What Makes Dutch Design So Dutch?

An open competition seeking ingenious repairs proves that in the Netherlands, high-end design principals are practically a national motto.

What makes Dutch design so inextricably Dutch? If you were to abstract some lessons from famous Dutch designers--for example, Marcel Wanders, Hella Jongerius, or the Droog design collective--then you'd say it's all about practical whimsy, and an emphasis on the beauty of natural flaws. But those ideals don't live just in the studio--they're in the water.

For proof, you don't have to look any further than the way some Dutch repair what's broken. Platform 21, a design think tank obsessed with reusing objects, issued a Repair Manifesto and then launched a contest to find "The Most Remarkable Repair." They received over 60 entries. On August 31st, the competition results will be announced, with the winner judged by repairman, a tool tester, and an inventor.

In the meantime: Dammit if the Dutch entries don't look Dutch! These aren't the ugly duct-tape jobs you'd find over at There I Fixed It. You can easily picture a number of these ideas in a design museum. Like I wrote above: Practical whimsy, natural flaws.

A banister repair by an anonymous entrant:

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A coke-bottle used to repair a broken drain pipe, shattered by an errant soccer ball, by Jaap van der Feer:

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Cindy Wouters describes this repair of an Ikea lamp as well as any furniture designer at a design fair: "With the repair I exegerated its new unique character. The mysterious opening makes you curious, you get to peep at the light." 

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There's a similar attitude to Marcel van der Drift's make-shift patch: "Zipper closed: I’m decent. Zipper open: I’m cool."

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So Dutch it hurts: Calypso Schuijit didn't want to add fabric to make an old shrunken sweater fit better. So she cut hundreds of tiny slits in it, to enlarge it ever so slightly:

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And last, Liaf Lijberts resusitates a hammer with a broken handle: "With this new bit of wood I can use it again and I think it looks prettier and more robust now." Spoken like a Dutchman: 

Hammer

Check out the rest of the entries here

[Via Core 77]

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