In an odd twist, a particular cadre of Dutch designers traveled from San Francisco, California, to the Netherlands for last fall’s Dutch Design Week 2015 in Eindhoven.
Many of DDW’s 270,000 global attendees visited Hands Off: New Dutch Design at the Confluence of Technology and Craft, curated by this writer for the Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco, where it was first shown from May through September.
“Exposure in the USA has its own cachet at home,” explains Hedwig Heinsman of DUS architects, whose award-winning 3D-printed Canal House in Amsterdam was part of the exhibition. More than 20 other disparate, avant-garde, futuristic works, created with digital or repurposed analog processes, also demonstrated how widespread this approach is among Dutch designers, for whom old and new technologies are "tools" and also "materials" used to form interactive experiences. Architecture, furniture, fashion, and socially conscious experiments are all brought into a new era of making, and as the show's title implies, often without the use of hands.
These emerging Dutch designers emulate nature’s exquisite shape-making as simply and startlingly as Droog designer Marcel Wanders did with his 1997 Knotted chair, made of carbon fiber rope dipped and hardened in resin. Wanders’ contemporary, veteran designer Claudy Jongstra, whose fabric art will be featured in May at the much-anticipated SFMOMA building by Snohetta, has long approached craft from this perspective.
Hands Off features young designers relying on technology, biology, and nature, who are shaping a new era of craft and suggesting new paradigms for living. Take a look here.