The best of Dutch Design Week 2021

From the Van Abbemuseum to the Dutch Invertuals, via the open studios at the Sectie-C creative district, Dutch Design Week 2021 wowed with its impressive design lineup.

by Salvatore PelusoPublished on : Nov 17, 2021

Critical, multifaceted and ever-evolving, Dutch design continually tries to push the boundaries of what we consider design. Dutch Design Week is the annual moment when the design community in The Netherlands showcases its cohesive system. The event allows the public to observe the entire arc of a designer's career, from student status to 'young talent' and then established designer. We have chosen five of the most memorable events of the 2021 edition, which took place from October 16 – 24, 2021.

Dutch Design Awards 2021

Dutch Design Awards 2021, Category - Communication: Stay Sane Stay Safe by Studio Lennarts & De Bruijn, Overdeschreef | Best of Dutch Design Week 2021 | STIRworld
Dutch Design Awards 2021, Category - Communication: Stay Sane Stay Safe by Studio Lennarts & De Bruijn, Overdeschreef Image: Courtesy of Studio Lennarts & De Bruijn, Overdeschreef

"The winners of the Dutch Design Awards 2021 mark a new impetus for the design world with a lot of innovation and the power to change. This year's winners underline that designers thrive on change and cross-pollination and radiates hopeful optimism,” says the DDA 2021 jury. The award and the corresponding design exhibition are undoubtedly a fundamental moment of synthesis for understanding the different souls of Dutch design, whose essence is always elusive and changing. The only factor that unites the projects is their ability to be a relevant and significant stimulus for the contemporary debate. Among the winners of the Dutch Design Awards 2021 we find furniture design that blurs the boundaries between physical and digital, eco-centric urban plans, digital platforms, recycled materials, social projects, communication campaigns... not only objects but mainly processes that interpret the present and aim to change it radically.

Design Academy Eindhoven: Graduation Show

Hsin Min Chan, To-be-looked-at-ness; Si Young Yang, Post-Replica, Post-Image. Graduation Show 2021, Design Academy Eindhoven, Dutch Design Week | Best of Dutch Design Week 2021 | STIRworld
Hsin Min Chan, To-be-looked-at-ness; Si Young Yang, Post-Replica, Post-Image. Graduation Show 2021, Design Academy Eindhoven, Dutch Design Week Image: Pierre Castignola

It is probably the highlight of the design week. The exhibition of new graduates at the Design Academy Eindhoven is the first big step in the careers of young designers and usually offers a lot of food for thought and original approaches to design. This is why it is highly regarded by Europe's leading gallerists, curators and advisors. The Graduation Show helps define and communicate the school’s agenda and stance on design. Bringing together work by over 180 graduates, the show reveals potential new futures, offers critiques on our current reality and engages with complex ideas about what design is, what it does and what it should do. One of the most appreciated projects was To-be-looked-at-ness by Hsin Min Chan. The concept stems from the personal stories of the designer, who underwent a traumatic experience of 24-hour surveillance during the pandemic. The sculptural dress functions as a kind of armour, transforming the wearer into an unapproachable, autonomous creature no longer owned or disciplined by the male gaze.

Objects for a New Kind of Society by Dutch Invertuals

Dutch Invertuals, “Objects for a New Kind of Society”, exhibition views, Dutch Design Week, Eindhoven, 2021| Best of Dutch Design Week 2021 | STIRworld
Dutch Invertuals, “Objects for a New Kind of Society”, exhibition views, Dutch Design Week, Eindhoven, 2021 Image: Courtesy of Dutch Design Week

“We need to rethink our relationship with objects and our role as designers within our society,” said Wendy Plomp, Design Director of Dutch Invertuals collective. “Objects for a New Kind of Society” presents 11 works from designers, who translated their vision into tangible design manifestations, giving shape to the world of tomorrow. The exhibition starts from The Future Laboratory's research on Equilibrium Cities. The group of designers explores how design can foster our future cities, where collective ownership, fluid identities and nature will thrive. As always, the set-up organised by the ever-changing group of designers is spectacular and manages to create a sense of unity and community.

Open studios at Sectie-C

Open studios at Sectie-C, Dutch Design Week 2021 | Best of Dutch Design Week 2021 | STIRworld
Open studios at Sectie-C, Dutch Design Week 2021 Image: Salvatore Peluso

Sectie-C is the true soul of design in Eindhoven. In the district you can not only find exhibitions, but you can fully immerse yourself in the creative universe of the city. It is an ecosystem that currently hosts more than 250 designers, entrepreneurs, craftsmen and galleries. During Dutch Design Week, the studios and spaces are open to the public and you have the opportunity to personally meet the professionals who work here all year round. For some designers, it's a chance to show off their latest creations, for others, it's simply a reason to clean out their space. The atmosphere is convivial and relaxed, making the location the best place to discuss design.

Geo-Design: Budget Airlines at Van Abbemuseum

  • “GEO—DESIGN: Budget Airlines. We Are All The Jetset”. Installation: Concluded Without Agreement by Sergi Casero Nieto. Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 2021 | Best of Dutch Design Week 2021 | STIRworld
    “GEO—DESIGN: Budget Airlines. We Are All The Jetset”. Installation: Concluded Without Agreement by Sergi Casero Nieto. Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 2021 Image: Peter Cox
  • “GEO—DESIGN: Budget Airlines. We Are All The Jetset”. Installation: Blind Spot by Flora Lechner. Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 2021 | Best of Dutch Design Week 2021 | STIRworld
    GEO—DESIGN: Budget Airlines. We Are All The Jetset”. Installation: Blind Spot by Flora Lechner. Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 2021 Image: Peter Cox

Geo-Design is a series of exhibitions organised every year by the Design Academy Eindhoven and the Van Abbemuseum, inviting the academy's alumni to propose research projects on a macro-theme identified by the exhibitions curator Martina Muzi and DAE creative director, Joseph Grima. The subject of this year's investigation is the world of low-cost travel: a cultural phenomenon, an economic and operational model that has radically changed the way we move around in recent decades. Geo-Design: Budget Airlines investigates the theme from various points of view: territorial marketing, cultural appropriation, environmental pollution, the effects on people's daily lives, the quality of work of airline employees... A unique composition of visions, research approaches and exhibition formats is thus created, inviting the visitor to look at the world in greater depth. “With the Geo-Design exhibitions series, I am not interested in finding a solution but in creating compositions of ideas that can co-exist despite being different, both in terms of media and in terms of meaning,” curator Martina Muzi told us.

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