The Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco presents ‘Hands Off: New Dutch Design at the Confluence of Technology & Craft’ from May 09 to September 13. Guest-curated by design editor and author Zahid Sardar, ‘Hands Off’ focuses on a broad spectrum of Dutch design, all of which use technology, in particular digital technology, in such a way that the craftsman works remotely, or hands-off, to create objects, environments, and experiences.
Artists in the exhibition are: Daniël de Bruin, Raw Color, Grietje Schepers, Eric Klarenbeek, Tiddo Bakker, Martijn Koomen, Dirk Vander Kooij, Random Studio, Petrovsky & Ramone, DUS Architects, Borre Akkersdijk, Mahmud Hassani & Massoud Hassani, Aoife Wuller, Jólan van der Wiel, Ted Noten, Anouk Wipprecht, Dennis Parren and Marcel Wanders.
About the Exhibition
Featuring the work of approximately 20 designers from design hubs across the Netherlands including Eindhoven, Amsterdam and Utrecht, Hands-Off showcases the development of innovative production materials, the reinterpretation of old technologies, and new ways leading Dutch designers are influencing and interacting with the world of craft and design.
In conjunction with the exhibit, featured designers will be flown in for guest appearances, speaker series events, and workshops on 3D printing, all directed at furthering dialogue and market opportunities among Bay Area tech companies, arts colleges, and the general community. One such designer in Hands Off, Anouk Wipprecht, has been doing a residency at San Francisco software company Autodesk since the spring of 2014. Autodesk sees incredible value in Ms. Wipprecht’s ‘fashion tech’ 3D design thinking. With their support, she is working on a 3D printed ‘spider dress’ that houses sensors controlled by interactive software;essentially the garment reacts to the wearer’s environment. Wipprecht has accepted a subsequent residency at Autodesk that will coincide with the Hands Off exhibition, where she will exhibit her ‘spider dress’.
Sardar observes, “Dutch designers are increasingly working hands-off, consistently and remarkably pushing boundaries. The Dutch, who were historically great global traders, are again widening the range of their influence with objects and experiences crafted with new technology.” Mr. Sardar notes that the fields of technology, e-culture and design are more cross-pollinated in the Netherlands than anywhere else, where there has been a leap away from traditional design thinking and design making. “The Dutch are unique in their ability to interweave traditional craft with technologies in different ways.”
Represented in four sections – TechnoCraft, BioCraft, NaturoPaths and Hands Off – the exhibition demonstrates the development of Dutch design since its halcyon days under Droog and such designers as Hella Jongerius, Marcel Wanders and Gijs Bakker, to the introduction of newcomers like Afghan-Dutch designer, Massoud Hassani who created Mine Kafon a low-tech landmine detector and Eric Klarenbeek, designer of the Mycelium chair 3D printed with a living fungus.
TechnoCraft focuses on designs crafted/conceptualized with new technologies, such as Dirk Vander Kooij’s 3D printed Chubby Chair, computer-generated quilted fabrics by award-winning Amsterdam designer Borre Akkersdijk, and Aoife Wullur’s silken LED-lit drapes.
BioCraft highlights designs that deploy/mimic biological principles, such as DUS Architects tableware made from 3D printed potato waste, a mechanized chandelier powered/activated by a houseplant and StudioDrift’s Shylights, a kinetic lighting system that mimics the appearance of blooming flowers.
NaturoPaths showcases designs that combine technology with natural forces such as gravity, wind power, and human intervention. Featured works include Massoud Hassani’s low-tech bamboo and suction cup landmine detector, Mine Kafon, which contains a GPS chip to precisely locate remote mines and is operated by gravity and wind energy and Martijn Koomen’s Weather, Feathers and Frost, a pavilion that makes temperature, atmospheric pressure and wind visible.
Hands Off! emphasizes truly interactive digital designs that work off the Internet, or are activated/completed by sound or movement. Featured works include Atelier Ted Noten’s Wanna Swap Your Ring? that invites visitors to exchange one of their personal rings for a 3D printed ring (limited-numbers available) designed by the artist to tempt visitors to engage in the swap/ Also on display is the Kiss Machine Unite #02 (kiss it and it will match your kiss with a stranger’s kiss and project the united pair), a collaborative piece with object design by Petrovsky & Ramone, and the technical design work of Random Studio, an interactive branding company that works with Nike and other international brands to design stunning interactive environments.