I heart Dutch Design

17Jan10

I’m planning a recce to the Netherlands to try and find out why Dutch design is so clever.  I’ve been looking at Slow Design and environmental issues for designers and realised that the Dutch are so far ahead of the pack. Why is this?  

I was fortunate enough to interview one of the Netherlands’ leading designers years ago for an arts television programme I was making for S4C – the Welsh language channel. Tejo Remy creates new designs out of discarded objects.  I will get a transcript I hope of the interview I made with him.  Here are some pics of his work.  These pieces were designed back in the 1990’s.

Chest of recycled drawers

 

Rag chair

 

‘ve found this book Dutch Design a Historyby Mienke Simon Thomas.  It’s helping me discover why Dutch design from the last 20 years was/is so revolutionary.  I guess you could categorise them as Thinker-makers, or as Thomas describes them, “meaning givers”.  The revolution started in 1992 at an exhibition at Gallery Marzee in Nijmegen. The catalogue states that the designers ‘pieces of furniture are not solely a chair, a table or a cupboard. They are designed ideas and experiences reflecting everyday surroundings and furniture art itself.’  Designers showing at that early exhibition were Tejo Remy, Jurgen Bey, Jan Konings and Marcel Wanders – they became the design stars of the design label Droog.
At the beginning, Droog were concerned with transforming old products into new ones, as exemplified by Tejo Remy’s designs seen to the left.  
                                                                  The next phase was simplicity, illustrated by Dick van Hoff’s tap.
Thomas states [Dutch Design History] that van Hoff ‘detests over-designed products such as taps that only start when you put your hands underneath them.’
Thomas states that Droog reached their zenith in 2000 with the Droog do create collection: a series of products to be finished by the consumer [love this]. A metal cube by Marjin van der Poll was supplied with a mallet, the buyer had to smash the cube to form the shape of a chair.                                     These designs were favoured by critics and were museum bound.  I would be interested in how successful the products were commercially?  Did they actually instigate a change of view in the Dutch consumer?  
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