Nov 12, 2019

8 DESIGN TRENDS from the Dutch Design Week

I am back from my visit to the Dutch Design Week, which in my opinion is one of the most interesting European design events. Far from being a very commercial and marketing-oriented event, it is in fact the perfect place where to look for new ideas, concept, designers, but also to make a thought on what the key future design trends will be. 

To help us in understanding more about this topic, this year the Dutch Design Week (DDW) itself presented 8 future design trends that, according to them, will mark the most important developments in the field of design. Even if they are not the only ones, I agree with their research that I am sharing in this post, together with some interesting projects I had the chance to see in person.

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8 Future Design Trends

from the Dutch Design Week


Future Design Trends 1 / DATA AS MATERIAL


Digital data is now the real value of our times and designers are exploring it as a new resource to be investigated. How to deal with data as a material?

Designers are now expanding their skills further and further into the digital world. Online it is possible to gather information and share knowledge like never before. If the physical world is built with traditional materials like wood, or stone, then the digital world is built with data. The field of data science has received the growing attention of designers worldwide. It is a multi-disciplinary field that uses scientific methods, processes, algorithms and systems to extract knowledge and insights. Data, ranging from personal information, knowledge and skills, can be gathered and shared, both online and offline. How do we incorporate digital data into the physical world? What are the possibilities of sharing this data? Can we design physical places for sharing this information? DATA has become a new material in design.


As seen for example in the project: 0.0416 seconds by Julia Janssen



Future Design Trends 2/ GROWING DESIGN


How living biobased materials can be used?

The last few years have seen a huge advance in biobased materials. Which is not surprising, because they are CO2 neutral, a perfect match for a circular economy and they sometimes even affect climate change positively. Designers are finding all sorts of creative ways to use biobased materials for a large variety of projects. Biowaste like pine needles and coffee grounds are converted into other raw materials, but use is also made of living materials. Among growing materials, the most remarkable materials is for sure mycelium, a fien mesh that comes from fungus. It can have many applications, such as in the building construction, because it is extremely light, but also very strong.


As seen for example in the project: The Growing Pavilion by Stichting Nieuwe Helden


Future Design Trends 3 RE/CONNECT


Modern technology enables us to communicate with friends in seconds. We can call, Skype, text or use social media to connect with people from all around the world. But is talking to people face to face becoming a lost art? Connecting online has never been easier, but are we building a wall around us in the physical world? Designers are trying to break down these walls so that we can reconnect with each other. Also, the digital world has no borders. Without leaving the comfort of our own home, we can travel the world, visit museums or attend performances. The world has been reduced to the dimensions of our screens and we react through the use of our keyboards and cursors. As a response to this, designers are looking for new ways to reconnect our bodies to the physical space they are in.


As seen for example in the project: CHAIRWAVE by VOUW



Future Design Trends 4 / Back to Earth


How can new technologies help to reinterpret old existing materials, like ceramics, a material used for millennia? The world of design looks to the future. New technologies, new materials, new forms. But new technologies help to reinterpret old existing materials, making them relevant again for today and the future. At DDW19 the highlight was on the group of materials used for millennia, ceramicsAt the DDW, in fact, we spotted were many interesting proposals and solutions which explored new ways to create ceramics, many of them based on a high sustainable and circular approach.


As seen for example in the project: Ott / another paradigmatic ceramic by Seok-hyeon Yoon, Design Academy graduates



Future Design Trends 5 / The invisible designer


At this DDW there were also many exhibits where the product itself – yet the designer- were totally absent. The trend is about using design as a way to consider problems in our society, such as pollution, climate change, social issues, with a new critical look. The designer acts in the background, while the real protagonist of the work itself is now the society. Designers take a critical look at the world around them and when dealing with social issues they back from ownership. The design acts now as a train of thought or a starting point for arriving at a solution. The result is still uncertain but is supported by society.


As seen for example in the project: StraatMakers by Atelier NL



Future Design Trends  6 / the Museum of Design


Design can also be totally abstract.  This trend is all about the role of design in a museological context. It is not a matter of course that a designer should make something as tangible as a utilitarian object. For example, it could be an abstract concept that uses design to question a theme such as functionality, production or aesthetics. Or it is more of an experience: something to look at or undergo. If the functional objects can be used at home, where do these concepts, ideas and experiences belong? The Museum of Design trend collects these abstract designs. Sometimes they are transformed into a physical object, but they are often directly about the visitor.


As seen for example in the project: Hybrid Times curated by Rive Roshan



Future Design Trends 7 / Save us

The climate problem is perhaps now the designer’s biggest challenge. There are different ways of tackling this problem and many interesting new ways to use biobased materials as a solution. The Biobasecamp, on Ketelhuisplein, was a pavilion that showed how architecture can contribute in reducing CO2 and nitrogen emissions. In the pavilion, conventional building materials such as concrete are replaced with natural materials, especially wood. By demonstrating that wood, such as cross-layered timber from conifers for the deck or poplar trunks for the construction, are useful building materials, Biobasecamp hopes to make a positive contribution to the appreciation of this material in the Netherlands. New technology is another designer’s tool. CONCR3DE, for example, developed its own production process with a combination of digital design and 3D printing in stone, printing solid stone structures with a precision of 0.1 mm. The exploration on the waste issues and especially on the plastic pollution is another key side of these future design trends, leading to interesting new designs. 


As seen for example in the project: Materialism by Studio Drift


Future Design Trends 8 /  The power of WE

Design curators focus on bundling stories in a presentation. This collection of objects relates an all-encompassing story to the general public. Dutch Invertuals is a beautiful example of this. The collective, under the curatorship of Wendy Plomp, has been bringing together ground-breaking work by designers for a decade. To celebrate this 10th anniversary, a special exhibition has been curated based on the theme of the circle. This iconic form, the symbol of unity and perfection, is questioned and redesigned by various designers from their personal angle. Collaboration and working together is one of the key trends in design now and we are sure it will be a strong future design trend for many years too. 


As seen for example in the project: The Circle by Dutch Invertuals


|| Explore more about the Dutch Design Week:


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