Dutch Design Week 2020 :: 5 Sustainable Product Highlights

Dutch Design Week 2020 :: 5 Sustainable Product Highlights

Dutch Design Week 2020 :: 5 Sustainable Product Highlights

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Just a few days ago, the Dutch Design Week 2020 themed as “the New Intimacy” came to a wrap. The virtual edition of this notable design event was crowned with success. And I dare say that this year’s festival made it possible for people like myself who couldn’t otherwise attend, to access, roam and hence, absorb a lot more information than ever before. As a matter of fact, there is so much information readily available to suffice writing several posts. However, at this point I will be writing only two posts. This very first one will be on sustainable products that caught my attention, that surely designate the changes in the design industry.

Imperfect Perfection – Lionne van Deursen. A flatlay of biomaterial samples in various colors. DDW20.
Imperfect Perfection – Lionne van Deursen

The sustainable products I have selected fall under the concept: Materialized which is a collective exhibition from biomaterials to sustainable furniture hosted by the Isola Design District. Their common underlying theme is that sustainability will not only reduce waste, but it will promote a more meaningful relationship with objects, in the effort to gear towards a circular economy model. Therefore, it’s mostly about the underlying meaning of every product design that will pave the near future.

5 Sustainable Products on the Spotlight from the DDW20

Mykor by Valentina Dipietro is a biotechnology and design company which has at its core digital design and bio-fabrication inspired by nature. It strives for a cross-disciplinary approach combining design, biology and technology, to create a limited series of objects with a unique aesthetic, like this vase made from wood waste and mushroom mycelium. Objects like this have the potential to raise a greater awareness on how conventional raw materials are used.

One of 5 sustainable products on the spotlight from the DDW20. This is Mykor by Valentina Pietro.
Mykor by Valentina Pietro
Two vases made by wood waste and mushroom mycelium for Mykor by Valentina Pietro, as presented at the DDW20.
Mykor by Valentina Pietro.

Galileo by Valentina Rocco is all about a 100 percent recycled, 100 percent recyclable directional LED wall lamp. It is inspired by the moon and its circular movement around the earth. But, it’s more than statement lighting for it also serves as a reminder that our economy should also be CIRCULAR and not linear.

A LED stament lighting fixture that goes by the name Galileo by Valentina Rocco. All recycled, all recyclable.
Galileo by Valentina Rocco.

Suggested read: Circular Design :: A Window to Opportunity

Plus Minus 25°C, the temperature regulating curtain is definitely an awe-inspiring novelty. The curtain is screen printed with phase changing material and hence, no electricity is required as with other conventional devices. For temperatures above 25°C the microencapsulated PCM absorbs heat as it changes from a solid to liquid state. When the room temperature drops again the absorbed heat is released. So basically, with curtains like this you can rely less on cooling systems during the summer months.

Plus Minus 25°C. A temperature controlling curtain is a brilliant novelty - a sustainable product to be used in everyday living. Image credits: Anna Koppmann & Esmée Willemsen.
Plus Minus 25°C. Image credits: Anna Koppmann & Esmée Willemsen
Plus Minus 25°C. A temperature controlling curtain is a brilliant novelty - a sustainable product to be used in everyday living. Image credits: Anna Koppmann & Esmée Willemsen. Double curtains.
Plus Minus 25°C. Image credits: Anna Koppmann & Esmée Willemsen
Plus Minus 25°C. A temperature controlling curtain is a brilliant novelty - a sustainable product to be used in everyday living. Image credits: Anna Koppmann & Esmée Willemsen. Close-up.
Plus Minus 25°C. Image credits: Anna Koppmann & Esmée Willemsen

Now, if you thought that plastic waste can’t be beautiful, then think again. Kunst S, by Lisanne Kamphuis is all about the beauty of plastics with zero waste thanks to her new unique processing technique. Furthermore, this processing technique gives plastic waste qualities that are similar to classic materials such as stone, marble and ceramics. As such, she has created a series of vases from plastic waste whose design showcases the true hidden beauty of plastics.

Two sustainable products - vases made of plastic with zero waste and qualities of classic materials from Kunst S.
Via Kunst S. Image by: Niek Erents fotografie.
An abstact form of plastic in various colors showing the hidden beauty of plastic. Image via Kunst S.
Hidden beauty via Kunst S
Two sustainable products - vases made of plastic with zero waste and qualities of classic materials from Kunst S.
Via Kunst S. Image by: Niek Erents fotografie.

Lastly, did you know that 60 per cent of the food waste in the UK is still edible? So wouldn’t it be nice to know if the food you left in the fridge is still okay to eat? FreshTag Limited innovated the Freshness Indicating Technology (FIT) – a smart labelling system that sign-post the freshness status of your food with easy-to-read color codes. Consequently, you can reduce food waste considerably by shopping with a more insightful mindset. This brilliant FreshTag FIT system may well be the new generation of food package design.

A flatlay of two fish labelled by FreshTag Limited with a smart FIT label showing their level of freshness. Via FreshTag Limited.
FreshTag Limited.
The FreshTag smart label codes and how to read it.
FreshTag Limited.

Takeaway thoughts

All 5 of these sustainable product designs promote a new more intimate relationship with everyday products. As such, this is the pragmatic beginning of a shift in the design industry for a happier, more mindful design orientation. And honestly, I think it is truly exciting because this shift will eventually lead to more resilient communities – a big underlying issue addressed in some ways during the DDW19.

Suggested read: Highlights of the 2019 Dutch Design Week

Especially nowadays, in context with the pandemic still forcing us to keep a physical distance among us, a new intimacy is being shaped. As such, new questions are being raised about the relationship between human bodies and the spaces and objects surrounding them.

How do we engage with one another? How do we relate with one another? How do we deal with loneliness at times like these? In essence, closeness due to social distancing is being redefined and the design industry is called upon to re-map it. Consequently, questions like these will bring about a new phase in design thinking, while sustainability continues to be one of its fundamental pillars.

In every case though, the virtual edition of this design festival has definitely given greater visibility to perhaps an even wider audience. This will in return give the design community a tool for better connections. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the DDW will become a hybrid fair in the near future by incorporating virtual tours as well.

Cheers, xo

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