Wednesday afternoon. After a smooth ride from Germany we arrive in the centre of Eindhoven. Last years report on the Dutch Design Week had its impact in Ingolstadt. Close to Italy the Bavarians normally look south for inspiration. Milano is just a couple of hours drive. This year it is different. We travel in a pack to the city of lights. The coming days I guide my colleagues through the vast amount of design related exhibitions and ateliers. A plan by the minute, full of interesting meets and greets, inspiration and spontaneous happenings, trying to get a grip on what's dutch.
Eindhoven. Energy. A city on the move. A wide spread section of the city formally in the firm hands of a local industrial player called Philips has turned into a playground for start ups and creative heads. Once again, a comparison with Berlin turns up. An urban landscape that re-invents it self every year. Ateliers today, lofts tomorrow. As we park our car in Strijp S, we take a look at the bobcats stripping down an industrial compound that housed one of last years events. Next year this place will be "exciting lofts at the epicenter of a creative environment". Your bio, herbal, tea to-go will be served around the corner, located a bricked building block of the industrial era.
Craftsmanship meets tech. Material explorations. Witty statements with a tongue in cheek approach. Scale up, invert, surprise, the classical tools of the Dutch attitude. Wood, glass, colors. Say cheese. Mix, sample, re-invent.
To cut it short the exhibition is all about design led by technology with a strong human or personal touch. The bias tends to the customized and crafty. Laser cut, check, bio degradable, check, one offs, double check. The story behind the object is in the foreground.
Concepts I have seen last year have been transformed into new objects. "Why are you taking a picture of my cupboard?" Because of the birch finishing! A continuation of a theme. Visiting the DDW for a couple of years means seeing the shifting tectonic plates. Last year the seat, this year the table. Talking directly to the makers and their intensions is what is the the interesting part.
Meeting designers. Proudly they present their work. Every now an then I bump into people I have seen before during my academy years. I have turn left, they right. A bright yellow bench made of fire hoses. Broken pottery glued together with gold, keeping the sweet memory of heritage and childhood alive. The phenomenon of magnetism turns a lamp into an attractive toy. Simplicity works!
Connections are the glue in the design equation. Re-connecting used materials, steel, wood, ceramics, paper. After a couple of hours my camera is filled with images and impressions. There is so much to see. What I miss in general is a high tech, industrial approach. It is the individual, low tech, crafty things that turn heads in Eindhoven. This is just the beginning so let's wait for the final judgement.
The end of day one. The weather is mild and the sun sets. We discover another building that is close before its final tear down. A relaxed atmosphere and cheap drinks. The theme is about City Hacking. Beautiful installations displaying the urban landscape, presented in statistics, models and pure poetry. The DJ plays a jazzy tune as we walk from room to room.
The improvised meets architecture. An almost anarchist feeling, comfy and disturbing at the same time. Creativity needs destruction. Welcome to Eindhoven. A city on the move! Next year this place might be your loft,. Let's enjoy the time in the meanwhile.