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Dutch designers are Entertainers

The new book by Die Gestalten entitled 'Desire' examines design today in terms of four characteristic aesthetic styles. Most of the Dutch designers featured are either Entertainers or Taletellers.

By Jeanne Tan / 09-10-2008

Let meeeeeee Entertain you. (Robbie Wiliams)

If design in the 20th Century was all about industrial efficiency, functionality and mass production, then the forecast for design in the 21st century points to tech-craft, emotion and mass personalisation. 'Design, which has liberated itself from industrial conditions and the associated physical demands on the dimensions of what can be made, can take on any form'. Basically, designers have free reign. Communication becomes the main aim, primarily that of an aesthetic experience. At the same time the economy has changed, with the segmentation of the mass market and the formation of the 'hybrid consumer', and an increase in the intensity of competition. 'The market is no longer characterised by a group but defined by each individual with his or her specific needs'. This is where the economy of Desire comes in. However with so much artistic freedom also comes a 'competition of identities', and designers must find a signature style in order to stand out from the pack.

It is in this complex soup of issues that the newly released book 'Desire, The Shape of Things to Come' begins. Published by the Berlin-based publisher Die Gestalten, the book is a survey on contemporary furniture design presenting work from influential and progressive designers today. The book is organised according to four characteristic styles (forming the chapters themselves) which have been identified as most relevant to the design world today: Entertainers, Inventors, Modernists and Taletellers. With the sometimes overwhelming amount of designers today, these styles work wonders to navigate through this vast ocean of design and create a context for the work.

Two things become clear from the content and the chosen designers. The first is that Dutch designers are obviously the Entertainers ('the new rock stars') and Taletellers (who 'long to poeticise the profane'). Over 20 Dutch designers are featured, including well known designers such as Ineke Hans, Tord Boontje, Hella Jongerius and Studio Job (with their 'Collection FARM' on the cover) to the new generation such as Pieke Bergmans, Studio Libertiny and Joost van Bleiswijk & Kiki van Eijk to emerging names such as Drift and Frank Willems. The second is that the future of design will remain in Europe. Considering that production has been mostly farmed to outside Europe, this means that Europe has the potential to become a big ideas factory. Good for Europe but what about the rest of the world?

The most inspiring group and most interesting for the future, is the Inventors who constantly push the boundaries of design in terms of technique, construction, material, and the perception of form. 'They believe that things can get better. They are interested only peripherally in aesthetics.'

Published at the end of the first decade of the 21st Century, 'Desire' is a comprehensive visual diary of design today and no doubt will be a good indicator for what's in store for tomorrow.

Title: Desire
Subtitle: The Shape of Things to Come
Edited by: R. Klanten, S. Ehmann, A. Kupetz, S. Moreno, A. Mollard
Language: English
Format: 24 x 30 cm, 280 pages, full colour, hardcover
Price: € 44,00 / $ 69,00 / £ 33,00
ISBN: 978-3-89955-218-8
EU Release: October 2008
NA Release: November 2008

Related Gestalten Video Podcasts on
Studio Job, Jurgen Bey and Rianne Makkink, Maarten Baas, Joost van Bleiswijk & Kiki van Eijk

Main image: Spread -
Studio Job/Job Smeets & Nynke Tynagel, Robber Baron Series, 'Desire', copyright Gestalten 2008
Image: Cover - Studio Job/Job Smeets & Nynke Tynagel, Collection FARM, 'Desire', copyright Gestalten 2008
Image: Spread - Joost van Bleiswijk/No Screw No Glue Collection, 'Desire', copyright Gestalten 2008

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