Our Top 5 Design Innovations from Dutch Design Week 2020

Written by Kate Usher

27 October 2020

Last week the 2020 Dutch Design Week went digital, taking place on a new online platform featuring 5 virtual exhibitions and over 60 exhibits. Exploring this year’s theme of ‘The New Intimacy’,  more than 50 designers exhibited work in online 3D viewing rooms. Here’s a round-up of our ‘top 5 innovations’ we spotted at the show.

Dutch Design Week 2020

1. Aiki by Studio Uncoated

These sensory toys have been designed to help reduce stress and trauma for children undergoing medical procedures. The cuddly friends are intended to accompany children during an examination by offering a soothing hug and regulating their breathing. Aiki by Studio Uncoated gives the doctor visual cues to understand the height of fear the child is residing in, by measuring the child’s breathing tempo which translates into gradually changing the colour of the object.

2. Smart Distancing System

Designers Jólan van der Wiel & Nick Verstand have explored the future of social distancing, and how new societal rules can be enjoyed in a more beautiful and intelligent way. Their idea uses a combination of motion-tracking technology and computer-controlled lasers which draw playful lines on the ground in spaces like museums and railway stations.  When the bubbles collide with one another the laser lines contort and ripple to raise awareness that people are too close, making it easier to move safely around public spaces.

3. Soft Vessels by Sne Tak

RCA graduate Sne Tak designed this curious collection of vessels made of wool and elastomeric fibres which are flexible, expandable, customisable, portable, collapsible, reversible, stackable, washable, shatter-proof and water repellent.

“Conventional home products often become the most significant burden for moving and storage due to fragility and inflexibility. The journey for adaptable and flexible products that reflect the personal lifestyle became the seed of this project.”

4. Familie Hempel

This 4 piece furniture series designed by Marie Radke provides space to be chaotic and is a homage to the pile of clothes on a chair or the bedroom ‘floordrobe’ that many consumers will be familiar with. These pieces are intended to give you a place to hang or store your garments between wears when they are not quite ready for the laundry. Marie wanted users to feel at ease with their mess and provide solutions to work around it.

5. Design For Death 

Rethinking the way we mourn our dead in a modern society, designers are looking at new ways to innovate in the funeral industry, with everything from groundbreaking crematorium architecture to pragmatic solutions for decomposition being explored. Baptiste Comte creates unique cremation urns which offer an alternative to soulless mass produced urns. Through an extrusion technique, the objects mimic the growth of natural matters. Random variations in the clay recall the uniqueness of each person they stand to represent. While the Living Coffin from Loop Biotech and Studio Hendrikx proposes to restore human relationship with nature after death. By opting for a burial in one of their mycelium coffins, you can avoid polluting the Earth and instead enrich it with nutrients as you decompose.

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