Social Design at DDW 2019 | by Giusy V. Castaldo
‘Marriage Matters’ exhibited at TAC during Dutch Design Week 2019. Photo by Kamil Parzychowski.
Dutch Design Week ’19
by Giusy V. Castaldo
Dutch Design Week ’19
A yearly event in the Autumn, that is not to be missed, is the Dutch Design Week. Every year in the third week of October, DDW (Dutch Design Week), proves to believe in the ability of designers to lead the innovations that the contemporary fast-moving world needs. DDW offers the opportunity to experience the work of talented young designers as well the latest technical innovations. Interesting thematic pathways for this DDW edition included digital, bio-design, art, public space interventions and social design.
As there is a growing number of critical social challenges in our communities it’s facinating to focus on social design for its contribution to improving human well-being and livelihoods. Dutch Design Week is full of proactive responses to social issues. Creatives are uncovering strategic new ways to think about public space and foster interaction and connection in them.
The Social Design Route
The Social design route stands-out for its effort to respond critically to the complex technological, political, economic and social changes which the contemporary society is experiencing. The Social Design Route explores how designers can empower social inclusion and bring people together as communities. This aspect of design occurs when designers openly claim that the prime objective of their work is a social aim. It has an important role in the contemporary society because it develops products and services to reflect and to solve social problems. In short, it can be seen as an altruistic impulse to benefit society.
Chairwave | VOUW Studio
At DDW a compelling project, called Chairwave, was presented Strijp S (Klokgebouw). Designers Justus Bruns and Mingus Vogel from VOUW Studio showed how CHAIRWAVE challenges people to communicate and to say goodbye to the lonely seat i public spaces. Chairwave is a series of chairs that encourages people to start talking to each other. It creates the perfect moment to encourage conversations between strangers. The moment someone sits down on Chairwave, the seat next to the person unfolds. By being unfolded as such, it is presented as the only option for the next person to sit on. Travelling by train, waiting for the bus, or taking a break in between all the activities, the CHAIRWAVE stimulates the emergence of a conversation between strangers.
Marriage Matters | Alice Wong and Aryan Javaherian
At TAC (Temporary Art Centre) | in Eindhoven town centre, outside the main venue, Alice Wong and Aryan Javaherian present ‘Marriage Matters’. In an multi screen installtion the Chinese media show a negative image of young unmarried women. Society perceptions and common sense can be uncontrollably altered by media. Age and gender, that are part of the human nature definition, can be felt as ‘problematic’. In this work, it’s clear as Chinese culture still plays a significant role in Alice Wong’s work and, at the same time, she touches something much more penetrating: namely how reality is shaped. The artist focuses attention on this specific cultural determined issue, and in doing so inspires a transformative change, highlighting the role of individual and the collective. Marriage Matters intends to prove how public perception actively can change social topics and impact specific life.
Out of Order | Laura Hoogenstraten
A remarkable reflection on a particular social disease comes from the Tilburg based Laura Hoogenstraten with a work named Out of Order, Out od order was shown at Klokgebouw. In the contemporary days, mental illnesses are becoming more common, The age at which these deseases manifest themselves are also declining. laur Hogenstraten’s project, Out of Order, focuses on depression, a disease not directly visible from the outside. It’s a difficult topic that is often handled with shame and fear. With this project, Laura was looking for making this disruptive and invisible disease accessible and negotiable. Laura Hoogenstraten started looking for a place in the society that we all know as that is not associated with depression. A place that increases the contrast between the pleasure and enjoyment of life and the suffering of people with depression. “Out of Order” is a playground as a metaphor for cheerfulness and carelessness. A group of black dysfunctional playground equipment is shown, allowing the viewer to experience the powerlessness, discomfort and the struggle of depression. The experience she has created aims to evoke understanding and dialogue.
Social Design Talk
To enforce the attention on the social design and its possibilities, on the 21th of October it was possible to participate in the Social Design Talk. During the Social Design day,, best practices in social design were explored by Designers and experts. They investigated how design can reinforce the social practices, heighten understanding of specific issues, create an inclusive society and promote new behaviours. We discovered how diverse the field really is and what is involved. Participants amongst others Rick Nijkamp, Nynke Tromp, Jop Japenga, Julia Veldman, William Voorberg, Nieky Liebregts, Tove Elfferich. Daniëlle Arets associate lector Journalism and Innovation (Fontys Tilburg) moderated the talks.
DDW organizes and promotes emerging and established designers by exhibitions, talks, award ceremonies, networking events and special parties. The Dutch Design Week takes place in more than 110 locations all over Eindhoven. In 2019 more than 2600 designers gathered to present works and ideas to more than 350,000 visitors.