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This Dutch Designer is Giving Concrete a Serious Makeover

At this point, we've seen pretty much every formerly humdrum thing in the universe get a design-forward makeover, from watering cans to luggage. But Dutch designer Iwan Pol wasn't happy to simply renovate a product category — he wanted to recast an entire architectural material. "Concrete can take any shape or form, so why not aim for a softer look and feel?" he says.
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See Sabine Marcelis’s Real-Life Version of Mondrian’s Most Famous Painting

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the launch of Theo Van Doesburg's seminal magazine, De Stijl, in 1917, and Rotterdam-based designer Sabine Marcelis recently helped carve out a space at the Cannes Film Festival to honor the art and design movement that adopted its name. For the festival's Dutch Pavilion, Marcelis brought to life Mondrian's famed 1935 painting "Composition with Red, Blue, and Yellow" by building a 3-D framework of black lines inset with gradient glass panels, then punctuating it with primary colored versions of her signature Voie Lights and Candy Cubes.
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Raw Color home tour

Dutch Design’s Masters of Color At Home in Their Eindhoven Loft

When we caught up with Raw Color last fall amid the madness of Dutch Design Week, Christoph Brach and Daniera ter Haar — along with their son, Ando — had been living and working in their new house for exactly a year. Theirs, like other lofty, new-build homes in Eindhoven, artfully blends the parallels of modern-day life: the family eats and rests upstairs, and works downstairs, following a studio build in the basement last March.
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Emerging Dutch designers Truly Truly

This Dutch-Based Studio Was the Best Thing We Saw at Salone Satellite

The Dutch-based studio Truly Truly finds a comfortable niche oscillating between product design and experience, creating artful and engaging moments for the viewer that fall between familiarity and curiosity. Their latest work, presented at last week’s Salone Satellite, features projects that combine technical ingenuity with new aesthetics — their morphing Touch glass lights are cast using a dynamic mold that allows for more expressive surface qualities, while the Wove chair plays on the graphic interplay of two differently colored bent-wire frames. And of course we were instantly magnetized by the Daze table – folded, aluminum volumes with subtle corner slits, which allow flashes of hazy, powder-coated color to burst through.
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An Up-And-Coming Dutch Duo On Why They Don’t Identify As “Designers”

In 2008, when Daphna Isaacs Burggraaf and Laurens Manders began collaborating, they kept their studios separate. It wasn’t until four years later that they officially founded their company, compounding ideas and names — the latter of which was deemed a challenge until the Internet threw up the solution. “We were looking to find out if images of our products had been published, and we found an image of our lamps with the name ‘Daphna Laurens’ written above it.” Upon reading this, they realized that it was exactly what they’d been looking for — an anonymous name that symbolized their way of working together; a new ego that has allowed them to playfully carve out a space for themselves as form-flexing experimenters.
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In This Dutch Designer’s Hands, Even a Door Handle Becomes a Piece of Sculpture

So pretty. So minimal. That, in a nutshell, is the work of Dutch product designer Jeroen van de Gruiter. A recent graduate of Design Academy Eindhoven, van de Gruiter’s work plays with the tension between what a thing appears to be and how we choose to let it function in the world. His objects are as much about themselves as anything else: the way they take up space, shifting and fluctuating, contrasting and offsetting — other objects as well as their surroundings. They are concept made manifest; latent potential given concrete form.
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Week of January 2, 2017

A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: a highlight from our new vintage-only Instagram, an epic pink kitchen with terrazzo countertops, and a shelving unit (above) that reaffirms our love for an up-and-coming Dutch designer.
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160923-Rens-2-v2 photo Ronald Smits (3)

Our Top Finds From Dutch Design Week 2016

It’s been fifteen years since the first-ever Dutch Design Week, and since then, Eindhoven’s 10-day celebration has seen both highs (international success and prestige) and lows (the slashing of arts funding as well as high-profile resignations from the esteemed Design Academy). What has stayed constant is the country’s ability to remain relevant in response to new challenges and issues and the city's reputation for churning out some of the next best design talents.
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Dutch design studio Os ∆ Oos

Dutch Design Studio Os ∆ Oos Makes Work That’s Brainy But Beautiful

Four years ago, Sight Unseen featured the first product by what was then a brand-new studio on the scene: The Syzygy series by Dutch duo Os ∆ Oos consisted of three lamps whose intensity depended on the subtle rotation of three light-filtering discs placed in front of the bulb; it was inspired by the astronomical phenomenon of three celestial bodies aligning in space. As a design product, it was both conceptually driven and artistically minded, but it was, at the end of the day, a lamp. “We’re definitely not artists; we’re designers,” clarifies Oskar Peet, who with Sophie Mensen makes up the Eindhoven-based studio. “We like to make functional projects.”
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At the 2012 Dutch Design Week

It's been a tough two years for Dutch design. First a newly elected right-wing government slashed the tiny country's legendary arts funding, causing seemingly irreparable damage to its institutions and grant programs, and then a series of high-profile resignations called into question the inner workings of Eindhoven's hallowed Design Academy. But even if there are signs that the fairy-tale may not last — that creativity and experimentalism can't elude the death-grip of capitalism forever, even in a place where designers still benefit from squatters' rights — we still look forward to Dutch Design Week as a reminder of the happier consequences of those values. While we couldn't attend this year ourselves, we asked our faithful contributor Marco Tabasso, who's second-in-command at Rossana Orlandi gallery in Milan, to report back on his experiences at the festival — from his mixed feelings about the Design Academy show to the paella dinner he and Rossana shared with Nacho Carbonell in the designer's studio, above.
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OS ∆ OOS’s Syzygy Lamps

Credit where credit is due: The idea for Sight Unseen's newest column, Self Portrait, came from a chat we had recently with Pin-Up editor Felix Burrichter, over lunch in Soho. "Why don't you feature more products?" he asked us, to which we replied that our site is really about process — not products. Felix suggested we ask designers to pose with their latest works, something more personal than just reporting the news. The notion rattled around in our brains for a few months until it evolved into something even more exciting, at least we think so: A series inviting designers and artists to visually present their creations to us in a unique way, photographing them firsthand in a setting or setup that somehow illuminates the ideas behind the object. Our first submission comes from Oskar Peet, who with his partner Sophie Mensen founded the Eindhoven-based firm OS ∆ OOS this fall, launching with a trio of lamps so beautiful and intriguing that we actually feel grateful to Burrichter for inspiring the perfect platform with which to share them. Check out Peet and Mensen's submission above, then read below about how — and why — they got the shot.
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Favorite material to work with: In the beginning of her career as designer, Meijer worked mainly with ceramics. “It’s incredible that by mixing clay and water you can make amazing shapes. It’s like making something out of nothing. But you need precision and patience for it.”

A Drawn Interview with Mieke Meijer

If you read Sight Unseen often enough, you know that we're supporters of all things creative, collaborative, and multidisciplinary. Matylda Krzykowski may be known for her curating talents (which we've featured here once or twice before), but she's also a designer and a blogger — in other words, she's someone who gets as few hours of sleep each week as we do. Being such a like-minded individual, we invited Krzykowski to contribute a guest post for Sight Unseen in a format similar to the one she employs on her own site, Mat and Me: Interviews that invite personalities from the design world to respond to questions with small, charming pencil drawings rather than mere spoken words. She in turn posed the challenge to Mieke Meijer, an Eindhoven-based product designer who recently contributed to the first in a series of projects at the new Depot Basel space, an open-ended design workshop in an old Swiss grain silo for which Krzykowski sits on the curation board. We'd been following Meijer's work ourselves ever since we spotted her Gravel Plant project in Milan last year, which channels the geometries of industrial buildings into a system of storage modules whose functions are as myriad as their randomized profiles. Posted here is a selection of the drawings she submitted, plus photos that Krzykowski shot while visiting her studio last month.
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