Mining the Design Academy Eindhoven
A promising generation of DAE designers present their graduation projects during the 2017 Dutch Design Week
“Mined” seems an appropriate title for the 2017 Design Academy Eindhoven graduation show, which focuses less on final products and more on the inquisitiveness of the students themselves. Their presentations reveal their research, sampling, experimenting and investigating into the world around them, and what they can do within it.
From materials to the body and physical space to social engagement and community building, trauma, loss, and the environment, this next generation of designers seemed to bring a thought-provoking awareness to the fragility of humankind. Let’s dive in.
Johan Vilabrich (BA-Man & Well-Being) proposes attractive and more functional alternatives to cutting, putting on shoes and walking for the elderly in his project titled Elder, while Aurore Brard (BA-Man & Activity) has created a set of playful, intuitive tools that mimic familiar movements in cooking that can help stimulate memory for those suffering with Alzheimer’s in her project, Moving Memory. Evie Sparidaens (BA-Man & Well-Being) also looks at Alzheimer’s from the perspective of the caregivers and how to aid this profession and patients in research and film titled Hou Vast.
When it comes to environmental issues, we need to start with ourselves and our own consumption and behaviors. Léo Schulmberger (BA-Man & Well-Being) proposes a dry toilet that uses wood shavings and biodegradable bags so that all the waste is composted or recycled naturally. The speckled stone design is attractive enough to convince. Let’s hope that companies will see the advantage in Mirjam de Bruijn’s (BA-Man & Activity) project, Twenty, a simple and smart re-visioning of our everyday cleaning products. Did you know that 80% of the ingredients in most household cleaning products is water? By taking out the water and concentrating the solutions into soluble granules, a tablet and a liquid capsule to which consumers add water and mix, not only saves water but packaging and shipping as well.
Several students delved into the area of personal wellbeing, whether through Sara Kadesch’s (MA in Social Design), Playful Domestic Props which encourage us to be more emotionally engaged with our surroundings, helping to stimulate creativity and connection, or Timo Wuchner’s (BA Public-Private) Kur, a wall module made up of stacked blackthorn branches that capture salt water and naturally emit healing properties akin to being seaside. Nienke Helder (BA-Man & Activity) worked with paramedical experts and women to develop a set of sensory objects called, Sexual Healing, designed to help women reconnect to what feels good, and relieve fear and pain after having experienced trauma.
Community building and awareness was an important theme as well; Kim Hou (BA-Man and Communication), created an extensive project titled, About a Worker, in which garment workers from a French garment factory were asked to design and make their own line of clothing. Charlotte Kin’s (BA-Man & Leisure) Through Eyes project attempts to counter negative stereotypes and categories associated with troubled teens and seeks to remind them of their own value and contributions to the world and Dorota Gazy (BA-Man & Leisure), made a short film using dancers in a courtroom to re-examine preconceived judgments and try to bring a sense of humanity into the courtroom process for both victim and accused. Thom Bindels’s (BA- Man & Leisure) Desert Pioneer offers a possible short-term solution to helping refugees rebuild their lives and create a self sustaining garden.
There was plenty of intriguing projects around materials; Thoughtful investigations into plastics (Shahar Livne, BA-Man & Leisure in our cover image), jute (Alexander Marinus, BA-Main & Well-Being) and salt (Roxane Lahidji, MA-Contextual Design) proposed exciting possibilities, as did cow stomachs as luxury bags (Billie van Katwijk, Man & Leisure) and oyster shells transformed into an elegant collection of dishes (Marjolein Stappers, BA Public Private). With the impossible task of naming all of the projects presented in this show, it seems apt to end with Kosta Lambridis’s (MA-Social Design), Elemental Cabinet, which by combining dozens of creative choices onto one massive cabinet is meant to underscore the dilemmas of decision faced by designers.
In her opening text in the 2017 Design Academy Eindhoven graduation exhibition catalog, the Director of Education, Research and Organisation, Jurriënne Ossewold writes, “A mine is an abundant source. You are your own source and most important instrument. You work from your own personal fascinations, roots, history, compassion, vulnerability, talents, engagement and your connectedness to the world, near and far.” Prescient words of advice for graduating students- if not all of us who seek to understand the world and our place in it.