Queen Máxima inspired by designers at Dutch Design Week 2023

© Max Kneefel
26 October, 2023

Queen Máxima visited Dutch Design Week (DDW) 2023 today and engaged in conversation with several designers. Miriam van der Lubbe, creative head of DDW, took the queen along several designers and locations at Strijp-S. Among other things, they explored the role of AI, the reuse of industrial residuals, sustainable furniture design and the application of unconventional materials in architecture and industry.

To give the widest possible picture of the design field, the queen was taken through a wide range of design disciplines and themes at Strijp-S. The tour started in Klokgebouw where, upon entering, she was given an explanation of the DDW theme ‘Picture This’ and the various programme lines. Designer Bram de Vos explained his project ‘How does the ideal 10HA of productive landscape look like?’. From green for outdoors, they moved on to green for indoors. Jana Flohr of design studio House of Thol showed the project ‘Designing for a green everyday’. Beautiful and smart solutions for everyday use, such as a fruit and vegetable dish that prevents food waste. Romaike Slikker, one of the designers behind WasteBase, talked about their digital platform that contributes to a circular economy by turning industrial residues into valuable, sustainable products for potential (smaller) customers. Yi Design showed a special collaboration of beautiful lighting with award-winning Italian designer Martin Oberhauser of Studio Oberhauser. The tour continued past Secrid’s exhibition, which featured innovative projects such as Climafibre and Solarix.

Besides smart solutions and prototypes, there was also room for the special collaboration of several major furniture manufacturers; Future Factory Furniture. A joint presentation initiated by DDW in which the manufacturers show how they can join forces towards making society more sustainable. From the somewhat more established, they moved on to young talent, namely the Class of 2023 exhibition, which featured graduates of Utrecht School of the Arts and AALTO University, where designer Markus Holste talked about the project Fold, origami-like figures as a sustainable alternative to traditional packaging material.

The exhibition GIO, an acronym for Good Industrial Design, featured three different projects that showed how industrial design can contribute to a better, more social and healthier world. But technical design was also highlighted in the overarching exhibition ‘Drivers of Change’ from Eindhoven University of Technology. Consider, for example, a smart GPS backpack for rats that allows them to save human lives by tracing bodies under rubble.

From Klokgebouw, the tour continued across Ketelhuisplein. Here, designer Bouke Bruins of De Reuringdienst talked about the social design project ‘Opiniepaal’, a project centred on citizen participation. Bouke, in collaboration with Province of Noort-Brabant, developed a talking post that collects the unsalted opinions of citizens. Spoken word is converted into usable data through AI; a low-threshold citizen referendum, as it were.

At the Embassy of Circular & Biobased Building, designers Pascal Leboucq (Biobased Creations) and Margreet van Uffelen (Omlab) took the queen on a tour of newly developed materials and applications that contribute to a regenerative and liveable city.

Both the designers and the queen were visibly inspired and enthused by the visit. It was an extensive programme in which many designers had the opportunity to share their ideas. Besides these projects at Strijp-S, there is of course much more to see at DDW23. In fact, there are nine other ‘design areas’ where talented national and international designers show their work. You can visit DDW until Sunday 29 October.