Dutch Design | The Humorous Aspect Of Design

Dutch Design | The Humorous Aspect Of Design image

The Netherlands has a long history of craft, with techniques such as lace-making and crocheting employed in textiles and ceramics. The Dutch Design can be characterized as minimalist, experimental, innovative, quirky, and humorous. This approach involves the combination of things that don’t usually combine at all, while ensuring good utilization of materials that otherwise look worthless to give them a new value in the form of new products. Willow weaving, for example, is being used to create wood furniture and other objects. Today, Dutch designers are taking these old-fashioned skills and using them to create new forms.

History Of Dutch Design

Dutch designers played a great role in introducing modernism in design world during the early 20th century era. Gerrit Rietveld and de Stijl groups were very influential in the interior design development around the world. Dutch designers also covered enviable milestones in graphic design. By the 1980s, Dutch design attained international recognition as a distinct brand associated with the works of designers like; Droog, Mooi, Maarten Baas, Jurgen Bey, Richard Hutten and Marcel Wanders. Entering the 1990s Dutch design gained prominence in the world notably through the exploits of Droog and Mooi in major design events like the Salone del Mobile in Spain.

Reasons Behind Dutch Design Rise To Prominence

Dutch design has emerged as an internationally recognized brand due to a combination of factors. Strong education system is one of them. Design education is done through academies e.g. the Design Academy Eindhoven which has produced many well-known designers, and museums e.g. Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

Industrial manufacturing in the Netherlands has also fostered Dutch design growth by incorporating product design as an integral part of the manufacturing process. Designers take part in the initial phases of innovative processes and manufacturing process. Large Dutch electronics companies like Philips, for example works with over 450 people in its design department across the 12 offices around the world.

Social-cultural factors have also played an important role in shaping Dutch design into what it is today. The Dutch government for over two decades supported the creative industry through generous subsidies to designers. This helped many design starters get off their feet and grow to recognized brands. However, the economic crisis saw the cutting-off of government subsidies, and designers having to reconsider their design approach to cater for self-funding.

Varying Design Approaches From Around The World Image
Varying Design Approaches From Around The World

Major Dutch Designers And New Trends In Dutch Design

Designer Lex Pott is one of the modern Dutch designers changing the face of the Dutch design. He embraces traditional materials and methods while employing modern technology to create completely new products. His Transience mirrors are created by manipulating the natural process of mirrored glass oxidization. The result is a bold geometrical pattern in the finished mirrors that depict the various stages of oxidation.

This shift to a warmer aesthetic and function represents a departure from the conceptual approach that focused more on the idea behind product design.

Scholten and Bainjings a design duo are breaking their way to international popularity. Their work includes colour porcelain collection majorly focused on aesthetics. Their brands have been showcased in museums and art galleries in London and the Instute of Art in Chicago and are starting to influence mainstream brands design direction.

They work with traditional artists while relying on new technology and vivid colour to come up with modern products. One of their famous pieces is the Grand Bernard glass jug, a product of local craftsmanship in glassblowing. Most of their other designs enjoy international recognition. Their designs have attracted the attention of International manufacturers like the Danish furniture manufacturer Hay, with whom they work on furniture and textiles. Japanese renowned ceramics manufacturer – 1616 Arita is also interested in Scholten and Bainjings designs about the Colour Porcelein products.


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_Design
  2. http://2015.sfudutchdesign.ca/#edhv
  3. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/bc14a9e0-37dd-11e3-8668-00144feab7de.html


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