Left Jet Scholte
Middle Frank Winnubst
Right Gerdiene van de Pol

Djim Berger

Eva Gevaert

Eva Gevaert

Frank Winnubst

Frank Winnubst

Anne Wagemake

Left Mieke Meijer
Right Lex Pott

Harm Rensink

Left David Derksen
[b[Right[/b] Re-kwi-siet - Bart Hess, Harm Rensink and Esther de Groot

Mandy Emmen

Wendy Legro

Christian Kocx

Alice Schwab

Guy Königstein

Digna Kosse

Design Academy Eindhoven

11th January 2010

WGSN's Materials team visited Eindhoven during Dutch Design Week; in this report we highlight work from the Academy's 2009 graduates and alumini, showcasing thoughtful and innovative work from BA and MA product design students. Students at the Design Academy have a very strong antenna and each year the graduation show gives us an insight into their view of the future, whether it be through material choices, product or emotional design. This year is no different, and picked up on by many of the students is the fact that the world is calling for old, almost forgotten processes and techniques to be re-evaluated and given a new lease of life. The best of the old and the new are being brought together, and students have embraced such thinking in their final projects, through memory, technique, material and/or technology. WGSN's Materials team highlights key themes emerging from the show, looking specifically at interesting and unusual material choices as well as innovative design thinking.

Ceramic surfaces Materials inspiration: Design Academy Eindhoven

By far the biggest material and surface message across Dutch design week, many students explored both the beauty and resilience of ceramics as a material or a surface covering. Pared-back and simple, the ceramics of choice offered up a purity of thought that was key to the show. Textile made fragile by Djim Berger plays with our perceptions of hard versus soft and delicate versus robust. Wool yarns are pulled through and coated in porcelain clay and fused together to create a thin blanket which is then fired in the oven. The heat burns the wool off leaving behind a delicate wool-like ceramic exterior. Suggesting the shelf itself becomes a precious object, Berger sees the shelf as the perfect place to display valued items while being a display piece itself. KP107F is the product number of a type of porcelain. Paring it back to its simplest form, designermaker Eva Gevaert explored the characteristics and possibilities that porcelain affords as a material. Driven by the material and the process rather than the final product, she went about experimenting with different thicknesses in order to create the perfect misfired bowl. Intrigued by what would go wrong during the casting and firing process, Gevaert used five moulds and experimented with laying filled moulds on their sides to create varying thicknesses within one form, or let the porcelain slip, weighting the vessel in one direction or another, simply trying to create new forms and visually stimulating material experiments within the constraints of the five moulds.

Weird materials
Embracing the ideal that process dictates form, designer Frank Winnubst has experimented with different materials to, as he says, 'surprise himself'. While experimenting, he discovered that by pouring resin into balloons he could create weird and wonderful shapes and forms, or "Manufractals", as he terms them. What is exciting about his work is the organic process by which it has come about and the resulting new material aesthetic. Also pushing the boundaries of material exploration is designer Anne Wagemaker with her project, 'Delicatessen'. A materials study inspired by still life paintings of food and tableware, Wagemaker has kneaded, dripped and manipulated epoxy clay, epoxy resin and polyester to create new forms that together become a series of objects that make up jewellery pieces or weird and wonderful still life studies.

Fitting entirely with the overall ethos of pared-back simplicity at the show, wood and copper were two materials of choice. Used in very simple ways, modern thinking and processes updated the simple beauty of such materials. Wood is given a playful and sophisticated twist at Dutch Invertuals by designer Mieke Meijer, with her 'Alter Ego' cabinet, a cabinet that has a split personality. A multi-faceted cabinet, it houses five other cabinets in one, while the 17th century arm chair design laser-etched onto its doors offers a glimpse to its other personalities. Working with MDF, Bart Hess partnered with graduate Harm Rensink to design a dressing-up wardrobe. Using household bleach and cutout dusters, they have created a faux-animal-print on MDF for the decorative inside of the cabinet doors. To counterbalance this they have patterned the front using a geometric design using hair peroxide. What is interesting about their work is the simplicity of the materials used: the interplay of mundane domestic items such as dusters and bleach and the theatrics of an ornate dressing cabinet. Fragments of Nature by Lex Pott explores the natural beauty of wood and plays with the formality and manmade perfection of industry and nature. Inspired by the wood-processing industry, whereby a tree is felled, stripped of its bark and branches and then cut into a geometric form, his table and bench showcase the finest that this industry can offer in perfect order, partnered with nature's finest. Perfectly cut and planed wood surfaces are paired with naturally formed tree branches that are left almost in their natural state. Being reproducible was an important requirement for Pott as the point is that he is celebrating the uniqueness and varying beauty of wood.

Letting the material tell a story, David Derksen's Copper cabinet is constructed from 0.1mm-thick copperfoil, giving it a structured yet fragile look, with the folds in the foil almost reminiscent of paper. Also showcased at the Re-kwi-siet exhibition - a collaborative project between Bart Hess, Harm Rensink and Esther de Groot - traditional theatre lights are updated and given an exquisite appeal in brushed copper. The lights offer an interactive element too, flashing more brightly in response to the camera flashes of visitors to the exhibition, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of a professional photography studio. Memories Sustainability is no longer a luxury, but rather a prerequisite to almost all design decisions - not just in terms of material choice, but also in unearthing old traditions or bringing an emotional attachment backto products, encouraging the user to keep them for a lifetime. Entitled 'Portable Memory', the work of graduate Mandy Emmen is thought-provoking not only in terms of the materials used - wood, metal and resin - but the poignancy of her understanding of the relationship between the touch or smell of an object or material and its assosciation with our memories. Having been collecting objects all her life with a memory attached - pleasant or otherwise - Emmen was inspired to create three bangles into which you can put an object, a photograph or a letter. Each of the armbands are the same shape but vary in the choice of materials from which they are crafted.

Rapid prototyping
New technologies have an unmistakable effect on the work of designers and since the inception of rapid prototyping it has had a profound effect not only on the possibilities of designs, but also in luxuriating ABS and HPS polymers. One designer who has used the technology to create a beautiful object is Wendy Legro, with her Morning Glory light. The lamp, which consists of solar panels, nylon thread, LEDs and a rapid prototyped formation, brings light into the home at night. During the day the flowers are closed and let the sun in through the window, absorbing the solar energy. When the sun goes down the flowers bloom and give out light. Such a product makes the transition between the inside and outside very natural and is a delicate balance between nature and technology. In a similar vein, inspired by nature and light, Christian Kocx's Flower 001 lamp opens and closes like a flower in response to the sun. Warmed by the heat of the light, the lamp opens and closes in response to its usage. Its delicacy and appeal comes from the ABS it is printed from, which is almost reminiscent of ivory.

String art
Threads and string art-inspired designs were in abundance during Dutch Design Week, either as part of designs or to curate exhibition space. WGSN - Creative Intelligence 25/11/2009 11:39 http://www.wgsn.com/members/ Page 9 of 9 One designer who used the technique as an informative as well as decorative part of her design was Alice Schwab. Her wall hanging, Living Graphics, showcases all the social connections that we make every day. Pegs connected into the wall allow users to disentangle one connection or thread from the other and to create an order based on emotional links such as your personal relationships and how often you come into contact. Her work is a visual expression of social networks, both in our real and virtual worlds. Also using thread to map out relationships is Guy Königstein. Mapping his family tree and his subsequent relationship with members such as his siblings and his father, Königstein has given each member a coloured reel of thread that literally weaves out a pattern as they move home, come together again and entwine during family conflicts and reconciliations. Recognising that the word 'knot' in hebrew is the same as 'relationship', Königstein adds an emotional level to his threaded loops and knots. Taking a completely different approach is designer Digna Kosse, whose minimal dress is more of a statement on the consumption of fashion than anything else. Paring back the dress to its barest form, she has used threads to highlight how a dress can be at its most skeletal, yet remain feminine and recognisable.

WGSN comment
What is clear about the work showcased at the graduation show itself and the surrounding shows that make up Dutch Design Week is the connection between design and the user. The designers don't focus purely on design itself, but the understanding of the relationship between man and product - and this is what makes the work unique and so inspiring.

Contact Design Academy Eindhoven Tel: +31 (40) 239 3939 info@designacademy.nl www.designacademy.nl © WGSN 2009