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There was a lot going on at the Schellensfabriek during DDW this year including an exhibition by Henrik Vibskov, C-Fabriek collective, a floating spa and mobile tea shop. Design.nl looked around and gives you some of the highlights.

By Cassandra Pizzey / 01-11-2012

User-based design was a central theme at the Schellensfabriek this year where visitors were encouraged to become part of the design, whether that be trough making their own brooch, lounging about in a bubble or becoming an advocate for positivity during these stormy times. 

Walking around this disused factory, it quickly became clear that this was one of this year’s creative hotspots. Presenting to an ever-high standard was Arnhem Coming Soon, a pop-up shop and exhibition featuring some of the best that ArtEZ School of the Arts has to offer. The setting was almost surreal in the industrial space where tiles reached from floor to ceiling and a large strip was reserved for luscious greenery. Third year students presented their project ENJOY.BAD.WEATHER, a metaphor for the economic crisis and a way to challenge it in a positive way.

Product designer Mark Sturkenboom approaches themes such as love and time in a sensitive way through his designs. On show were a table clock, urn, vase and mousetrap which in their new forms are given new associations and meaning. A soft aesthetic creates a feeling of connectedness with the objects.

Beautifully crafted leather items made by Steven Visser as his graduation project refer to the (lost art of being) a gentleman. A variety of iconic men’s accessories including braces, glasses and a pocket watch mix a sense of sobriety with decorative construction. This collection hails back to a time when men wore functional accessories to demonstrate their sense of style, something still seen in street style today.

Upstairs at Schellensfabriek we walk into a mysterious space where the floor is a pool of water and a large white blob seems to float upon it. Urban Spa is the name of this project we are informed by owner Harm Rensink. The blob is in fact a steam room which visitors to DDW can hire for an hour or two after opening hours. An entire concept – including towels, wash cloths and bath robes made innovative fibres – focussing more on the experience than the product itself has been created in this space. “I want to give people something, without forcing it upon them”, says Rensink.

“As a spa-lover I look to create a sense of calm in this raw urban space. The plants coming in through the windows interact with this old factory and remind you of the normal life outside of the bubble.” Inside the blob, visitors are enveloped by a sea of steam, unable to see anything, just relax and take in the moment. The designer planned to have his spa on the roof of the Schellensfabriek but his plans were stopped at the last minute. “Wouldn’t it be great to have this on top of a skyscraper in Manhatten though?” he muses.

Along the hall is part of the C-Fabriek exhibition and various ‘live action’ installations. A common theme between these (mostly Design Academy Eindhoven alumni) designers seems to be interactive, user-engaging design. You won’t find any ready-made products here, instead it’s manufacturing lines and processes.

“Designers should share their ideas and work together in collectives”, says Brazilian designer Thomaz Bondioli as he cooks sugar and bicarb to create a ‘Dalgona’, a Korean street food. Together with Joong Han Lee from Korea, he is in charge of the CONSUMER LABORatory in which consumers determine the product’s quality as they help out on the production line.

The more time and effort put into a product, the better it can become. Also true for Shaping Bodies by Bas Geelen and Erik Hopmans which combines fitness equipment and production processes. Sanding, polishing and tumbling products to make them smoother or shinier while giving yourself a work out is the credo and refers to physical labour used in production and factories in the past.

In true DDW style, we saw many conceptual projects at the Schellensfabriek. Yet these were concepts we could understand; made to make our lives a little more enjoyable, making us conscious of our hectic lives and take pause or making us think a little about our consumerism and waste production in a non-moralistic way.

For more information on the (many more) projects on show at Schellensfabriek visit the Dutch Design Week website.

Main image: C-Fabriek
Other images: 1. Apetrots tea stall 2. overview Arnhem Coming Soon 3. Mark Sturkenboom 4. -5. Urban Spa 6.-7. Thomas Bondiol & Joong Han Lee 8. Bas Geelen & Erik Hopmans

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