Category Archives: OVER THE FENCE

OVER THE FENCE

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No one home, a walk around the compound, a look over the fence. This is as close as we can get. Mind the dog. "Do you see those welding lines across the pillars? Top chop". Stacked polyester moulds sandblasted by the desserts winds of the Mojave. Future surrounded by history. That could have been  one of the police cars from the Robocop movie.

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Shaved. Car bodies reduced to their essentials, as flush as possible. Who needs door handles anyway? A white and crisp canvas over here, a rusty bucket over there. A landscape of projects. Where to start or…where to stop.

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"Pasadena find, old lady owned". What we are looking at is the gold mine of Gene Winfield's Rod & Custom Shop. A place where American car history is being recycled, remodeled and refined. Lower, wider, longer. Turning old sleds into the sleek sketches they once where on Detroit's drawing boards. Circle closed. And what about Gene? I did not have the guts to walk up to the door. It turned out he was not at home anyway, but that is on another page.

to be continued.

-Matt.


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RCA DEGREE SHOW, PART THREE

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The last stage this day. From story telling to material experiments. Architecture, ceramics, industrial and automotive design. Old skool chalk paper and rub on meet rapid prototyping. Funny enough it is the automotive section that returns to the aesthetics based on material properties. Folded paper, glass, metal origami. Inspirational. Don,t expect critical writing for this final wrap up, just enjoy the pictures.

-Matt.


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DUTCH DESIGN WEEK – PART THREE

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An afternoon at the Design Academy at the annual graduation show. A couple of floors are filled with fresh student work. Before we hit the floor we are warmly welcomed by one of my former mentors. Later on she takes us to the upper floor. "From here on you are on your own, pick your own high lights, it's impossible to see everything anyway".

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As every year the Dutch Design Week takes place when the whole region enjoys the autumn holidays. It seems everyone these days is a design expert. The place is packed and we slowly move from one stand to the other. For me it's homecoming, my colleagues have never been here before. One highlight we agree on is the app that shows where you have never been before in your own city. Your home town re-discovered. Strong, smart, simple, in your face.

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In Eindhoven you might need a second look to understand the students work. Subtle concepts and storytelling. The brief summaries are sometimes the eye opener. In general we sense a more serious and mental approach, away from the happy, witty and arty projects we have seen the last ten years. Yes, the emphasis is still on the material exploration and the manual handling of it. A bit more high tech would not hurt.

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Well being, wood, ceramics, taste, senses, metal, sustainable, simplicity, global issues, back to the roots.The boundaries between the different departments seem to blend into each other. Hard to say if these young designers have specialized during their studies. The designer as a practical intellectual. Will it be enough for tomorrows questions? We will see. Eindhoven has character and that is what counts.

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My highlight, and also the winner of some prices, is a big sphere made out of bamboo and plastics. A product for real needs. It showcases the Design Academy in a nutshell. Personal storytelling meets ingenuity. A low tech, simple to build mine field cleaner, propelled by the wind. In combination with a GPS device its random movements will be documented. As a child the designer lost his wind mobiles in the mine fields of the Far East. Circle closed.

- Matt.

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DUTCH TREAT

It's that time of year again – the days are getting darker and temperatures are dropping.

But not in this town, they're not. Eindhoven is the place of the action and the City of Light is warming up to welcome another Dutch Design Week – the tenth edition this year!

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The old Philips manufacturing- and R&D site Strijp-S has undergone serious changes in recent years. Formerly known as Eindhoven's own Forbidden City, the glorious past of this holy ground is clearly taken seriously by the local council, which obviously cherishes its cultural and architectural treasures that are so closely connected to the Dutch megabrand. Exclusive lofts are for rent, next to uniquely historical buildings with names like the 'Clock building', 'Machine room' and 'Boiler house'.

With the 'Design on Wheels' workshop as our main target for today (not in the last place for its fun social aspect – catching up with friends and colleagues), most of the visit evolves around this area of the DDW. Surely, other carfreax will report on the Graduation Show of the Design Academy later on – carfreak Rik and I stick to browsing the events on Strijp-S today.

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On this breeding ground of the Dutch lightbulb industry, it is only natural that a lot of work refers to lighting, often ornamental but sometimes rightfully clever. The smart and practical ideas are displayed side-by-side with the whimsically silly or totally crazy – but all are great to watch.

We see beautiful interpretations of patterns and structures, in various materials, from fragile folded paperwork to intricate hand-made jewelry – and a massive orange taped-up airplane. 

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The aspiration of authenticity is still all over the place. Honest materials – and usage thereof. Recyclability. C2C. What you see is what you get. 

And wood is still hot. Literally. Maarten Baas' burnt furniture is newly interpreted. The material is used everywhere, to great extent, sometimes meticulously and skilfully painted, but often shown with its natural grain visible, seemingly unfinished.

Other local hero Piet Hein Eek still has a clear impact on what seem to be many of his disciples here. His tried and tested pattern of tied-together stacks of furniture is also still present if you look for it. But newly interpreted. Evolution of revolutionary ideas.

Craftsmanship is shown in most of the one-offs we see. A questionable trend, with the cost of labour being anything but competitive in Europe. Will it last?

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Of course there is also fantastic and acclaimed consumer product design presented here, as there is attention for leading edge technologies. The biggest thrill of 'Eindhoven' however, is the combination of the traditionally optimistic and often audacious student work and one-(wo)man startups. 

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We hear that Milan is the place to be if you want to know what's going on – yet, Eindhoven will show you what to expect …in two years' time in Milan.

Of course we believe the hype :)

- Geert.

DUTCH DESIGN WEEK

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It is the end of october and I decide to take a couple of days of. The studio is filled with clay and modelers, tools everywhere. With a final information feed and a clear conscience I hit the train to Eindhoven. "Block in that rocker, next week we will do the refinement".


Since the beginning of the last century Eindhoven has been known for its light bulbs. In our post industrial era, production was moved to Asia and Amsterdam seemed a better location to set up the head quarter tents. The industrial city in the south of the Netherlands was left behind with a heart of empty production facilities. Nowadays the hometown of Philips has more to offer than consumer electronics alone. Design is the buzz word in Philips Town. Year by year the so called Dutch Design Week seems to get more serious attention. Eindhoven as the "little Milano" among the design minded?


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Spread out over the center there are many locations to visit. Galleries, exhibitions, openings etc. Furniture and other objects on the roof of Volvos. For a few Euros these "design rides" will take you everywhere. Friends first. With Floris I visit the Design Academies graduation show, followed up by a good night out with a bunch of dutch Carfreax. Fruitful discussions about design, cars and the future of our blog. 


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The whole week I left my camera at home, capturing the status quo of design by eyes, not by pixel. Before I return to Germany a last visit is paid to Strijp. This is the part of Eindhoven where things are really moving. Creative minds are taking over the old industrial sites. One of the historic Philips buildings has been transformed into a design fair. Down to earth and with a smell of the industrial era different design offices present their work in a relaxed atmosphere.


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Rik, his son and i take our time to get inspired. Furniture, textiles, colors and materials. Desaturated palettes and a wide range of ceramic experiments. Foamed, sand blasted, burned, polished. 2010 will definitely be mango meets teddy bear! Four hours and two hundred pictures later I plunge into my seat as the train leaves the station. Enough food for the brain, enough design for a while. Finish that rocker tomorrow morning…ceramic finish, why not?


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UN-WHEEL!

This one goes out to all the bike designers among our community. Danny MacAskill skillfully displays what your contraptions have to deal with in "wheel life". Unreal imagery combined with a lovely soundtrack, poetry in motion. What a fantastic mix of control, style and guts! Goose skinned I have been watching, glued to my screen!

 

And yes, this little flick perfectly fits to our new "over the fence" category