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The Dutch are coming

There was an uplifting vibe running through the Ventura Lambrate area where the Dutch seemed to rule the roost.

By Cassandra Pizzey /asdf 12-04-2011

Design art, social design and sustainability are all current themes when it comes to Dutch design, as proven at Venture Lambrate.

Organized and conceived by Organisation in Design, the Ventura Lambrate zone - situated in to the east of Milan's city centre - is only in its second year, yet boasts a wealth of innovative designers. With some 25 participants from the Netherlands, the Dutch were represented in almost every area, the industrial setting forming an ideal backdrop for the various designs.

At Autofficina, Galerie Judy Straten was amongst the few to have acquired their own space. Four designers were represented by the gallery, "each with a certain aesthetic and telling a personal story," explained Straten. Studio Schneeman's A Flip Flop Story stood out boldest, with used flip flops scattered around the various works on show. The colourful autonomous - not to mention sustainable - design objects made from re-used footwear clearly show the signs of the material's eventful journey.
Another colourful designer is Floris Hovers who presented a series of standardized tables and chairs, as well as a do-it-yourself kit to transform a shampoo bottle into a boat. " I strive to make interesting design which incorporates standardization," says Hovers. "The tables and chairs are made from either two, one or half a plank of wood, and I also have a cabinet made from chipboard. It comes in white or blue, the standard colours available for that specific material.

Over the road Studio Dave Keune busied himself with another type of standardization in the form of Standard Primitives "I wanted to go back to conceptual design, like we practiced at school. The prototypes are modular furniture objects made from unexpected shapes such as the cube, cone and cylinder which are interchangeable." Made from materials such as Echopanel (a felt-like fabric made from recycled PET) and paper, the design are not only striking in their shape but also in their finish.
Standing next to Keune - and sharing a studio in Amsterdam - Studio Roel Huisman presented IF THIS IS NOW I AM HERE. The three very different objects share a social bond. Take the wood-and-epoxy Assembly Seats: "The idea is to create a space within a space, while at the same time creating a sense of intimacy as  people are 'forced' to interact with each other." Another social-space enhancer is Shade for Shelter; an architectonic light shade based on wooden constructions. The rather large lampshade creates a sheltered space, and allows for a cordoned-off environment.

Over at Undai a host of established names stood next to some newcomers such as The Dutch Standard, former luxury yacht builders who spent some five years perfecting their spherical light sculpture and chair. Amongst the more well-known were Weltevree who presented a social website, "which adds a new dimension to your purchase." Ineke Hans' and Yuya Ushida's seating designs for Ahrend were on show, as well as Van Eijk and Van der Lubbe's M Collection for Lensvelt.

Particles provided a surge of wooden objects at New Times, New Heroes, with designs from Aldo Bakker, Lenneke Langenhuijsen and Emilie Pallard among others. The exhibition named Into the Woods showcased the use of wood in contemporary design by various international artists. Designersblock totaled four Dutchies, amongst them Lambert Kamps who resided under his blow-up tent, and brother-sister duo Annelou and Joep van Griensven. Their conceptual designs aim to give unused antiques or inherited furniture a new lease of life by adding a contemporary shell made from white, lacquered wood.

Click on the images to enlarge

Main image: Floris Hovers
Other images top to bottom: 1. Studio Schneeman 2. Roel Huisman 3. The Dutch Standard 4. Van Eijk en Van der Lubbe 5. Aldo Bakker 6. Annelou and Joep van Griensven

All images photographed in Milan

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