1/02/2018

"Turning away from the serious provides a welcome breath of air"


What were the key themes that emerged at Dutch Design Week 2017? We asked six graduates on Design Academy Eindhoven's design writing masters course to give their takes in essay form. Their answers include gigantism, post-humanism and absurdism, the latter exemplified by cushions based on Kim Kardashian's "butt-selfies".

Dezeen used the week to highlight the increasing number of designers tackling the world's big problems, through our Good Design for a Bad World talks series. But students studying the Design Curating and Writing masters course in Eindhoven had other ideas...

"Turning away from the serious provides a welcome breath of air"

With some designers embracing gloomily serious topics at Dutch Design Week, it’s no wonder that others decided to lighten the mood and embrace the absurd, writes Lara Chapman.

"Life is meaningless," said comedian, writer, and musician Tim Minchin upon collecting his honorary doctorate from the University of Western Australia in 2013. With a grin, he continued, "I am actually rather romantic and here's my idea of romance: you will soon be dead. Life will sometimes seem long and tough and God it's tiring. And you will sometimes be happy and sometimes sad and then you’ll be old and then you'll be dead."

Perhaps Minchin was onto something. In the wake of World War II, Albert Camus, a French philosopher, brought light to this type of cynical malaise, and recommended that we accept and embrace the absurd nothingness to which we are all condemned with a touch of humour. In light of recent political events, and an increasing sense of doom and gloom, a number of designers at the 2017 Dutch Design Week took Camus' advice and embraced the bizarre, ridiculous and peculiar....more