of natural sugar, known as Polyol, as they complete their life cycle, they fall and nourish their nearby areas, often paving the pathway for emerging species to re-wild forgotten lands.

Photo: Chloe Alyshea

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Monument of My Father by Chongjin Chen

Chongjin is fascinated by the monumentality of man-made objects. For De Snoepwinkel, she created a sugar monument of her father - a monument that is as much a mean of memories as an introspective contemplation - a process of making to understand what kind of person her father is.

Photo: Chloe Alyshea

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One Time Wonder by Tadeas Podrack

One Time Wonder is a set of three spoons that places emphasis on the unpredictability and more crucially, the unrepeatability of making. These objects are part of Tadeas’ approach in creating a new methodology of creation and a set of design principles that is based on emotional choices, spontaneity, and expressiveness.

Photo: Chloe Alyshea

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