Objects for Sale, at Dutch Design Week

In our recap of the most recent Dutch Design Week on Monday, we alluded to the economic quagmire that’s been enveloping the Netherlands’ insanely prolific creative class. But one of the week’s exhibitions actually addressed the crisis head-on: Objects for Sale, which asked eight designers to create products within three price brackets (<€50, €50-500, >€500) and to explain how choices within their design and production processes affected the bottom line. “In previous years the designers were able to show more autonomous works,” write the exhibition’s organizers. “But this year we [took] on the challenge to also create more affordable concepts.”

For example, in their Colouring Tables, designers Oskar Peet and Sophie Mensen of OS ∆ OOS first created tables in three different colors of pigment-dyed MDF, then added polished metal stands or marble tops to create commensurate increases in price. “We wish to express the idea: Does a higher price or more hours invested or the number of materials used correlate to the tables’ quality or ability to function better as a ‘table’?” write the designers. Likewise the all-female foursome behind De Intuitiefabriek played with varying quantities of raw material, hours of labor, and different finishing techniques to create three different sets of slipcast tableware. It was also a rare opportunity for fairgoers to walk out the door with a finished work in hand — meaning perhaps it was best for our wallets that we remained Stateside for this go-round after all.