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Dutch Design Week 2023 spotlights sustainable innovations for a thriving planet
Behind Bioinnovations, Just One Brick and Dump Design at Dutch Design Week 2023
Image: Courtesy of Anne Kinnunen, Yi Design and Despina Papachristoudi

Dutch Design Week 2023 spotlights sustainable innovations for a thriving planet

The design festival this year becomes a stage for exploration and innovation, for creatives envisioning sustainable projects embodying conscious design practices. 

by Anushka Sharma
Published on : Oct 27, 2023

The city of Eindhoven, from October 21 - 29, 2023, is submerged in the ideas of over 2,600 designers and the strides of numerous visitors, courtesy the ongoing Dutch Design Week 2023. The design festival, welcoming every imaginable design discipline, puts the spotlight on experimenting, innovation, and emerging talent. The narrative that binds all threads of the programme is the design of the future and the future of design, articulating this year’s theme: Picture This.

In light of the mammoth crises that the world faces today—climate change, pandemics, resource depletion, and war—the design event calls upon creatives and enthusiasts to imagine a world that humanity can nurture, together. The future requires responsibility is a tenet that emerges at the forefront of many design exhibitions, product designs, and showcases that partake in the design week.

As sustainability, circular economy, upcycled design, and bio-innovations take centre stage in the city, STIR enlists the exhibitions and showcases grabbing eyeballs through this narrative.

Redefining Recycling Centre Waste

Circuit boards transformed into jewellery designs, sofas turned into bags, or flooring morphed into table designs: these are just a few possibilities making up the ensemble at Dump Design’s project. Research on the development of new materials sourced from recycled waste steps into the physical realm with these practical examples, iterating how design can emulate from unexpected places. Specialising in working with waste materials, the design collective addresses the problem at the Alere waste recycling centres, creating a collection made purely out of waste. Each of the six designers—namely A.M. Andersen, Studio Heinepein, Isolde Sierade, La Femme Qui Rit, Ruig and Geroest, and The Bin—focus on specific aspects of waste streams: textiles, furniture, metals, or electronics. Together, they urge viewers to rethink their purchasing and discarding practices, highlighting the value in what is considered worthless and ‘waste.’

Icons Re/ Outfitted

The mountain of textile-generated waste grows exponentially each day—what if these discards were to dress iconic furniture designs? The Visionary Lab joins forces with Vitra and Levi's, to upcycle iconic chairs with discarded denim. The collaborators set out on a journey of rethinking waste and exploring innovative solutions to repurpose it. ‘Icons Re/Outfitted' breathes new life into iconic chair designs from Vitra, such as Eames, Panton and Nelson, with repurposed denim from Levi’s. Nkwo Onwuka, Hannah Brabon, Kelly Konings, Tim Dekkers, Sophie Cagniart, Norman Monsanto, Barbara Polderman, and Sarmite Polakova were invited to re-outfit the masterpieces by Vitra. This project is perched on the intersection of fashion and furniture, uniting prominent chairs with equally iconic denim.

Just One Brick

What role can circular, recycled products play in the interior and architecture industry? Just One Brick by Yi Design presents these possibilities at the Dutch Design Week 2023 unfolding in the Netherlands. Industrial ceramic waste is transformed into multi-purpose, decorative, structural, and customisable tiles and bricks, as pieces combining art and design. The designers accumulated over 5,000 tons of ceramic waste and turned them into products—making bricks and tiles with the new material, followed by many other creative uses such as brooches, cups, tables, sculptures, fountains, and lighting. Just One Brick speaks of the numerous possibilities of this recycled brick material and also includes a lighting design developed in collaboration with Italian designer Martin Oberhauser of Studio Oberhauser.

Wearable Tapestries

This exhibition ushers the viewers to question their relationship with their clothing. Wearable Tapestries puts this relationship under a lens of scrutiny, challenging an industry that consumes and wastes too much. In the project, clothing is looked at with the perspective of multifunctional design by combining fashion design and art. What began as an affinity with textiles, prints and sustainability, culminates in a mixed medium with a double function—a piece both wearable and decorative. The clothing is such that it can easily shapeshift as a tapestry. The double function extends the cycle of usage of the textile design, and pushes the consumer to question what they are actually buying.

Behind Bioinnovations

Aalto University Bioinnovation Center aims to bolster the transition towards bio and circular economy through biomaterials. For this year's Dutch Design Week, the Center musters diverse people with different expertise to reach unexpected breakthroughs in material research. The aim of the exhibition is to bridge disciplines, inspire thinking and expand networks. Exploration and experimentation in working methods fuel material research. The Center accentuates the significance of bio-based materials to decrease the dependency on fossil fuels—sharing this knowledge with viewers through the exhibition.


The Wasatch Design Collective solves problems through the simple process of folding. The collective unveils a series of fold-it-yourself lamps made from bioplastics. By creating products through this process, the designers reduce the amount of petroleum utilised in the manufacturing and shipping of the production. Folding is employed as a way of simplifying production, reducing waste, and making objects engaging. The series of lamp designs epitomises the tenets of the collective that revolve around consuming responsibly, while actively partaking in forming the things around us. The troupe includes several pendant and table lamps that arrive flat and are folded into form by the end user.


This large light installation at Strijp-S at Microlab Hall showcases how the form of a species is affected by habitat. Evolumination is presented by Kollegi, a Finland-based collective, to celebrate the habitats and their effect on biodiversity, eliciting a sense of care towards our planet. Using computational design with the installation, the designers contrive solutions in a tangible example of 144 unique lamps. The exhibit reveals how generative design and digital manufacturing yields unique products—whether as individual instances or collections.

Eilamp (Egg lamp)

Taking cues from Droog Design, Ruben de Haas brings to light a simple and quirky lamp made out of real egg shells. These unique light surprises and entices through the imperfections of the eggshells. For Dutch Design Week 2023, de Haas partners with Dutch artist Micky Hoogendijk and Studio Josha—both presenting light fixtures made especially for the 'Egglamp.' Hoogendijk is renowned for her bronze sculptural art while Studio Josha creates one-off lamps that are bought by collectors worldwide.

Dutch Design Week (DDW) 2023 is hosted in Eindhoven, the Netherlands from October 21 - 29, 2023 and is supported by the Dutch Design Foundation. Follow STIR's coverage here.

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