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Design Passage: a new design festival instating creative culture in The Hague
Installation view of Design Passage
Image: Johan Nieuwenhuize

Design Passage: a new design festival instating creative culture in The Hague

The design event taking place from November 17-19, 2023, hosts an array of design talks and works, including creatives from the Netherlands, Bangladesh, Malta, and more. 

by Almas Sadique
Published on : Nov 18, 2023

A new design event is on show at De Passage Den Haag (The Passage), a shopping centre in The Hague, The Netherlands. Design Passage, a three-day international design festival, platforms young designers and small labels, with the intent of diversifying the creative disciplines. The design fair, open to the public from November 17 - 19, 2023, is splattered across the top floors of The Hague Passage, in a space that possesses substantial heritage value. These floors, left unused after a fire damaged them in 1990, witness a revival with the showcase of various art and design objects, displayed as part of Design Passage. In addition to the design objects created by Dutch designers, showcases by creatives of various other countries (such as Bangladesh, Brazil, Greece, Malta, and Kosovo), are on view at the ongoing fair.

The varieties of objects on display at Design Passage include lamps, rugs, sculptures, furniture, as well as paintings. The fair also includes a programme dedicated to discourse, namely 'Design Talks,' scheduled to be held on November 19, 2023, and led by researcher, writer, and curator Jeroen Junte. It will host conversations with Gert Dumbar and Brecht Hoffmann of KABK, and Edwin Volleberg. Individuals and studios such as Bas Kosters, Inge Simonis, Matter of Material, Jeroen van Veluw, Studio Møbel, Nina van Bart, Studio Ingrid Roos and Juno Brown, among others, are a few whose works are spread across the halls of The Passage.

Additionally, various international designers, supported by their embassies, display their work at the fair. Among these are Ariana Nila of Kosovo, The New Raw from Greece, Beni Boonon of Bangladesh, Roberta Banqueri of Brazil, and Martina Farrugia of Malta. While Ariana Nila showcases works that combine artisanal jewellery and filigree with smart technology, The New Raw presents furniture designs made of plastic waste. Beni Boonon’s designer rugs, Roberta Banqueri’s chair design and sofa design, and Martina Farrugia’s narrative-based ceramic art are among the other showcases.

While Dutch designer Nina van Bart showcases tactile totems at the fair, emerging designer-maker Michela D’Angelo presents lamps made out of clay, glass, rattan, recycled plastic, textile, and bronze. Studio Kars + Boom, a Dutch studio made up of Cynthia Boom and Kevin Kars, weave images of imaginary cities and buildings with their playful installations; meanwhile, Dutch artist Celia Hadeler’s Rugs & Wall Hangings are textile art pieces where the features of trompe l'oeil have been integrated. Home decor brand Ikonic’s playful, toy-like collectables bear the mark of contemporary designers such as Floris Hovers, Femke Hofhuis, and Joost Swarte, while Marc de Groot’s lamp design echoes forms typically found in nature.

Ceramic artist Inge Simonis’s porcelain vases and lamps reference rudimentary forms and architecture, while multidisciplinary designer Laura Luchtman’s artworks capture the essence of a colourful world. Product designer Juno Brown’s lamps at the fair is not only made using pre-used materials, and hence, sustainable, but are also innovatively construed—an assemblage of discarded Philips tubular lights. Studio Mirte, a design and rug practice from Utrecht, presents carpet designs and wall pieces that demonstrate a strong graphic sense, as fabric maker Ilse Evers’s showcase comprises unique hanging pieces made out of old fire hoses. Jantien Baas’s paper sculptures can serve as colourful additions to any indoor space.

Tineke Beunders and Nathan Wierink’s innovative lighting design draws focus to the intimate linkages between architecture and light, and artist and designer Bas Kosters’s endearing sculptures and caricatures implore viewers to be compassionate. Lighting designer Ingrid Roos’s fixtures are minimalist lamps that attempt to do more with less, while Amsterdam-based designer Isabel Quiroga’s showcase conveys the stories of indoor paraphernalia through recycled creations.

Arne Leliveld’s presentation at the fair is a collection of everyday product designs configured atypically, with the intent of bringing out their ‘extraordinary-ness.’ The exhibition also witnesses jewellery designs by the likes of Roos and Geertje Eek of Tweek-Eek. “We use massive machines that were not originally meant to produce jewellery but are intended for furniture or high-tech industries. By repurposing these machines, we create unique shapes and patterns while also minimising waste or ingeniously reusing it,” they share.

Textile designer Sina Dyks’s textile sculptures, made out of upcycled plastic, embody bizarre patterns conceived by amalgamating traditional manufacturing processes and advanced technological research. Product designer Marisa Klaster’s monolithic wooden sculptures, on the other hand, are functional objects built by stacking smaller components one over the other. The fusion of function and play in Klaster’s works urges the viewer’s curiosity. Mimi Berlin’s anthropomorphic art pieces convey a wide range of dichotomous emotions and Iris Nijenhuis’s objects present alternate usages for textiles, in the form of interior objects and accessories. Marjan Veltkamp's wall screens and room dividers bear organic shapes and Anne van de Weijer’s interior objects exude softness.

A special exhibition at the fair named Bauhaus Laugh House presents works developed by students from KABK under the helm of Gert Dumbar, an Indonesia-born designer and founder of studio Dumbar. “Gert Dumbar tries to release students from the bloated importance of design history by fusing humour and irony into the curriculum,” reads an excerpt from the exhibition text. The displayed items at the design exhibition include interactive art pieces, design objects, and multimedia installations that are inspired by works of modernist artists such as Le Corbusier and Oskar Schlemmer, as well as prominent figures from the Bauhaus movement such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Josef Albers, Peter Keler, and Marcel Breuer.

Design Passage is open to the public from November 17 - 19, 2023, at De Passage Den Haag (The Passage The Hague), in the Netherlands.

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