Ventura New York: The Dutch Edition
Ventura Projects introduces the next generation of Dutch designers at Wanted Design during NYCxDesign.
Even as a new generation of talents enter the design discourse, Dutch Design holds fast at the forefront of process-based speculation and material exploration. Known for the wildly successful Ventura Lambrate – held in different venues throughout a Milan neighbourhood during the Salone del Mobile, Utrecht-based Organisation in Design has mounted similar showcases at London Design Festival, in Berlin and at Biennale Interieur in Kortrijk, Belgium. Adding to the list was last month’s celebrated Ventura New York, mounted at Wanted Design during NYCxDesign. The work of 14 Dutch designers were selected from the wide offering at April’s Ventura Lambrate based on three guiding themes: Cultural Diversity in Design, Unconventional Use of Modern Technology and The Use of Design Process as Final Products. All of the works on view maintained strong conceptual sustenance and artisanal finery.
The first New York edition didn’t just focus on the celebrity of Design Academy Eindhoven but other strongholds and shining talents found in Amsterdam, Den Haag, Rotterdam and throughout the Netherlands. The selection featured everything from the reuse of textile industry scraps for new domestic application – Post Vilsco by Simone Post – to new wool-knitted shapes for open structure lamps – Urchin by Rik ten Velden. Handmade Industrial’s biodegradable polymer Make & Mold RGB vessels, produced using flexible casts, were presented next to Rogier Arents and Bin Yu’s Heart Calligraphy project: a drawing machine that plots patterns based on the measurements of one’s heart rate. Also on view, Siba Sahabi’s multiple projects explored how archetypes from the shared and separate cultural histories of Europe and the Middle East could combine as new conceptual and functional designs. Between Two Rivers draws from the ancient Greek name for Mesopotamia as vases composed of layered strips. Cultural expression is also highly evident in Hozan Zangana’s Shaping for Intuition collection – equating the tradition of Kufic Script through the hands of storytellers and hence the hands of craftspeople. Truly the introduction of a new generation of Dutch designers was demonstrated in the Envisions initiative – 10 or more recent graduates pushing the limits of new and ubiquitous materials into new composite properties. Invention as much as postulation returns as a key attribute.
The softening of new innovations was well expressed in Daniel de Bruin’s This New Technology – which looks to provide a history before the advent of 3D printing. The machine allows for visible manufacturing through tried and true mechanics but also the possibility of deviation. No two clay coiled vessels have to be the same, as demanded by mass production. With Carina Wagenaar’s Life-size Medallions – unifying found objects and/or personal mementos into cameo-like wall displays – one is reminded of dutch design’s connection to the power of storytelling. Hongjie Yang’s Primitive Collection seems to meet at least two of the themes mentioned above. Extracting the condition of rarity from luxury to appropriate the Aztec tradition of bone craft, highly refined objects – created using lab-grown human material – express nostalgia but also an unconventional approach to technology. Clearly, these designers are looking to new solutions and technology – no through standard parameters – but through the mitigation of design, empathy, cleverness, personal interpretation and artisanal idiosyncrasies.