Dutch Design Foundation shows how designers around the world are shaping a positive future

Dutch design is not a label for a certain group of designers or design aesthetic, but it is a permanent reflection of a culture and attitude that is characteristic of the Netherlands and of Dutch people. The Dutch identify with a solution-oriented approach. Dutch designers are free thinkers who embrace functionality, humanism, brutality, humour, the unconventional, the ability to put things into perspective and single-mindedness. They keep asking questions, aren’t hindered by hierarchical barriers, but also identify with the readiness for taking stakeholders seriously and involving them in the solution, in the creative process. At Dutch Design Week (16-24 October ’21), organized by Dutch Design Foundation, we show that Dutch design is an attitude and does not by definition refer to a nationality.

In the New Dutch Wave showcase, Dutch Design Foundation director Martijn Paulen talks to Matilde Boelhouwer and Marjan van Aubel. Two solution-oriented designers who are, each in their own way, working on a better world in which collaboration with nature is pivotal.

Marjan van Aubel

Marjan van Aubel is an award-winning solar designer. She brings solar energy into daily life through objects. Van Aubel’s most notable works are Current Table, Power Plant and she designed the roof of the Dutch Pavilion at the World Expo 2020 in Dubai. Her work is in the permanent collection of museums such as MoMA New York, the V&A London and Boijmans van Beuningen in the Netherlands, amongst others. She has collaborated with global brands such as Cos, Timberland and Swarovski with the aim of accelerating the global energy transition to solar.

I am looking for Solar Protagonists that could:
_ back the Kickstarter campaign
_ Join our Solar Movement next year at SxSW 2022

Matilde Boelhouwer

Atelier Boelhouwer is a multidisciplinary design studio which focuses on biology inspired research design, environment and sustainability. This manifests itself in both conceptual and speculative design as well as functional work that emphasizes on biodiversity.

Insects are a main subject in her work, due to their endless shapes, colors, functions and their important role in our ecosystem. In her studio, Boelhouwer regularly works with insects.

By working directly with insects she learns about their behavior, anatomy and the relationship between insects and humans. Boelhouwer thinks insects are a very forgotten group of animals, especially in design. You don’t see design for species other than humans very often. Which is a shame because designers do have the skill set to design for anything, also outside the human desire.

To Atelier Boelhouwer it’s particularly interesting to design for something else than humans, in this case, insects, because there are plenty of people designing for us. I find it a great adventure to look outside of the set boundaries of design and use my skills to design for an animal, and more even, they need it.

We’re looking for collaborations and funding to make those collaborations successful. This way we can develop the flowers for large-scale use and bring back the buzz in our cities and environments.

Martijn Paulen

Martijn Paulen (Geldrop, 16 April 1970) graduated with honours from Tilburg University as an organisational psychologist. He was an organisation consultant with Rubicon, taught Organisation Studies at Tilburg University, and was director of Innovation & New Learning Strategies at the TIAS Nimbas Business School.

In 2013 Paulen was appointed director of Dutch Design Foundation, the organisation behind Dutch Design Week and Dutch Design Awards. Under his guidance, the organisation focuses on experiment, innovation and cross-overs in design. Particular attention goes to the work and development of young talent. Direct links are successfully forged with the technology industry.

Dutch Design Foundation
Dutch Design Week
Dutch Design Awards