Material Insight Dutch Design Week 2023
#DDW is always an inspiration for material direction. This year I noticed more projects working with industrial and agricultural waste or simple raw materials. Designers showed that you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel to be innovative. This was an interesting change from previous years when there was more of a focus on new bio-composites. I found it fascinating how everyday materials were elevated to something aspirational.
Some of my favs (clockwise from large picture):
Studio RENS x Tarkett revealed the hidden side of linoleum. Such a clever way to update this often underrated material. Did you know that its main ingredients are linseed oil, pine resin, ground cork and sawdust, calcium carbonate and jute?
Rik van Veen‘s sculptural bench made of welded plastic tubes was a real eye-catcher. A great example of how collectables don’t have to be made from precious or scarce materials.
Studio WIES beautifully upcycled discarded vinyl tiles. MATERIAL IDENTITY CRISIS’ was a fitting title. Vinyl is always defined by the texture it is printed on, as Wies van den Maagendberg points out. Lovely work seeing non-recyclable waste as a resource instead of sending it to a landfill.
Collectif MONO has made wool sexy. They used local wool from Swedish farmers. Felted qualities are naturally water-repellent. Unlike materials derived from fossil fuels, microfibres from sheep’s wool do not harm the planet. Fantastic to see more designers rediscovering the positive qualities of #undyed natural fibres. At Milan Design Week 2023 I was already raving about Formafantasma‘s research project for Tacchini on the benefits of working with (merino) wool.
orange or red featured rattan in its purest form. I loved how it added texture and interest to this side table sculpture. Isn’t it beautiful how you can still see the wood texture through the transparent bright green glass? I have been a fan of designer Marieke van Heck ever since I saw her at Rossana Orlandi‘s gallery during Milan Design Week.
So to sum up, there is still a lot of potential to work with tried and tested, mundane materials. Another bonus is that recycling facilities are already in place for many of them.