written by:
April 13, 2016
An exhibition heralds a new wave of Dutch designers plying technology and craft.
Knotted Chair by Marcel Wanders

The San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design's exhibition Hands Off: New Dutch Design at the Confluence of Technology & Craft highlighted Amsterdam-based Marcel Wanders’ Knotted chair, one of the first examples of an industrially produced object that goes beyond traditional handcrafting. Contemporary Dutch designs often embody the core ideas that went into this now-iconic piece.

Photo by 
1 / 20
Eric Klarenbeek’s chair, The Mycelium Project

Eric Klarenbeek’s chair, the Mycelium Project, has a 3D-printed skin of recycled organic material that is filled with a lightweight fungus that provides structural strength. Working from Amsterdam with the University of Wageningen, Klarenbeek used a mixture of water, powdered straw, and mycelium fungus fibers to print a hollow chair that has a bio-plastic skin. As the interior dries, the living mycelium fungus grows within. Combined with 3D printing, it can be made into anything, according to Klarenbeek, from compostable walls for a house to entire cities. 

Courtesy of 
Eric Klarenbeek
2 / 20
Jólan van der Wiel at work

Award-winning designer Jolan Van der Wiel founded his Amsterdam studio in 2011 on the strength of a single idea: that he could create unusual shapes by manipulating gravity. Supported by a wood crucible, he wields large magnets like a puppeteer to manipulate and extrude a mixture of resins and metal shavings contained in a shallow bowl to form unfamiliar shapes. Stools, tables, and even shoes and dresses wear his anti-gravity look.

Courtesy of 
Jólan van der Wiel
3 / 20
Jólan Van der Wiel's gravity stool

Van der Wiel’s three-legged Gravity Stool, which is produced upside-down, owes its unique shape to the pull of opposing magnetic fields. By manipulating them, he twists a thick, primordial-looking mixture of resin-and-steel fragments into one-of-a-kind forms. 

Courtesy of 
Jólan van der Wiel
4 / 20
Anouk Wipprecht's Spider Dress 2.0

Fashion-tech designer Anouk Wipprecht’s white Spider Dress 2.0 was developed with Philip Wilck along the lines of a previous dress she made inspired by arachnids. The 3D-printed robotic garment with eight jointed arms (activated by sensors and Intel Edison chips with artificial bio-signal intelligence) protects the wearer. Depending on the wearer's mood—agitated or pleased—the arms of the dress spring upward to ward off intrusions.

Courtesy of 
Anouk Wipprecht
5 / 20
Mine Kafon by Massoud Hassani

Eindhoven’s Massoud Hassani of Hassani Design BV emulated natural "technology" with his Mine Kafon, a low-tech landmine detector that is powered by gravity and wind energy. It contains a GPS chip to precisely transmit the location of mines it has detected or detonated. The 175-pound prototype is heavy enough to trip land mines while rolling across the ground or down hills in the outskirts of, say, Kabul, Afghanistan, where Hassani used to play as a child with homemade wind-powered toys alongside his younger brother.

Courtesy of 
Hassani Design BV
6 / 20
A pavilion by Martijn Koomen and chandelier by Tiddo Bakker

The Hands Off installation at the Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco included Martijn Koomen’s wood-and-glass cylindrical pavilion and Tiddo Bakker’s kinetic sculptural chandelier In Vena Verbum, hanging from a three-legged wood arch.

Photo by 
7 / 20
Feathers by Martijn Koomen

From within Martijn Koomen’s installation, you can see feathers swirling within double-walled windows. In this conceptual prototype, Koomen demonstrates how changing weather, like high winds, can be harnessed to create special effects in interiors.

Photo by 
8 / 20
Tiddo Bakker’s In Vena Verbum

Tiddo Bakker’s In Vena Verbum (Message in a Vein), is a kinetic metal sculpture, with motors and circuitry activated by a houseplant that is stimulated by light. 

At his eponymous studio that is affiliated with Collaboration O’, Bakker enlisted the help of physicist Henk Jalink and his team at the Centre for BioSystems Genomics to measure the activity and stress level of the plant and transmit that energy digitally to cause the sculpture to move.

 

Courtesy of 
Tiddo Bakker
9 / 20
Shylights by StudioDrift

Shylights, by StudioDrift’s Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta, are wirelessly operated chandeliers that emulate the diurnal opening and closing of flowers. Hands Off included original prototypes, but five new Shylights hang permanently in the Rijksmuseum’s newly opened Philips Wing. 

Courtesy of 
StudioDrift
10 / 20
Scene from Hands Off at the Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco

The installation included ByBorre’s quilted BatoMa Spectrum Cycle "tower," produced by a mattresses quilting company. Created by Amsterdam’s Borre Akkersdijk the quilted stitching is designed so that the fabric can be used for mattresses or be easily cut—without destroying the quilting—into garment shapes. See the award-winning video that illustrates the process by Niel Hoebers.

In the foreground, a hollow gold object called Sleeping Gold by exhibition/interior designer Grietje Schepers constantly expands and contracts. It changes shape like a living, breathing companion in the room thanks to a concealed air pump. 

Photo by 
11 / 20
Potato Tableware by DUS Architects

Amsterdam’s DUS Architects, the firm led by Hans Vermuelen, Hedwig Heinsman and Martine de Wit, are perhaps best known for 2013's 3D Print Canal House. DUS is now making recyclable tableware printed with organic waste materials. Potato Tableware is printed with plastics made from the scraps of spuds. The shapes of the vessels are also derived from potatoes. 

Courtesy of 
DUS Architects
12 / 20
Furniture by Dirk van der Kooij

Amsterdam’s Dirk van der Kooij developed the Endless chair, Chubby chair, RvR chair, Melting Pot table, Flow table, and Fresnel lamp between 2010-2014 in Eindhoven. His furniture, which is printed in an unbroken stream of plastic, was shown as part of Hands Off at the Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco. 

Photo by 
13 / 20
Daniel de Bruin’s THIS NEW TECHNOLOGY

Daniel de Bruin’s THIS NEW TECHNOLOGY is the world's first analog 3D printer, made of metal parts, weights, and a single bent wire that is "coded" to make different shapes. It is an ironic foil to computerized 3D printers that make things swiftly and efficiently.

Courtesy of 
Daniel de Bruin
14 / 20
Feeds per Minute

Along with Mark Brand and Remon van den Eijnden, Raw Color, an Eindhoven design partnership led by Christoph Brach and Daniera ter Haar, created Feeds per Minute, a digital data clock with no hands. It projects world events minute-by-minute onto a wall, harvesting news feeds off the Internet in real time.

Courtesy of 
Raw Color
15 / 20
Aoife Wullur's Shades of Light

Designer Aoife Wullur’s Shades of Light are fabric scrims and screens woven with fine strands of low-voltage wiring that conduct power to tiny magnetized LED lights. The starry droplets can be clustered to create different levels of illumination within one space. The concept fabric will someday be sold by the yard to make new kinds of curtains, room dividers, spot lighting, and even chandeliers. 

Courtesy of 
Aoife Wullur
16 / 20
Dennis Parren's CMYK chandelier

Dennis Parren, a former graphic designer and illustrator, created the CMYK Sculpture, a chandelier that casts split-colored shadows. Parren applied filters to the LED bulbs based on his knowledge of additive and subtractive light, pigment color theories, and how cyan (C), magenta (M), yellow (Y) and black (K) interact. This important lighting innovation could someday be used for mood-altering light therapies. 

Courtesy of 
Dennis Parren
17 / 20
Jolan Van der Wiel's Cordulights

Jolan Van der Wiel has devised magnetized cords that allow embedded LED lights that turn on-and-off in aberrant sequences that appear to flow. At the Hands Off exhibition in Eindhoven, Van der Wiel’s Cordulights were used to backlight the signage.

Courtesy of 
Dutch Design Week/Eindhoven
18 / 20
Hands Off exhibition during Dutch Design Week 2015

During Dutch Design Week 2015, the Hands Off exhibition was shown in the Veemgebouw building. It included designer Eric Klarenbeek’s experiments with mycelium. 

Courtesy of 
Dutch Design Week/Eindhoven
19 / 20
Our Kisses installation

Random Studio, an interactive digital design studio based in Amsterdam, and Petrovsky & Ramone created Our Kisses, a wish-bone shaped contraption that invites viewers to kiss one end while a camera hidden at the other end records them. 

The project aimed to bring strangers together onscreen with a simple human gesture that extends beyond race, age, and gender. The installation was originally created for the Oxymoron exhibition of Petrovsky & Ramone during Beijing Design Week 2013. 

Courtesy of 
Random Studio
20 / 20
Knotted Chair by Marcel Wanders

The San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design's exhibition Hands Off: New Dutch Design at the Confluence of Technology & Craft highlighted Amsterdam-based Marcel Wanders’ Knotted chair, one of the first examples of an industrially produced object that goes beyond traditional handcrafting. Contemporary Dutch designs often embody the core ideas that went into this now-iconic piece.

Photo by Matthew Millman.

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. 

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

45 dva 2270 persp1 cmyk 0
The prospect of retirement doesn’t just signal the end of a career; it offers the chance to recalibrate and re-prioritize in life.
July 25, 2016
18
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016