A travelling exhibition of Dutch design that does more than show a bunch of products, Connecting Concepts shows the underlying thought processes of design.
Moving from Ahmedahbad to Mumbai in India, we talk to curator Ed van Hinte about the unconventional exhibition that is Connecting Concepts.
What exactly is it that makes Dutch design so recognizable and how can we understand it? The aim of the travelling exhibition Connecting Concepts is to answer these questions and help visitors draw connections between the underlying ideas and principles that drive Dutch design.
We talked to curator of Connecting Concepts, Ed van Hinte, about the travelling exhibition. What makes this exhibition different to any other show? “It’s very enjoyable to curate such an unconventional exhibition. There are so many examples of design from completely different sides of the spectrum; from aircraft to jewellery design. What brings them together is that each piece has a similarity in underlying design processes and that these can even influence each other.”
On show are some 30 pieces from various disciplines such as product design, fashion, graphics, architecture and technology. What links them is not only their Dutch maker but the way in which the various objects were conceived. “It’s the thought process behind the design rather than the finished product which interests me,” explains Van Hinte. Each time the exhibition moves to another location, pieces are added and others replaced to keep the show geographically relevant.
How were the various exhibitors and products chosen? “First of all we looked at products that take a radical step towards sustainability and the effect it can have. These can be products that cut down on materials or small ideas with huge consequences. Furthermore, we looked at the step taken before products are stylized - that’s were the cultural differences lurk. Take the graphic design for instance, here I focused on the programme and recipe of the design instead of showing the finished product; the image”
By showing the objects in this manner - together with a booklet and short texts - local visitors may better understand the way design comes about, thus sharing the ways of design thinking and supporting the development of sustainable creative networks.
The exhibition is making a move from Ahmedabad in North-India to Mumbai . What changes will be made to the exhibition? “The accent will move to a slightly more technical side, but more importantly a number of Indian designs will be added. They should match the Dutch designs on a process level.”
Could you give an example? “For instance the Symphony water cooler by Studio Korjan. It works by evaporating water and is directly taken from a local custom wherein a curtain of Khus grass is dampened and water evaporates thanks to a fan. Beacuse the product is cheap and saves energy it’s a huge commercial succes. The idea of the exhibition is to ‘share not teach’, by showing local products we aim to acquire and maintain new contacts in these regions.
When we make the move to the southern city of Bangalore, the focus will be more on software.”
Finally, what message should this exhibition convery? “It’s about broadening the idea of design and showing how much work goes into a product - in India and especially in China companies don’t realize that fact. Internally we want to show that impartiality will get you far. Various disciplines can learn from each other, locally as well as internationally.”
Connecting Concepts is a joint project between Premsela – Dutch Platform for Design and Fashion, The Netherlands Architecture Institute, and Design Cooperation Brainport. It has been realized as part of the DutchDFA programme.
Click on the images to enlarge
Main image: Exhibition overview Ahmedabad
Other images top to bottom: 1. Coca Cola Tray by Flex/ the Innovation lab, 2. Hindi typeface by Indian Type Foundry, 3. Glue Jeans by G+N, 4. Living print by Joost Grootens, 5. Fresh shoes by Marloes Ten Bhömer, 6. Strand cycle by Tjeerd Veenhoven, 7. Exhibition overview Ahmedabad
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