Most people are well-versed in the recent history of Dutch design, with its lineage running from current stars including Tord Boontje and Droog, through to Koeweiden Postma from the ’80s onwards and Wim Crouwel, Ben Bos et al and their Total Design vision in the 1960s.
A number of theories have sprung up which aim to explain how such a small country should have had such a major impact on design – the most common being that the Dutch have an inherantly utilitarian nature, due to the fact that most of the land mass of The Netherlands was reclaimed from the sea using an ingenious system of dams and dykes.
Every Day Dutch, a new exhibition at Selfridges in London, pays lip service to this heritage, but puts the focus squarely on the future of Dutch design, asking ‘What happens next?’.
The show will present the work of five graduates from the Design Academy Eindhoven, alongside two ‘rising stars’ – Aldo Bakker and Jo Meesters – and a number of more established Dutch designers, including Piet Hein Eek.
Unsurprisingly, it is the graduates who have put forward the most interesting and experimental work. Roel de Boer has submitted Mouse Mates, described as ‘an installation that questions the boundaries between pest and pet, wild and captivity by creating a “home” for mice where they can choose to stay or leave’.
Meanwhile Tim Enthoven will present Binnenskamers, a graphic novel about a boy who creates a world within his own room; Eveline Visser will show Bird City, a modern aviary habitat; Dirk van der Kooij has created Endless, a project that finds a new role for a retired robot between prototyping and mass production; and Florike Martens is presenting Bicycle, which is described as ‘a simple yet comprehensive answer to picknicking’.
Show curator Jane Withers says, ‘One of the most rewarding aspects of curating Every Day Dutch was coming across so many inquisitive young desingers with an instinctive sense for producing work that gently twists, pushes and challenges the way we do things.’
Every Day Dutch runs in the Concept Store in the Wonder Room on the ground floor of Selfridges in London from 24 February to 27 March.