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You Say Dutch, We Say Design!
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It could be said that the Dutch have had great design, and the rest of the world is catching up. Following on the success of the last year’s LA Exchange, Design Milk was asked to curate the Exchange once again, this time selecting four Dutch designers to showcase their work at the largest interior design show on the West Coast, IDS Vancouver. With so much Dutch talent to choose from, we worked with The Dutch Urban Design and Development (DUDOC), deciding to stick with designers residing in or connected to the city of Eindhoven, where the Design Academy is pushing amazing talent into the world. It is maybe not a coincidence then, that all four selected designers are alumni of the Academy.

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Design Milk’s special correspondent Renske Werner traveled to Eindhoven to meet photographer Marjon Hoogervorst and all four designers for a sneak peek at their products. Feel free to drool over the photos below and remember their names to throw around casually in conversation with design connoisseurs alike.

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Who: ONTWERPDUO (Tineke Beunders & Nathan Wierink)
Where: Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Since: 2008 with ‘Tallow’ – a candle

Partners in life and business, Tineke and Nathan both traveled a bumpy road to get where they are today. Tineke: “High school was hard. I didn’t fit in and my obsession with miniature furniture was not considered a cool hobby. Thank goodness for my art teacher who let me drop out and sent me on the path to a world of design I had no idea existed.”

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Ontwerpduo was founded in 2008 and grew into a prestigious label with a focus on natural materials and pastel colors. While at IDS Vancouver, Ontwerpduo will be showcasing their new collection ‘Novecento,’ which is inspired by the early nineteen twenties. As a bonus, their ‘Cageling’ hanging chair (from last year’s collection The First Chronicles) will be making its way over as well.

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Who: DIRK VAN DER KOOIJ
Where: Recently moved from Eindhoven to Zaandam, The Netherlands
Since: 2010 with ‘Endless Chair’ – a robot-made plastic chair

Dirk: “To me, design is about using the right tools. Design is a manipulation of a material, and I like to push the boundaries of that manipulation.” Dirk developed a fascination for 3D printing at the Design Academy. But when the printer wasn’t able to make plastic do what Dirk wanted it to do, he built and programmed a robot that could. Once graduated, he created his Endless collection in 2010 using the robot. Dirk: “My robot – I call him Herman – is the first machine worldwide to create furniture out of recycled plastic. So I am pretty proud of that.”

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Dirk will be showing pieces from his Endless collection, named after the long continuous string of recycled plastic with which his robot ‘knits’ a piece of furniture.

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Who: STEVEN BANKEN
Where: Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Since: 2010 with Sheaves, a bench made out of reed

Steven’s work is based on extensive research and knowledge of the material. His first love is wood. Steven: “I got to know wood at a young age. As a kid, I was always hanging around my grandfather’s woodworking and locksmith studio. He taught me so much about wood.” Steven based his recent project called Tannic Acid on advice from his grandfather. “It was to never use steel nails in oak wood.’ Logic advice, because a chemical reaction between the two materials cause blue-grey stains. ‘But when you do it right, the result turns out beautiful.”

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Steven is bringing his copper lamps and Tannic Acid objects to Vancouver this September. And we’re hoping his brand new bookcase will be ready in time for the show as well.

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Who: VANTOT (Esther Jongsma & Sam van Gurp)
Where: Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Since: 2014 with Passage – a carpet/ room divider

The youngest designer team of the bunch, Esther and Sam are forward thinkers and hard workers. Esther: “If I wasn’t a designer, I would be a physicist. To me, design is a lot about function and smart solutions to problems.” Esther zooms out on each design, Sam zooms in: “I am details, Esther is big picture.” Only recent graduates of the Design Academy, Esther and Sam are making products that use new technology, interact with users and have tremendous esthetic. “We try to have a voice as designers. We observe, strip a concept down to its core, and build it back up with new solutions and technologies.”

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Esther and Sam are bringing their Limpid Lights, Passage Plateaus and Exploded View Lunar to Vancouver.

Here’s a little “behind the scenes” action from our interview and shoot:

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More details about our exciting Exchange and everything else to that’s not to be missed during IDS Vancouver coming soon—stay tuned. Register here.

Special thanks to Renske Werner, Marjon Hoogervorst, IDS Vancouver and DUDOC for helping put together this exciting preview.

Behind the scenes shots and words by Renske Werner.
Photography by Marjon Hoogervorst.