Featuring an all-star Dutch design line-up, a new exhibition at Eindhoven's Designhuis explores design's new fascination with life in the countryside.
Ever since Dutch television broadcasted the hugely successful reality show Farmer in search of a Wife, (Boer zoekt vrouw) a new romantic and realistic view of living in the countryside has emerged.
The current financial crisis and our concerns about ecology have contributed to rethinking our existence in the challenging and stressful city, while advances in information technology have participated in setting humans free from a fixed location within the urban environment. Man can now live wherever he wants and however he wants at any given moment.
We therefore can live like nomads and gather like shepherds: news, knowledge, music, images, objects and food. The slow food movement has shifted the focus from the exotic and exclusive to a need for the local and the seasonal. Forgotten vegetables and regional recipes are rediscovered and reinvented. Now this movement is spreading to other domains within our lives and “slowing down” becomes a general and accepted idea.
Everything seems to indicate that rural realities are influencing urban life. The greening of the city and the urbanization of the country will ultimately lead to the blurring of borders between these two domains. Designers, artists and architects are reflecting upon this exchange of ideas. The life of man and animal will be strongly integrated and the production of food will take place within the city borders. In a search for autarchy, a more mature and autonomous positioning is requested concerning the chain of food production. New ideas will be born to seed, hybrid and harvest within the city.
Materials will be given by the land and animals and will be treated with respect; they will carry the honest identity of the fibre and the flock and transform the designer into a conceptual farmer. Several internationally renowned designers already choose to live on farms today.
Form is derived from the romantic pastoral past and seeks the essence of the farm in new materials and images. The land and earth is studied, mapped and researched and is used to formulate simple and generic tabletop products made from a colourcard of clay from the polder. The wheelbarrow and the rocking chair are reinvented. The tile stove and pick fork are back. In a first trial to understand and map this movement, through fifteen installations, Eindhoven’s Designhuis will explore a new lifestyle where humans are seen as an integral part of the ecologic cycle, integrated in the process. Placing themselves on equal ground with agriculture and animal. Humans with respect for life.
The exhibition shows work from: Mike Meire, Esther Kokmeijer, Claudy Jongstra, Jurgen Bey and Rianne Makkink, Koen van Mechelen, Frank Tjepkema, Christien Meindertsma, MVRDV, Nadine Sterk, Lonny van Rijswijck, Maarten Kolk, Studio Job, Scholten en Baijngs, Floris Schoonderbeek, Dick van Hoff, Joep van Lieshout, Joons Kim, Ton Matton, Kranen/Gille, Frederik Molenschot, Jessica Hansson, Revital Cohen, Agata Jaworska, Rosanne van de Weerdt, Sander Bokkinga, David Olschewski.
During the exhibition the audience can enjoy organic/regional products at the café and every Friday there will be a market with organic products on the square. The banks of the river will change into an organic vegetable garden for the surroundings. During the exhibition different activities, like rural movie nights, documentaries and presentations in which the farm represents innovation and education, will be developed. There will also be two lectures from an architect and a designer who are passionate about the subject.
Main image: Atelier NL, Maarten Kolk
Image: Christien Meindertsma
Image: Ton Matton
Image: Koen van Mechelen
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