Discretion was the prevailing attitude of this year’s Design Academy Eindhoven graduates, contrasting greatly with the “big” design landscape that was mapped out at the Milan furniture fair this year.
Among the work was a set of button-shaped switches and plug sockets, a material made out of metal hairs that resembles animal fur and a flexible wooden screen that looks like a piece of elaborate origami.
“There was a real step away from ‘in-your-face design’,” says Lidewij Edelkoort, chairwoman of the academy. “It’s a generation that is making smaller, more intricate, discreet and hidden work. There are several pieces of furniture that you don’t know how to open – there’s a secretive nature to it. You have to pay more attention.”
For example, Sjoerd Sies’ functional Point of View cabinet challenges the viewer’s perspective, to the point that you have to do a complete circuit of the piece before you understand exactly how it works.
“This generation is fed up with consumerism,” says Edelkoort, but rather than react in the overtly conceptual way the college’s previous years have seen, there is instead a “tendency to cover up and go under cover,” she says. “The work was really understated. They are actually very consumer things – there was a massive interest in stacking and storage.”
Martin Born’s Stackbasket (above left) was one of the more inventive pieces – each module can be used as a tray or side table, but the modules also stack on top of each other to form a shelving unit. Ryohei Yoshiyuki’s minimalist Your Level table uses walls for support but appears to balance perfectly on its two legs.
But there was also a playful attitude seen in the form of Nacho Carbonell’s foam chair (below). Four creatures are attached to it by a pipe, and when you sit in the chair, the displaced air makes them spring into life. Henriette Waal recycled translucent billboard posters for her project (above). She designed an outdoor hairdressing salon in the form of a huge cape, but slightly more functional was the “tent” that drapes over benches to provide shelter.
The exhibition will be open from 20-28 October. On 19 October, the 60-year-old academy will unveil its new museum, Design House, with an exhibition of work by previous graduates Studio Job.
images René van der Hulst, José van Riele, Vincent van Gurp, and Lisa Klappe