Creative Embassies are a community of international creative thinkers and doers, urban innovators, business communities, entrepreneurs, educational institutions and government bodies tackling future challenges that cities and their inhabitants are facing. This year’s Creative Embassies zoom in on six topics: circularity, health, mobility, food, water and urban transformation.
Dutch Design Foundation (DDF), the driving force behind Dutch Design Week and World Design Event, believes in the positive power of design in shaping tomorrow’s world. The 2018 Creative Embassies stem from last year’s first World Design Event. In the same way national embassies create connections between countries, these Creative Embassies facilitate connections between themes, challenges and visions on a myriad of topics. But more importantly, they help to connect to a design agenda. These connections will be made through encounters, presentations, lectures, debates, co-creation sessions and exhibitions. Each domain-specific Creative Embassy forms a hub wherein all lines converge on a particular topic.
Embassy of Circularity: Exploring Circular Housing
Everyone knows that if we don’t transition to a circular economy, we will run out of raw materials. But in many cases, the issue of how to implement the transition remains an open question. As part of DDW, the Embassy of Circularity will use an exhibition and programme of lectures in collaboration with 41 designers and makers to explore how we might be able to produce complete ‘circular’ building apartments by the year 2020.
The People’s Pavilion: 100% borrowed shows a new future for sustainable building architecture: a powerful design language with new collaborations and intelligent construction methods.The building is a design of bureau SLA & Overtreders W and serves as the central meeting place for creative thinkers and do-ers from around the world at DDW 2018. The designers have given a radical new impulse to the notion of a circular economy: the pavilion is made of 100% borrowed materials. Materials from suppliers and producers, but also from Eindhoven residents. Concrete and wooden beams, facade elements, glass roof, recycled plastic cladding: everything is borrowed for 9 days and will be returned to the owners after the DDW. All materials will remain unharmed. There are no screws, glue, drills or saws on the construction site. The plastic shingles are made of plastic household waste. During DDW, visitors can get to work with the material themselves. Unusual Chair & Ubu Chair of Design Studio Planq of the trio Anton & Dennis Teeuw and Joris Kortenhorst, brings to the presentation a seat made of recycled costumes from ABN AMRO and bio-based binders. The Unusual Chair is an ‘unusual’ solution and source of inspiration for today’s waste problems. The Ubu Chair features a seat made of pairs of old jeans, making it lovely to look at. Moving on to a more architectural example of circular building is 3D printing, a choice in moving away from a traditional way of building and ‘going local’ in sourcing building material. MX3D has 3D printed a fully functional stainless steel bridge to cross one of the oldest and most famous canals in the center of Amsterdam, the Oudezijds Achterburgwal. The goal of the MX3D Bridge project is to showcase the potential applications of multi-axis 3D printing technology. The bridge has been designed by Joris Laarman Lab and the City of Amsterdam is the first customer of this collaborative bridge building department. DDW18 will show the final result of a long-lasting project, meant to last in form and function and soon to be installed in Amsterdam to be used by pedestrians. Closely related to typically Dutch needs such as bridges for pedestrians are, of course, bicycles. Swapfiets is the largest bike subscription service in the world. For a fixed fee per month, you can receive a bike and the organisation will make sure that it always works.
Area: Strijp-S – A1 / Location: Klokgebouw 50 – Hall 3
Partners: ABN AMRO, DEMEEUW, CIRCO, New Horizon, Urban Mining Collective, Dutch Design Foundation.
Embassy of Health: Designing for Chronic Health
Whether it involves serious games for both patients and healthcare providers, or ‘hacking’ healthcare applications, designers are active in the healthcare system in many different ways. Through both existing and more speculative projects, the Embassy of Health shows how designers play a key role in our health and well-being.
As the DIY trend continues, patients and caregivers can make and use more and more medical applications independently. This development gives private individuals and professionals greater control, yet it also presents challenges and dilemmas. How do open source designs relate to commercial products? And how about the data collected with digital tools? Would you want to share your blood values with Google, Amazon or the world? In Take Control: Data and Devices ‘hacking designer’, Jesse Howard exposes what we usually don’t see in the patient-focused, closed world of medical applications. With his transparent approach, he shows how DIY designs can change the relationship between people, products and companies.
With Carebnb, Femke Feenstra (Gortemaker Algra Feenstra) and Aziza Aachiche (Sociaal in Vastgoed Management & Advies) have created a bed and breakfast that is not meant for tourists but exlusively for people in need of informal care on a temporary basis. For instance, for those who have recently been discharged from hospital and could use some help and company. Carebnb matches them with individuals offering a room in their home as a place to stay. Medical care is provided as usual by the local nurse and physiotherapist, but the host or hostess can help with daily affairs: eating breakfast, going for a walk, or providing a listening ear. This, too, brings about a speedy recovery. The project is supported by the Creative Industries Fund NL. Kuang-Yi Ku, an artist in residence at Waag, Amsterdam, addresses the huge demand for wild animal parts in traditional Chinese medicine – which forms a real threat to conservation – in his Tiger Penis Project. Ku proposes a solution for threatened species like rhinos and tigers, whereby Chinese physicians do not have to be deprived of their secret ingredients. Why not cultivate the bones, horns and penises in a laboratory with the help of biotechnology? The ‘Tiger Penis Project’ bridges old traditions and technological innovation, helping to preserve both cultural tradition as well as nature.
Area: Strijp T+R – B8 / Location: Innovation Powerhouse, Zwaanstraat 31A
Partners: VanBerlo, Waag, Philips, Maxima Medisch Centrum, U CREATE
Embassy of Mobility: Driving Perspectives
What is mobility and what does it mean for our society? What role does mobility play in urban development and the numerous challenges that accompany urban growth and renewal? Can mobility offer solutions rather than cause problems? The Embassy of Mobility, located in the former V&D building in the centre of Eindhoven, will address these questions at DDW.
The Embassy of Mobility addresses the theme of mobility from different perspectives. The role of mobility in urban development and environmental issues, technical developments and the role of the digitization of society receive special attention, as well as what nature can teach us and possible cross-overs with fellow embassies like Energy and Food. One of these cross-overs is symbolized in the work of Marjan van Aubel’s Power Plant: the world’s first self-powering greenhouse. Through transparent solar glass, it powers its indoor climate while harvesting both food and electricity which help grow future plants. Aubel makes use of the fact that power plants receive enough sunlight per hour to provide the world with enough electricity for an entire year. What if we could tackle our world’s energy and food problems at the same time? At the embassy’s test track, you can try Segway’s latest products, which are not on the market in NL: the new Drift e-skates. At the workshop of Infento you can even build your own vehicle. The speakers format at the Embassy of Mobility offers visitors another perspective in a timeslot of 2 times 20 minutes every hour, setting the stage for Kenan Aksular of BMWi’s innovative mobility-concept and Rob Adams who believes cities should be designed around happiness, not technology or efficiency. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday the design team of Renault will join the talks.
Area: Downtown – D7 / location: Warehouse of Innovation, Vrijstraat 11
Partner: KOGA, Warehouse of Innovation, Signify
Embassy of Food: Design Visions on an Invisible, Edible World
‘This year, the Embassy of Food focuses on the invisible components in our food,’ says eating designer and programme curator Marije Vogelzang. ‘Which is why I want to call the Embassy the Micro Embassy. We focus on food and design in relation to micro-organisms. These tiny organisms are everywhere and influence our lives to a far greater extent than most people realise. Our gut flora and the products we eat not only influence our physical health, but also our emotional well-being, our behaviour and even our taste. Will we soon be treating Alzheimer’s and depression through diets? What can designers do with such knowledge, will be explored at the Witte Dame by the Embassy of Food.
‘The Edible Invisible’ is divided into two sections. One section will be provided by students of the Food Non Food department of the Design Academy. Under the supervision of Tom Loois and Mara Skujeniece, they bring an interactive experience which will give visitors a sensory experience of how microbes affect our quality of life.
‘The other section of the exhibition consists of at least six projects by designers who work with food. Nutrient Solution by designers Ina Turinsky & Andreas Wagner take us into a world where we are able to create our own green micro algae culture. Feed the micro algae culture with a daily dose of bodily nutrient and air and, over a span of ten to fourteen days, the seedlings grow in to a lush population ready to be consumed. Roza Januszproject SCOBY is about turning packaging production into a benefit for the environment instead of a hazard. With 0.9 Grams of Brass designer Adelaide Lala Tam re-evaluates the worth of animals’ lives within the meat industry. The paperclip -which you can get from the vending machine- is as valuable as the 0.9 gram of copper coming from the empty cartridge of the stun gun used to shoot animals in the slaughter house. Alongside Edible Invisible, the finalists of the Future Food Design Awards will also be showcased at the Embassy of Food. This is the second year the award will be presented. The prize was established by The Dutch Institute of Food & Design (DIFD) in collaboration with Agri Meets Design. During DDW, the public can vote for the audience award.
Area: Downtown – D3 / Location: de Witte Dame, Emmasingel 14, Floor 1
Partner: The Dutch Institute of Food&Design, Design Academy Eindhoven, Zagenzagen nl
Embassy of Water: Ideas for a Water-Friendly City
The Embassy of Water is a platform for water-related design and was called into being to inspire and accelerate innovation. Connecting designers, governments, knowledge and research institutes, enterprises and end-users at an early stage, this embassy will become a creative ‘ Water Hub’ – a place where future-oriented collaborations can be established with the aim of achieving a sustainable, water-friendly society. This year’s Embassy of Water focuses on 2 themes: Water Sensitive Urban Design (Water in the City) and Nature Based Solutions (The Power of Water).
With an increasing number of urban residents and ever-expanding cities, the use of water in the city is an increasingly topical theme. That is why the Water Embassy puts the main focus on water in the city during DDW. The starting point is the question: How can we turn Eindhoven into a water sensitive city, prepared for the challenges posed by urbanization and climate change? ‘This question comes from the urban water management system that is called Water Sensitive Urban Design’, says Van der Poll, curator of the Embassy of Water. ‘This approach is regarded worldwide as a very effective solution for tackling urbanization and climate change problems, such as rainwater problems and heat islands, the places in the city that are extra warm due to too much concrete and lack of green space.’
The approach focuses on the reduction of water consumption, the collection, cleaning and recycling of rainwater and the construction of sustainable drainage systems. In the water-sensitive city, rainwater is no longer led directly to the sewer system, but collected and delayed by green roofs, rain gates, water squares and ponds. The vision of van der Poll has been realized in numerous projects, one of which is Rain (a) Way – an urban design agency that was founded in 2014 by Fien Dekker who was inspired during her travels to Africa and Japan Dekker. The transparent way in which Japanese rainwater is made visible in urban areas of the city, and the joy with which African people welcome rain, surprised Dekker. Her main goal is to implement her special tiles in all city’s worldwide so we can use rainwater more effectively. Another example is Lucas Zoutendijk’s of project STUDIO 1:1. Zoutendijk was asked to map the residual flows of the Water Board in his capacity as lecturour Research Associate within the ‘Strategic Creativity’ lectorate at the Design Academy Eindhoven – a project commissioned by Waterschap de Dommel and Dr. Bas Raijmakers.
Area: Hallenweg – G4 / location: Bergmannstraat 76 (Atelier NL)
Partners: vanderPolloffice, Waterschap De Dommel, gemeente Eindhoven, provincie Noord-Brabant
Embassy of Urban Transformation: The city and the Human Perspective
What does the city of the future look like? The Embassy of Urban Transformation exhibits accessible examples of urban transformations that contribute to an inspiring, flexible, self-sufficient, mobile and caring city. Through talks, workshops and the exhibition, the Embassy intends to challenge locals and visitors as well as policy makers to think about cities and their state of flux. The embassy paints a picture of the possibilities for cities in the future and shows that we are all in fact ‘designers’ of this transformation.
One of the most talked about issues in the city is traffic. We are all aware that mobility adds to the quality of life. In this light, project De Verkeersonderneming x AKKA Architects aims at innovating mobility in the metropolitan region of Rotterdam – The Hague by engaging citizens in co-creation processes. Besides the operational goal of reducing traffic jams, this process seeks to change citizens’ mindsets by motivating them to make more conscious and informed decisions and to engage in more suitable & future-proof travel behaviour. This project is in the scope of the ‘Beter Benutten’ programme – which is Dutch for ‘Better Utilisation’ – run by De Verkeersonderneming agency. Anne van Abkoude and Marc Andrews’ concerns are the elderly people living in the city, especially the demented, so they decided to give a second life to the ANWB emergency post as a new help and guiding aid for people suffering from dementia; de praatpaal. These yellow emergency telephones have been a beacon of help placed alongside the Dutch highway since the 1960’s for roadside assistance. The younger generation of motorists has undoubtedly never used the yellow object; for the older generation, it is a beacon of help. The poles have been removed from the highway in 2017 but the designer’s duo reinvented the tool. One press on the button and the voice on the other side reassures you and sends help right away to get you home safely.
Area: Central – C3 / location: The Student Hotel, Stationsweg 1
Partners: Afdeling Buitengewone Zaken, The Student Hotel
Dutch Design Foundation (DDF) is optimistic and believes that the problem-solving capacity of designers can improve the world. That’s why DDF offers designers opportunities, support, publicity and a platform. DDF organizes Dutch Design Week, World Design Event and the Dutch Design Awards and is active far beyond the Netherlands. Through debates, lectures, exhibitions and gatherings staged all year round, DDF provides a platform for the best and most promising designers, helping to disseminate their ideas and work. www.dutchdesignfoundation.com