Dutch Design Week (DDW) and World Design Event (WDE) look back on a successful edition with more than 335,000 visitors. A week full of creative connections, groundbreaking design, and innovation. The quality of the event especially is on the up; in addition to exhibitions, there was ample space for discussion and debate about designing our future. Companies, professionals, government, media, and designers exchanged ideas throughout the week. The first edition of the World Design Event was met with great enthusiasm. Furthermore, the international press and professionals were better represented than ever before.

Here’s an overview of Dutch Design Week 2017

Creative strength
Thanks to 2,600 national and international designers, Eindhoven once again established itself as the focal point of the creative industry. In 610 exhibitions, presentations, tours and activities in 110 locations spread across the city, work by famous designers and established labels was on show while at the same time DDW provided a podium for young talent and experiment.

Martijn Paulen (DDW director): “Designers like working together, looking for the edges of possibility, they stretch. They all aim to make the world a better place, as professional idealists. They try to help our world advance, step by step, to make the world more beautiful, more sustainable, healthier, more sociable, perhaps less lonely, and for instance more practical. During DDW they manifest themselves as a creative force of nature.”

The DDW ambassadors too have expressed their distinct opinions on the week. Atelier NL: “During DDW the world comes together in Eindhoven and connects with the localness of the city. Designs can be felt and seen everywhere, anyone can touch it. Sometimes literally, personally and intimately, in other places grand and using the latest technology. In our opinion this is both beautiful and important, it gives us the opportunity to reassess all kinds of things: nature, the city, each other.”

Winy Maas: “During this edition of DDW I was fascinated by the incredible energy I experienced. This ambassadorship is something that will not end at the end of the Week, it is a long-term connection and creates obligations. As an ambassador, I get assigned homework: to follow-up with designers, organizations, ministries, and foundations, on all matters that were discussed during DDW. I’m looking forward to it.”

Marcus Fairs, founder, and editor-in-chief of Dezeen: “Designers can identify problems and solve them. Dutch Design Week is a kind of laboratory for design that could save the world.”

Thematic developments

A lot of attention went to the influence of the digitalising and robotising of our society (Frank Kolkman (Dutch Design Awards), Embassy of HealthEmbassy of Robot Love,HUBOTMU: Materialising the Internet), crafts (Atelier NLCrafts CouncilArita: New Radicals), social issues and the circular economy (World Design EventDave Hakkens with Precious Plastic, Simon Dogger with The Emotion Whisperer and Miriam de Bruin for HEMA design daten).

New collaborations
There were a striking number of new collaborations between designers, brands and labels. Including projects by IKEA and Piet Hein Eek, GreenPanel and Overtreders W, Low&Bonar and In4niteAuping and RENSKickStarter and voordekunstFrame and BijenkorfForbo,Baars & Bloemhoff (Transitions III)Vlisco and ModebelofteEnvisions and FinsaLuxaflex and Dutch InvertualsTextielmuseum and Studio JobVolkskrant Design Tafel, New HorizonEnexisSmurfit Kappa with Dutch Design Awards and various What if labs with designers by FaberExposize, Solliance, NSVNG and Dutch Design Foundation.

Education
The role of educational institutes from at home and abroad was also prominent, with graduate work from the Design Academy and Universities of Technology in Eindhoven, Delft and Wageningen, but also presentations by the Willem de Kooning AcademyProduct Design Arnhem ArtEZKoninklijke Academy voor Beeldende KunstECAL/University of Art & Design LausanneBauhaus Universität WeimarBurg Giebichenstein University of Art & Design HalleKunstenaars-collectief 019 and LUCA School of Arts and Central Saint Martins.

World Design Event
New this year was World Design Event, with an international programme focusing on solutions for the future of our world. The first edition was well-attended, among others due to talks by ambassador Marcus Fairs (Talks: Good Design for a Bad World), presentations by a new crop of young top designers during Antenna (in collaboration with Design Indaba) and the seven Embassies of the Future. Eyecatcher and beating heart of WDE was thePeople’s Pavilion, a 100% circular construction with a strong content programme with more than 50 events.

DDW in highlights
Visitors, participants and media partners were particularly positive about: (W)EGO,Embassy of Health and the new VPRO television programme De toekomstbouwers. Other (annual) highlights were: Design Academy EindhovenDutch Design Awards, Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie (In No Particular Order), Sectie CDutch Invertuals,HardcoreLow & Bonar, ManifestationsAge of WonderlandBrabant Living Lab, ABN AMRO (Driving Dutch Design and Hotspots), ModebelofteKazerneBioArt Laboratories,TransnaturalPiet Hein EekKiki & Joost, Van Abbemuseum: Beyond GenerationsFontys TrendtoursYksiTACSocial LabelVPRO Medialab and the Volvo Design Rides.

DDW in figures
Visitors: 335,000
Designers: 2,600
Events: 610
Locations: 110