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DDW dreams big in Netherlands

November 1st, 2017

One of the most visited exhibits at DDW was a colorful house that can be moved into different configurations. Photo: DDW

Founded in 2005 but steeply growing ever since, Dutch Design Week (DDW) celebrated a new edition in the city of Eindhoven in the Netherlands, showcasing during nine full days the work of more than 2,500 designers in 110 different venues.

This year, the festival spanned everything from the predictable graphics, product and furniture expos and graduate shows, to an exploration of more surprising and imaginative topics such as the future of food design, and how we convey intimacy in the internet age.

Today’s world is complex and poses enormous challenges,” said Martijn Paulen, director of the Dutch Design Foundation, organizers of the festival. “Designers have revolutionary ideas and innovative solutions for the future, sometimes inspiring, sometimes confrontational.”

The initiative started as a non-commercial fair where design, industry and business could talk to each other on ‘neutral’ ground. Since then, the event grew rapidly each year, more than 250,000 visitors attending the multiple exhibitions, workshops, seminars and parties at many venues.

Among the must sees of the festival, visitors highlighted the “Materializing the Internet” exhibition, which showed how lives have become under surveillance, using videos and displays. At the same time, many chose to visit the “Embassies of the future,” which focused on growing issues such as health, data, urban transformation and climate change.

Digital designers had plenty of activities to focus on as well. There were masterclasses by experts such as digital sculptor Maarten Verhoeven, who showed how to design organic shapes for 3D printing. Creatives and industry leaders discussed the future of Dutch design, while many also enjoyed a virtual reality exhibit.

Over 600 events took place across the city because of DDW, which ran from 21st to 29th October. This year’s theme was “Stretch,” with the exhibitions and events trying to show ways that designers are trying to make a difference, from proposing new methods of recycling to exploring sustainable approaches to construction.