Dutch design has long attracted the interest of the industrial design community, starting in the 90s with the appearance on stage of stars like Hella Jongerius and Marcel Wanders. Today, the design landscape is verdant with a new generation of designers being celebrated as rising talent at this year’s edition of the Parisian Maison&Objet show, now in its 25th year and taking place September 8-12. at the Paris Nord Villepinte Exhibition Center.
Chosen by a jury of world-renowned female designers, the distinction was awarded to four individual talents and two designer duos. (Chantal Hamaide, founder of Intermuros magazine, participated in the selection of the jury.) The jurors include luminaries like Kiki Van Eijk, herself a graduate of the Design Academy Eindhoven and co-founder of the Kiki & Joost studio; Weiki Somers, co-founder of her eponymous studio; designer Ineke Hans; and — news flash! — Hella Jongerius, color expert and designer extraordinaire at Jongeriuslab.
While Dutch design remains synonymous with experimental and conceptual design, its definition has expanded to include an international roster of students and designers trained or based in the country…thus Dutch design is also a state of mind. In the interests of sustainability (see: all waste reused in the creations of these manufacturers) and collaboration, the new generation of Dutch designers are extending their reach.
Materiality is the star of Atelier Fig’s collection of ceramic bowls and candle holders called Gravity. Studio members Ruben Hoogvliet and Gijs Wouters use liquid clay over an initial foam armature to build each object’s dripping coating. The foam is then consumed during cooking. “The porcelain is extremely fine,” notes Wouters. “The technique is at the limit of the possible. One misstep and it all comes crashing down.The resulting forms are therefore a lesson in impermanence.
Studio Hanna Kooistra
Hailing from De Westereen in the North of the Netherlands, Hanna Kooistra looks to traditional Dutch furniture objects and shapes for inspiration in her own designs. For example, the traditional Dutch chair “knopstoel” (its name refers to the bulbous knob at the top of its prongs) works as a folding option intended for wall mounting, a portable version of a classic style.
Théophile Blandet generally works with aluminium, which can be remelted and recycled, or plastic scraps from local factories. He imagines that the plastic material will one day become rare, like ivory, and will thus regain its value. Handcrafted pieces fall somewhere between functional furniture and sculpture, like his silver fountain room. Théophile says: “My objects refer to a multitude of different things that already exist. This is what distinguishes them and explains their complexity.
Studio Yoon Seok Hyeon
Born in Cheongiu and having studied at Kookmin University in Seoul before Design Academy Eindhoven, Seok-hyeon Yoon of Studio Yoon Seok-Hyeon considers environmental impact in his design work. His Relaxing Configuration project translates knotting skills to create rugs into repositionable shapes intended to replace the standard sofa concept. Her DAE graduation project, Ott, focused on alternative glazing materials for clay that can make the material recyclable and laid over tree resin.
Visser & Meijwaard
Having founded their Arnhem-based studio in 2013, juror Ineke Hans describes Visser & Meijwaard as “some of the few people I’ve seen over the years who have a real mastery of product design”. With a background in fashion, it’s no wonder Visser & Meijwaard’s designs tend towards bold hues and clean lines. Standouts include their LYN cabinet for glass furniture maker Pulpo and a kaleidoscopic rug for Dutch brand Moooi.
Simone Post, born in Utrecht and based in Rotterdam, grew up with sewing machines at home and tends to focus on textiles for her work. For example, she created the Sinuous collection of rugs for Kvadrat/Maharam in yarns made up of five colors, a line of upcycled rugs from repurposed Vlisco fabric scraps inspired by the sides of industrial fabric rolls, and even floor coverings for Adidas made from repurposed sports shoes. According to Simone, “My design always starts with the material, never with the end product in mind. I see the act of playing as the most important aspect of the design process.
Receiving the Rising Talent for Craft award is Sanne Terweij. Selected by the president of the Ateliers d’Art de France, the artist compiles photos of aged and blistered doors from all over the world as a source of inspiration for her wall sculptures composed of hundreds of metal shards in degraded colors. The designer says, “The way color can change your mood really fascinates me. It has so much influence on your mental state.