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Rocco Verdult

The playful work of Rocco Verdult – which aims to stimulate social interaction through temporary public events – has earnt the Eindhoven-based designer a 2010 Rado Young Designer Award nomination.

By Katie Dominy / 14-08-2010

As part of the annual Dutch Design Awards, the Rado Young Designer Award is given to new talents in design. We look at the work of one of the three nominees – Rocco Verdult.

Verdult graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven (DAE) in 2008 with his major graduation project entitled ‘Temporary Meeting Places.’ He created five pop-up meeting places around the city of Eindhoven – using found materials that could be assembled very quickly.

The five included transforming a climbing frame into a large nomad-style tent in which young people from the neighbourhood could meet up. Entitled ‘Jungle Gym Tent’, it was set up in the morning and by the evening it was filled with local people chatting, eating pizza and drinking beer by candlelight. At midnight, they helped Verdult dismantle the tent.

‘Garage Concert’ saw the ramp of a parking garage changed into raked seating for a jazz concert. Verdult made 15 wooden benches that were placed over the ramp and invited jazz musicians to perform for locals who were lured to the spot by the sounds of music drifting along.

‘Temporary Meeting Places’ aimed to encourage interaction between people and communities and this social focus has been the overriding element in Verdult’s design since then. Indeed, the eight-strong selection panel (including DAE chair Anne Mieke Eggenkamp and last year’s award winner Jelte van Abbema) noted ‘Rocco is socially engaged, and knows how to stir up interest in people and to get things done. What he makes is a unique type of design: he creates relationships and solidarity. His commitment is sincere, his approach original, and because of this, his ideas always have the desired effect.’

To be nominated, Verdult had to submit five pieces of work to the committee. Amongst the five is a recent project from May 2010 called ‘Constructor’s Lunch’ which came from an assignment to design a temporary meeting place in Pécs, Hungary, European Capital of Culture 2010. Due to poor planning, the renovations of the agreed site – the city’s main square – could not be finished on time and the builders were still working on it. Verdult wove tablecloths for a picnic out of discarded plastic strips that were used to package the bricks from the construction site and invited all the workmen to a free lunch of salmon sandwiches, asparagus and other delights.

‘FC Afrikaandermarkt’ was a project from summer 2009, based in Rotterdam. Verdult tells us, “As part of the ‘Market of Tomorrow’ project, I was asked to design something for people to involve them in their market. The striped bags at the Rotterdam Afrikaandermarkt gave me the inspiration to make striped football shirts for the fictional football club 'FC Afrikaandermarkt.’ I shared these shirts amongst four different football teams composed of students from different regions of Africa. Each team was sponsored by a market stall.”

And Verdult’s latest project to date? “My most recent project was called ‘Tour de Doosrennen’ (Box Running Tour). The cardboard packaging from bikes complete with a nice graphic drawing of a bike inspired me to organise a tour. Participants had to run three stages from start to finish around the city centre of Eindhoven.”

Verdult’s next venture forms part of an exhibition of new design talents at Z33 Gallery in Hasselt, Belgium. Entitled Toegepast 15 (Applied 15), the exhibition begins 2 October and runs to 12 December 2010.

Alongside Rocco Verdult, the 2010 nomimees of the Rado Young Designer Award are fashion designer Iris van Herpen and Studio DRIFT (Lonneke Gordijn & Ralph Nauta). The winner will be announced in Eindhoven on 23 October  2010 during Dutch Design Week.

Main image: Tour de Doosrennen, photography Sanne Oehlers
Image 1: Tour de Doosrennen, photography Sarie Hermens
Images 2 & 3: Jungle Gym Tent and Garage Concert, photography Mike Roelofs
Image 4: Constructor's Lunch, photography Antoni Hendrix
Image 5: Constructor's Lunch, photography Kalmar Lajos
Images 6 & 7: FC Afrikaandermarkt, photography David Derksen

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