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Conflict & Design

The 7th Design Triennial in Flanders takes Conflict & Design as its theme for a curated choice of over 60 projects on show at C-Mine Genk.

By Katie Dominy / 30-12-2013

With Genk close to the border with the Netherlands, it’s no surprise to find a selection of Dutch designers at the triennial and also a sprinkling of Design Academy Eindhoven (DAE) alumni. Opened last weekend, the triennial runs until early March 2014. 

With Genk close to the border with the Netherlands, it’s no surprise to find a selection of Dutch designers at the triennial and also a sprinkling of Design Academy Eindhoven (DAE) alumni. Opened a number of weeks ago, the triennial runs until early March 2014. 

Created over a span of the last five years, the projects were chosen for their ability to demonstrate how design deals with issues in society and Daniela Dossi and Irma Földényi’s project Post Ford Probes - Soup Station is a good case in point. Both alumni of the Masters programme of DAE, the duo were asked by the Genk municipality to undertake a workshop to help retrain the former workers at the Ford car plant, the city’s main employer, that closed this year, leaving 4,600 out of work and an estimated 5000 hit from related industries. 

The design outcomes, know as Post Ford Probes, seek to take the skills and experience of the former Ford workers and adapt them to services and industries that are on the increase. Soup Station is a prototype that will be tested out for a few weeks during the triennial. Commuters and locals can bring their vegetables and groceries to a mobile kitchen on Genk station and have them transformed into fresh soup for when they return home by an ex-Ford worker with serious cookery skills.

With the same aim of uniting people, designer Rocco Verdult worked on a project last year entitled Story of the Barrier for the housing association Woonbedrijf Eindhoven. A working class district of the city based around the former Philips factories, the area had undergone twelve years of renovation and many residents of the 1500 had lost touch with their neighbours. Verdult created a series of eight films of 3 ½ minutes that string together into a narrative stories created sentence by sentence by local residents as he walked around the streets, cafes and parks. Initially suspicious, the residents soon took to stopping Verdult in the street and engaging with the project. 

Giacomo Piovan, DAE alumni from 2012, has developed further his graduation project Farming Pollution that sought to clear up by more natural means the industrial pollution in and around Eindhoven, to work with oil pollution in the Flanders region. With an estimate of nearly half a million oil tanks used by residents of the Flanders region for heating their homes, the 10% that leak oil into the ground cause soil and groundwater pollution. Piovan, with the help of engineer Peter Smeets, removes the oil and uses plants and microorganisms to clean up the polluted areas through a process called phytoremediation.

The Foe Ooi Leeuw tableware project by Laura Braspenning and Irma van Weeren also looks at solving social issues. Foe Ooi Leeuw, translating as ‘home to live in harmony in’, is a home for Chinese seniors in Amsterdam and the two designers were brought in as part of a scheme to bind a community that spoke four different varieties of the Chinese language and only a little Dutch. Through workshops, Braspenning and van Weeren came to communal eating as their route and via a visit in 2008 to Jingdezhen, the heart of Chinese porcelain, designed a 600 piece dinner service for special occasions featuring traditional motifs of flowers and leaves, plus modern ‘Dutch’ motifs of aeroplanes, apartment blocks and poplar trees. 

Conflict & Design runs until 9 March 2014 at C-Mine, Genk, Belgium. 

http://www.conflictanddesign.be/en/homepage

 

Images 

1 -  Conflict & Design, C-Mine, Genk

2 - Story of the Barrier, Rocco Verdult, © Thomas Vandewal

3- Post Ford Probes - Soup Station, Daniela Dossi and Irma Földényi, ©  Kaat Pype

4 - Post Ford Probes - Soup Station, Daniela Dossi and Irma Földényi

5 - Farming Pollution, Giacomo Piovan

6 - Foe Ooi Leeuw, Laura Braspenning & Irma van Weeren

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