During Dutch Design Week, E52 takes you through the pearls of the festival. Ten special designers which are, in our eyes, the hidden gems of the year. In the run-up to DDW, we put one pearl in the spotlight every day. Today: Nina van Bart and ‘Zooming in and out’

What Zooming in and out

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    By Nina van Bart

    Where Studio van der Zandt

    During DDW, Nina van Bart shows a series of wall and floor cloths made with a new 3D tufting technique. She lets you experience what this new application does with the acoustics in the room, how they visually give an identity to the space and how they stimulate your sense of touch.

    The cloths are part of ‘Zooming in and out’, a long-term research into refined structures applied on a monumental scale, made with machines from the industry. Aspects such as light, reflection, hard or soft materials and acoustics in a room are all related to how people perceive the space, Nina says. “It makes it a pleasant space or just the opposite. In fact, material is a carrier of the appearance of that space.”

    “Handmade drawings and a material study work refreshingly in a design world dominated by 3D printing and digital production.”Nina van Bart, designer

    Her search for a new material or application begins by experimenting with material or drawing new structures, after which she seeks the technique that can make it. “Handmade drawings and a material study work refreshingly in a design world dominated by 3D printing and digital production. And I think it’s a good exercise so you can also can push the limits of existing techniques.”

    She graduated at the Design Academy in 2013 and has since been working as freelance designer for, amongst others, Christiane Muller of the industrial and interior design studio MüllerVanTol in Amsterdam. There she specialized in the structures of wall covering for the interior products company Vescom.

    This specialization brought her to the company Carpet Sign in Asten, where she experienced a by them designed new technique for tufting carpet, Nina says. “A 3D tufting technique which allows you to play with differences in depth and volume more, which has an acoustic effect on the space and visually does a lot with light and shadow.” She first drew the structures for the carpets, perfected them with the computer and with those digital drawings, the tufting machine was fine tuned. For every design, she selected the yarns and colours from the library of Carpet Sign.

    “Because so much is digitalized these days, our senses need to be more stimulated”, Nina thinks. The structures of her carpets make for that extra stimulation: “My work invites people to touch.” She develops the materials for public spaces such as a town hall, theatre of a restaurant, so that a larger public can experience the effect of the materials. “On a larger surface, those carpets have a larger impact.”

    Her exhibition is shown in Studio van der Zandt. “My studio is in Den Bosch and I was looking for a room where I can show that series of carpets. It is an industrial space of 100 square meters and the carpets are getting enough space to experience them. In a busier location, you get too many other incentives.” She shares the space with three other designers and with her exhibition, she hopes to come in contact with people from other industries or architects so that she can look with them for new materials and applications.

    She’s curious and likes to look for different ways for it to be done, she says. She already showed that with her graduation film the Alchemist. In that, the bathroom became a laboratory in which you make your own care products. “We have been taking care of ourselves according to the same habits and rituals for decades. There’s a double meaning: the care products we buy in the store contain toxins that aren’t good for our body. With that film I wanted to criticize the wellness industry, but also inspire people to look for other possibilities.”

    Zooming in and out is an ongoing research. I always keep searching for materials and broaden my knowledge. Now I have focused on the materials themselves, but in the future I could also make a film for the materials industry to visualize a future vision or concept.”

    Photo: Nina van Bart at Carpet Sign

    The ten hidden gems of DDW came about in collaboration with Dutch Design Daily and curator Katja Lucas van DDW. Do you want to admire the gems yourself? Every day, Urban Exploring Tours and KOGA fietsen organize a special bike tour along the selected designers. Find out more here.

    Translation by Anneke Maas

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    About the author

    Author profile picture Corine Spaans is a writer. She is particularly interested in the stories of the people behind the innovations and has a passion for sport (innovation).