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De Kazerne #DDW13

Thanks to Annemoon Geurts and Koen Rijnbeek, Eindhoven has found a new cultural hotspot in De Kazerne. Launched during Dutch Design Week, this 2.500 square metre site will be open all year round and host all manner of creative events. 

By Cassandra Pizzey / 31-10-2013

Early on a Monday morning during Dutch Design Week was the perfect moment to discover De Kazerne (the barracks). A handful of press and many of the designers showing at this newly-renovated location gathered around long tables for a sit-down breakfast and a chance to talk about this wonderful project. 

Situated in the town centre of Eindhoven, De Kazerne is a series of huge, industrial halls with a number of surrounding out buildings. Formerly used as army barracks, the potential for the space is endless. Annemoon Geurts of Moon/en/co, one of the initiators and curator of the expo tells about the journey from pop-up to permanent. “We started talks with the local council back in 2007 but only recently were granted planning permission and a permanent permit.” They stripped the place bare and have created a series of spaces to host exhibitions and culinary experiences. 

“We want to offer a platform for creative industry,” continues Geurts. “You can have a sit-down dinner in the moody coach house, seated on Maarten Baas chairs and surrounded by beautiful art and design with food prepared by famous chefs,” or grab an informal lunch in the large hall, an open space which will put on different shows. 

Another function De Kazerne seeks to fulfil is that of creative meeting place. Backed by Stichting DOEN, the Lab Project gives designers the opportunity to work together, culminating an exchange of knowledge and insight into current issues. BCXSY is the first studio to take part in the Lab and seems excited about the project. “We are working with residents of day-care centre Twinkelbel on a series of ceramic products. It’s a learning curve for us as we are used to a steady work pace. Here, everything takes a bit more time but it’s great to work with new people and gain new experiences.” As Geurts tells us, “this kind of project has merit in itself.”

We spot another BCXSY project at De Kazerne, the In Between glassware series for Japanese brand Inframince is on show and looks right at home among designs by Kiki van Eijk and artworks by Marieke Peters. Another designer happy to be part of this creative hub is Jos Kranen of Kranen/Gille. Here the design-duo are presenting their new products, a particular favourite being the Meck Lamp; a preserving jar made into lamp with the appearance of an old-fashioned gas lamp. Next to it are the jewellery designs of Martine Viergever, delicate yet dangerous glass splinters on fine silver chains (MOHS 5.5) are her personal take of artifacts. 

There is also room for new design labels at De Kazerne as proven by Château de la Resle. This brand started from the owners’ (Johan Bouman and Pieter Franssens) luxury bed&breakfast in France where Dutch design plays a large role. They commissioned a number of designers to create special products for their château – such as tableware by De Intuïtiefabriek and candlestick by Roderick Vos – and decided to offer these products to the public. The label is exclusive and limited edition, offering a range of household products with a soft-focus aesthetic true to the French B&B. 

Established gallerist Thomas Eyck was spotted adjacent to the new label presenting the Hella Jongerius Coloured Vases collection and outside, outdoor brand Weltevree had set up a number of best-sellers including hot tubs and wood-burning stoves. 

Geurts shows us how she has curated the spaces to be a mix of new talents, established designers, well-known brands and experimental design. She even has a shop on which she comments “During Dutch Design Week it’s forbidden to sell anything new,” ridiculous, we chime in and pick up a copy of Current Obsession. A tactile, full-colour publication founded by Marina Elenskaya that veers outside the boundaries of classic publishing as it hosts happenings to tie in with its issue themes. Number 2 focusses on jewellery design and features an impressive editorial by Matylda Krzykowski.

We move along into what feel like an old squatters house and the new location for Modebelofte. Curated this year YOU ARE HERE & Glamcult Studio, videos by Heleen Blanken attribute to the haunted feel of the place (see below). ‘Future Fashions’ is the name of this year’s presentation and offers a platform for the very best fashion graduates of 2013. On show are collection pieces in which craft plays a central role. Whether it be handmade, hyper crafted or created through new techniques, these clothes are part of the future aesthetic. 

After eyeing up the boxy silhouettes and oversized coats that are sure to dominate the streets when cold weather hits, it’s time to go outside and process everything that has just been seen. An ambitious project has been realized in De Kazerne and it’s definitely inspiring. Maybe the best thing about this project it that it’s not just part of Dutch Design Week. It means everyone will get a chance to look around the exhibition, talk with designers during a culinary event or visit one of the many parties that will surely be hosted here during the year. Geurts tells us there are even plans for guest accommodation here, meant for creatives and professionals in the field visiting Eindhoven and looking for social interaction they can’t find in their hotel room. There is excitement in the air here and we’re already planning our next visit after much-needed renovations take place over the next few months. 

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