Design Academy Eindhoven 2021 Graduation Show Highlights
Post Pandemic Playground
As the world slowly re-emerges from the pandemic, it is gratifying to see long pent-up creative forces being unleashed. None more so than the graduation show of the Design Academy Eindhoven, back as a physical exhibition after taking a pandemic-enforced break in 2020. The 163 projects on show are, as usual, brimming with exuberant creativity, but perhaps also tinged with a degree of introspection. They nevertheless strike an optimistic note for the future, despite the multiple problems confronting our world. Here are some of the projects which caught our eye.
FREDERIK PESCH - RARE WOODS
The technique of glueing printed laminate sheets onto plywood or fibre boards has long been associated with inexpensive furniture. Frederik Pesch is fascinated by this idea of "fake wood" - not because of its low cost and ubiquity, but because of the creative control it offers in terms of colours, patterns and materials. He could, for example, create laminates which look like wood from endangered tree species or in unexpected colours. For his graduation project he created two steel benches with wood print laminates. The organic patterns and colours of the laminate look intriguingly incongruous with the steel structure, thereby highlighting the fluidity between what is "real" and what is "fake".
The Table B, designed by Konstantin Grcic for BD Barcelona Design, is made of industrially extruded aluminium sections with wood and other colour laminates - a great example of the fusion between organic and industrial inspirations.
See more: PeschPesch
IRIS VAN HAGEN - FADING MOUNTAIN
Climate change is on everyone's lips, but thanks to Iris van Hagen it may soon be under everyone's feet too. An avid mountaineer, the designer chose to highlight the impact of climate change by creating a hand-woven layered rug inspired by the topographical map of the Grosser Aletsch glacier. The blue and white colours represent the glacier whilst the red and brown colours represent the bare earth. The Grosser Aletsch glacier, the largest in the Alps, has receded by 1 km since 2000, whilst 40% of all glaciers around the world are forecast to disappear in the next 30 years. Likewise with the Fading Mountain rug, if you don't take care when using it, the blue and white threads will wear out, exposing the earthy colours underneath. This is a thoughtful piece of art worthy of careful preservation indeed.
See more: Iris van Hagen
FLEUR CHIARITO - ALONGSIDE
For someone who's had to move home almost once every three years, Fleur Chiarito understands the hassle and feeling of rootlessness which comes with frequent house moves only too well. Her solution is to create a set of nine multi-functional boxes which can be used as shelves, stools or storage boxes. Made of solid mahogany, they are designed to last a lifetime and to blend into any interior space. They also cleverly fit onto a standard pallet, which makes them easy to transport. This enables you to unpack quickly and surround yourself with familiar objects even in new, unfamiliar spaces. Now that feels like home.
See more: Fleur Chiarito
MARLO LYDA - SCRAPTOPIA
Inspired by the concept of "urban mining", Scraptopia is a vision of the future where all metal waste is salvaged and recycled. Marlo Lyda is your metallurgist / craftsman / alchemist in chief, using a variety of techniques such as electrolysis and lost wax casting to create everyday objects such as vessels, tools and combs from abandoned metal components. These all share a certain raw, savage beauty and are sure to raise awareness on the problem of waste.
See more: Marlo Lyda
ZAVIER WONG - THE COMMON TABLE
Reflecting on the themes of individuality and togetherness, designer Zavier Wong created five tables, each made of a different found material (brick, plastic, scrap wood, styrofoam and steel). These materials were broken down into smaller pieces and then stuck together to create individual tables which then fit with each other to form a long communal table. The end result, highly structured and chaotic at the same time, is a beautiful portrayal of the strength of diversity.
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MATTHIEU HENRY - HUMAN MOULD
Creators have the power to shape the objects they create, but the objects don't always serve the needs of the creators. The humble chair, for example, compels the sitter to take a very particular posture - straight back, knees bent, feet on the ground etc. Who's the boss now? Designer Matthieu Henry explores this complex relationship by creating chairs based on the human body as a mould. The creator therefore becomes its creation, which in turn serves the exact purpose of its creator at that moment in time. We are not sure how comfortable the chairs are, but they certainly demonstrate the circular nature of creativity.
See more: Matthieu Henry
LEO MAHER - MUCH ALIKE STATUES
Antique furniture, like ancient statues, reflect the events and values from the past. Designer Leo Maher emphasises this point by making an antique style cabinet, using traditional decoration techniques to depict contemporary issues. We think the coronaviruses surrounding the Queen and mildly ridiculous figurine of Boris Johnson are particularly nice touches.
See more: Leo Maher