Lidewij Edelkoort possesses a knack for sleuthing out nascent cultural influences that shape global trends. Her work in the 1990s introduced Dutch design to the global stage and she’s since published a number of provocative manifestos, influential trend books, and essays that the creative industries closely watch.
The Dutch writer, trend forecaster, and former chair of the prestigious Design Academy Eindhoven was recently named dean of Hybrid Design at Parsons and has revealed her personal collection in an installation at Kazerne, a gallery in the Netherlands.
Edelkoort was an early champion of what she calls the “autonomous design” trend defined in the Netherlands in the 1990s—a movement where emerging creatives relied on their experiences to create expressive, conceptual designs that did not require connoisseurship to understand. The Amsterdam-based collective Droog best embodies the witty and irreverent spirit that permeated Dutch design during the decade. For example, the Big White Pot and Red White Vase by Hella Jongerius (1997), the Knotted Chair by Marcel Wanders (1996), and the Smoke Collection by Maarten Baas (2003), are examples of this movement and what Edelkoort is sharing in the installation.
“This exhibition demonstrates what has been achieved here in Eindhoven, and how these achievements have then gone on to influence the world,” Edelkoort says in a press statement. Dutch whimsy and humor have permeated all manner of design today, from Silicon Valley’s penchant for “delightful” interaction design to quirky Italian kitchenware and tongue-in-cheek pieces like the “Don’t Leave Me” table from Danish brand Hay. “The collection shows what great creative spirits are capable of,” Edelkoort says, “and I hope it will inspire new generations of creatives to dare to go further, to seek genuine renewal, and to make the necessary leaps forward.”
Open Ended: Dutch and Autonomous Design from 1995–2015 is on view at Kazerne until September 28, 2015. See more in our slide show above.