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During Dutch Design Week, e52 will be introducing you to the hidden gems of the festival. Together with Dutch Design Daily, we’ve selected nine special designers whose sparkle has caught our eye this year. Each day of DDW there’ll be a different hidden gem put under the spotlight. Today: Social Label (including the meet&greet at 14.00 today!)

Anyone who saw Social Label at DDW last year knows the concept: Social Label designs valuable, custom-made work through designer products, offering new work opportunities to those far removed from the labour market. Together with designers like Piet Hein Eek, Dick van Hoff and Borre Akkersdijk, Social Label is developing a product line of appealing yet functional designer items. Think sweeping brushes, cupboards and vases. They initiate the process of innovation, but also focus on the sales, and, this year, they will be showcasing two new lines at DDW: KOM and SCHORT.

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Through Social Label, co-founders Petra Janssen (Studio Boot) and Simone Kramer (C-Mone) have created a platform revolving around design in the community and social entrepreneurship for a more inclusive world. The sales side of things is also involved. “Only too often, people sit in care homes working on some kind of occupational therapy. Playing around with stuff for which there’s no end user. We take people seriously by allowing them to create useful products that will be seen, to get the recognition and to see the working process along the way.”

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To create the KOM line, Social Label collaborated with Cello, the care provider to people with disabilities, and Demarrage (Reinier van Arkel), which helps people with mental illnesses. Graphic designer Edwin Vollebergh of Studio Boot designed special ‘tattoos’ based on interviews with the creators to make personalised dinnerware. Every plate and every cup tells each of their unique and often difficult life stories. There’s the plate featuring a wheelchair with wings that was designed for Jolinda, who lost both legs from nerve disease. “Making a dinnerware set with their personal stories gives the creators recognition and also helps them to further process their grief.” Some say it’s better than therapy, explain Kramer and Janssen.

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The other new line, SCHORT, is made at the Citydwellers workshop in Eindhoven, where young school-leavers are working together with designer Borre Akkersdijk (ByBorre) to create a tough and strong kitchen apron. And it’s very strong. The material they’re using comes from old De Waard tents, the classic camping companion. This results in a product that isn’t only beautiful, but also offers the makers new perspectives. “The inspiring work experience motivates participants to continue their studies in a technical or creative direction.”

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Want to learn more about Social Label? There’s a special e52 + DDD meet and greet at Piet Hein Eek on Strijp-R from 14.00 on Tuesday 20 October. No need to sign up. Simone Kramer and Petra Janssen will be talking about the collection and the Social Label mission in more detail. See you then!

Text by Renske Mehra

With thanks to Katja Lucas.

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