next Dutch powerhouses only fill magazines

Re: “Dutch Design the next 10 powerhouses”

OK, What do these REAL design icons

  • The Mini (the original one)

  • The Eames Lounge Chair

  • The Apple i-mac
    have in common?

  • They are actual products!!

  • They have been icons for years

  • They are (mass)produced

  • People can buy them

The people behind them are not Artsy Design Academy students that make one-offs and live of all kinds of government funds! These are artists, not designers (most of them). So if you want to identify the designers of the future, please look beyond the design magazines and the elite design exhibitions and visit the shopping mall.

Koen van Niekerk

You really need to look into how the Eames built up their practice (ever heard of Cranbrook?) and then you would understand what the Design Academy is about.

–end of rant–

this trend of industrial arts vs. industrial design seems pervasive in design coming out of the netherlands.

marcel wanders is an excellent example. while i enjoy his and others work for droog, it’s 99% boutique work that is design for designers. on the surface, this is fine. however, in the long run and to the general public, it has a tendancy to belittle the complexity of our work.

on this same note, stark’s work for target was a failure.

a whimsical lamp or chair has its place yet it is not at the heart of ‘industrial’ design.

I got the sense, from something I read recently, that even though the products didn’t sell, it was a fantastic growth experience for Target’s own design culture and perhaps (?) they don’t regret it. Not sure where I read this, and someone else can probably point to the proper source. But sometimes bottom-line sales volume isn’t the only reason to do something like that.

You know, the Dutch are plotting to take over the world. First they infect all the elm trees and then they cut all the kitchen doors in half. Shhh, I think I hear them coming in thier wooden Nikes.

to stevep’s comment,

I also heard something along the same lines. Somewhere in Target’s headquarters is a banner that says: “There are no failures, only expenses.”

I think the world of design is large enough to include the work of the Dutch. Sure, its easy to be envious of the government support of design there, but I think the design culture that is happening there can only push boundaries for all of us. The craft/floral work of Hella Jongerius, Wanders and Tord Boontje have influenced a new crop of British designers-see I.D. magazine a couple months ago.

A friend and mentor illustrated the stereotypical difference between an artist and a designer: The artist goes to the studio when there is no work to do, the designer only goes to the studio when there is a project brief.

So the lines between art and design look a little blurry, so what? Does creativity need to be so compartmentalized?

who cares how you define it, much of the work is interesting and contains value.

A product designer uses ideas to design products.

A conceptual designer uses products to design ideas.

and can be the same person…

Funny thing is, the disdain doesn’t go the other direction. All of the conceptual designers I have taalked to (including the dutch) have great admiration for the complexity of mass production.

I think the next design powerhouse will be someone with a great ability to self-promote. The country isn’t really a factor.

The Dutch have gotten some design headlines because of their designers ability to work as artists. Artists in the Netherlands get public support (welfare if you will) to concentrate on creating their art rather than working two jobs and doing art on the side. Great idea if applied sparingly. This government support allowed Dutch designers to be more daring.

Looking at the next 10 powerhouses look alot like the last 10 to me. Very simple neo-modernism housewares, lighting and furniture. Surprisingly no computer case-modders. What a shame artsy-designers haven’t tried to break out of that barrier! Any artsy-designers out there, please take this as a challenge, not an insult.

and then they dont let us pay for our dates.

“going dutch” cheap bastards…

and then they’ll convert all our women into dykes. run damit run!

look at who picked the 10 powerhouses- it’s a furniture and home objects retailer. Of course they would pick the people they did (who design home objects and furniture)

I think the next power house will be our neighbors to the north. Those smart ass Canadians have been slowly, consistently hammering out great intelligent design that combined both “art design” with industrial design. I guess it is their socialized medicine and government subsidized education. F-ck they invented the Blackberry - those bastards!

mmmm the ART / DESIGN divide

Lets clear some things up. It is simply not the case that the dutch government throws money at young designers who have a few ideas and a hammer. The government is resourceful though. For example, they will rent disused properties to designers and artists at very modest rates so that they have a space to make their work. But this does not constitute welfare. They still need a job for other sources of income. Uncle Sam however, would rather tear down such properties in order to develop bland housing filled with bland appliances for the USA’s army of marketing and brand strategy types. No offense (got to stop hating, but you types do tend to annoy me)

I am a designer/artist operating within the same design culture as my dutch friends. I personally would love the opportunity to work on industrial goods. An artisan-al approach would make for very interesting results. I want to play with the injection moulding machine!. Us types are just as capable at working out draught angles, split lines and assembly procedures. Unfortunately, most manufactures and brands are risk averse and would rather play safe with bland ID and an expensive marketing strategy.

Funny thing about about the Canadians- a lot of the up and coming stars went to schools in-you-guessed-it Holland.

im sure they enjoyed the 'coffee" houses.

Care to name some of these rising stars?

Surprisingly no computer case-modders. What a shame artsy-designers haven’t tried to break out of that barrier! Any artsy-designers out there, please take this as a challenge, not an insult.[/quote]

remember the white box project by IDEO?

and the printables project, initiated by sam hecht and naoto fukasawa!

like apple’s approach with the i-mac, these projects were a beautiful way at looking at consumer electronics - liberating them so that they integrate nicely into our homes.

perhaps if manufactures gave these dutch powerhouses an opportunity in mass-production we will see interesting solutions with thinking that no industrial designer would ever consider.


Maybe 1 or 2 Canadian designers went to school in Holland, I dont think you can say that is a lot?