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Designs of the Year 2013

London's Design Museum opens its doors to showcase Designs of the Year 2013 – we look at the Dutch designers shortlisted.

By Katie Dominy / 21-03-2013

Starting this week, the exhibition Designs of the Year 2013 does as indicated – bringing together 99 nominations for the Design of the Year Award that run across seven categories: Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Furniture, Graphics, Product and Transport. 

Ilse Crawford is Chair of the Jury who will decide next month on an overall winner and category winners. With regard to Dutch design, in the Graphics category we came across two nominations – the Rijksmuseum Identity by Irma Boom and The Gentlewoman #6 designed by Veronica Ditting and Jop van Bennekom.

Irma Boom's controversial new Rijksmuseum logo was the subject of a article when it appeared last September; its mixed reception due to Boom's leaving of a letter space between the words 'rijks' and 'museum'.
The Gentlewoman magazine is a relatively recent title created and published by Jop van Bennekom and Gert Jonkers, the duo behind the successful men's bi-annual Fantastic Man. Issue #6 's cover featured the stage and screen legend Angela Lansbury and typifies the magazine's healthy antidote to the celebrity style dished out by the world's glossies and shows off its pared-back sophisticated graphics overseen by creative director Jop van Bennekom.

The Colour Porcelain collection by Scholten & Baijings appears in the Product category; beautifully displayed and set off by colourful tulips bending gracefully in tiered vases. Manufactured by 1616/ Arita Japan; a new company set up under creative director Teruhiro Yanagihara using the traditional factories used to produce the original pottery made in Arita, located on Kyushu Island in southern Japan. The ceramics feature traditional Japanese colours, including aquarelle blue, light green and yellow ochre and are fired with different shades of glaze. 

The Well Proven Chair comes in the Furniture category, designed by James Shaw and Marjan van Aubel while they were both studying at the Royal College of Art, London and working on a college project for the American Hardwood Export Council. The duo researched the production of wood furniture and found that between 50% to 80% of raw timber ends up as waste due to sawdust, chippings and shavings. This waste is combined with a bio-resin to become a sludgy mixture that expands into a solid; it can expand up to 700% with the addition of water and/or higher temperatures. Used as the seat shell, the rough surface contrasts with the smooth turned chair legs in ash.

Also in Furniture is the Gravity Stool by Jólan van der Wiel that has been featured several times on, most recently in July when Van der Wiel won the 2012 DMY Award in Berlin. The stool is created by the designer's 'magnet machine' that 'magnitizes' into shape a coloured resin mixed with 6gms of iron filings. The magnets are set up above the resin mixture and can be moved to determine the position of the stool's legs. As the magnets move slowly upwards, the resin is drawn towards them, before drying and solidifying. 

Engineering Temporality by Tuomas Markunpoika has appeared on as one of our highlights of imm Cologne this January. Evoking ideas of vanishing memory, Engineering Temporality  consists of furniture pieces created by small circles of steel that are first draped over existing furniture that is then burnt away to leave a charred steel structure. 

Finally, the Architecture category includes MVRDV's Book Mountain, a public library in Spijkenisse’s market square. The mountain of bookshelves is set inside a glass structure with a pyramid roof. Inside the library, a continuous 480 metres of walkway is lined with bookshelves that wind around to reach the pyramid's peak that features a reading room and cafe.

Designs of the Year 2013 runs 20 March to 7 July 2013 at the Design Museum, London. 

Main image: Rijksmuseum Identity by Irma Boom - photo Luke HayesOther images: 1. The Gentlewoman #6 by Veronica Ditting and Jop van Bennekom 2. and 3. Colour Porcelain collection by Scholten & Baijings 4. Well Proven Chair by James Shaw and Marjan van Aubel  5. Gravity Stool by Jolan van der Wiel 6. Engineering Temporality by Tuomas Markunpoika- photo Luke Hayes

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