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Design Academy - Best of the Rest

Expectations always run high at Design Academy Eindhoven's Graduation Show.  It's inevitable, especially as design grapples with new expectations and problems, to have a sober year.

By Gabrielle Kennedy / 28-10-2010

The overall quality of work and originality of concept in the Graduation Show is not as strong this year.  Granted, design in general is going through a necessary stage of introspection.  It appears that students know that more of the same is untenable, and the way forward requires patience and a lot of research - qualities that don’t translate into immediate hits.

The projects that resonated most were very personal and drew inspiration from empirical experience.  They felt honest and possessed a humility that paid tribute to uncertain times.

Lucas Mullié designed “The Industrial Craft” – a restaurant that embodies the spirit of Eindhoven.   Drawing inspiration from the city’s industrial past, and especially Philips manufacturing facilities, he has come up with a space that reveals the secrets of production – cooking as theater with an almost industrial production process replete with rhythm and repetition.

Joëlle Lemmers came up with “Once Upon a Time,” which explores the cruelty of fairytales comparing the traditional stories to the horrors of modern times. Snow White is poisoned, Little Red Riding Hood’s granny is eaten, and Hansel and Gretel are abandoned in the woods by their parents. Current events, it turns out, are similarly cruel.

Eveline Visser’s “Bird City” provides a domicile for a diverse population of birds.  33 different breeds with very different needs can live harmoniously together in one community.  If only multiculturalism was so easy …

Jeremie Cornelissen’s “Planet hand” is a humorous response to the myriad of bacteria that live in the palms of our hands.  A bathroom door with 150 handles helps to spread the risk of disease, but once inside the bathroom, it is revealed that the bacteria are actually the good guys and have many described advantages.

Imke de Jong’s “The Heart of Mees” is a beautiful exploration for children and their parents about the heart and how it works.  Handmade from felt, the book comes with cards to help mum and dad out with the trickier questions little ones come up with.

Tom Boekema has utilized the traditional Delft blue ceramic plates to reveal how city planning changes our icons in “Windmill Biotope in Delft Blue”.  The familiar plates usually depict windmills in deserted romantic settings.  These days building restrictions are more lenient and modern buildings, fences and homes are built in easy eyeshot of the mills.  Boekma’s series of plates show how the mills look today from various compass points.

In “Urban Washlands” Daphne Hoekman has designed a quay that alerts us to changing water levels.  The city of Dordrecht is prone to flooding and citizens are protected by a quay, but there is no immediately visual way of telling how quickly the water is rising.  Hoekman’s series of ledges reveal exactly how high the water has risen making it easier to judge the severity of the situation.

In “Mould” Thomas Pleeging has grown a vase from mould.  This research based project is about how a product can be brought to life and experiments with mould as a fungus but also mould in a traditional design sense of an object used to create shape.

Graduation Show 2010 runs to the 31st October.

Images: large at top Lucas Mullié, small from top Joëlle Lemmers, Eveline Visser, Jeremie Cornelissen, Imke de Jong, Tom Boekema, Daphne Hoekman and Thomas Pleeging.

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