dutch design week by french beans

Dutch Design Week, my inspiration citytrip

As a creative I get inspiration for my work from the most odd situations, encounters, people, … I often get influenced by various stimuli on the streets, from tv, digital media that subconsciously reach the creative half of my brain. Apart from that, it is important to get out of your comfort zone every once in a while and just take a field trip. When I was an employee in a communication agency and there was an art festival or a lecture during office hours I mostly didn’t bother asking if I could go. That’s a shame. It happens in many agencies that creatives (or even technical profiles) just stay in their comfort zone and commute to work while they could be doing their job with much more efficiency if they just got to take a few days off to go see an exhibition.

Now I am doing freelance work, part of the freedom I enjoy also offers the opportunity to just leave my desk for a few days and explore. So I did. I bought a train ticket to Eindhoven and visited Dutch Design Week. For those who aren’t so lucky to get off their asses when they feel like it, here’s a little recap of the best things I saw.

Van Abbemuseum

Since it was my very first DDW I decided I should follow a route like the Food Route, designed by Marije Vogelzang. This way I was sure not to miss anything related to food design. I went through the entire museum to find the project “Made in Grunn: Feeding the Senses with Sugar and Salt” at the end of the exhibition. This project is about ceramics made out of salt and others out of sugar.


I was lucky to get the last free rental bike by ABN Amro that day so I could cycle all the way to an old little church building where passionate foodies like De Onkruidenier, Atelier NL and Dutch Cuisine joined forces.

Dutch Cuisine made a book about, well… Dutch cuisine. It has a fabric cover and is printed on beautiful paper that makes the design just fall into place. Beautiful design, well thought out typography and a quality photography turn this book into a must have. I immediately ordered my copy here! Seriously, I suggest you do the same.

De Onkruidenier believes the term ‘weeds’ are abundant. Where this word suggests an unwanted form of vegetation, there are so many ways to make them useful in our everyday cooking. Unfortunately for me the ‘Earth to table’ dinners were fully booked. I would have loved the experience.

Atelier NL was the second that week to grow my interest in ceramics and glass. Because The Netherlands have a long coast line, it offers many types of sand. With every type a different color for glazing of the ceramics is made, resulting in a gorgeous and unique series of tablewear.

For lunch I had a ‘tosti’ with horsemeat at The Fat Pony. A student project originating from the horsemeat scandal a while back. They believe eating horsemeat should not be such a taboo so they started a horsemeat restaurant. Lovely interior and a surprisingly good tosti! I got so hungry I ate half the tosti before taking the picture though.


I love it when technology meets design. A form of art that is not just ‘art’. Designers and artists who come up with beautiful things that are useful at the same time have my respect. At this old factory site (one of many in Eindhoven) students were not allowed to use any animal produce to design with. One item I found particularly interesting is this backpack that looks extremely soft and leather-like, actually made out of funghi.

This site is great to wander around and relax, have a coffee on a sunny terrace.

Funghi leather

Funghi leather

Kleine Berg

Potentially the best thing I have seen during Dutch Design Week. Not an exhibition but a window display in a shoe shop. Jopie Biesters is an artist who makes hyperrealistic taxidermic animals but with a funny twist. They are just awesome. I passed by the window every day on my way to the B&B and I had to stop and watch them every time.

dutch design week by french beans

Crab eating spaghetti by Jopie Biesters

Philips Museum

Philips was founded by Gerard Philips in 1891 in Eindhoven. Back then it was just a village but over the years Gerard and his brother founded the Philips village and the soccer team PSV. Together with the building of their factories Eindhoven grew to become the city it now is. The advantage of these factory buildings now is that they can be used to so many purposes. From hotels, restaurants, shops to artist workspaces, museums and even schools. Everything has an industrial look.


This is the square where I adopted an egg. The Eggchange is a project by Marije Vogelzang to make you think about where chicken meat and eggs we buy come from. You can adopt a fertilised egg in exchange for liking their Facebook page and choose what to do with it. Eat the egg or hatch it. I am a profound enthusiast for such initiatives so I chose to hatch it. I got a Philips infrared lamp somewhere in an antique store and now René is cosy and warm under a constant temperature of 37,5°C.

Aside from eggs there are many foodstands at Ketelhuisplein. Among them is Bieterballen. The meaty dutch classic ‘bitterballen’ has exactly the same texture as these vegetarian Bieterballen, made from red beets.


Strolling through the Strijp-S area there are so many food temptations! Last year I had ‘kibbelingen’ in Amsterdam and I saw someone walking around with them here. They are just delicious so I had to get one too!

Far from hungry I thought it would be safe to visit the Food Market at Strijp. This whole floor is an indoor market filled with foodstands. There’s a bakery, lemonade stand, Indian food, Turkish food, burgers, cheese, sausage, chocolates, coffee, … Catch my drift?


A couple of students developed a technique to make leather out of fruit leftovers. I really wanted to see and feel this. They can make beautiful objects with fruitleather and it’s of course a sustainable solution to animal leather. Although they are not at the point yet where the leather has the right strenght to cary the weight of a person sitting in a leather chair, it looks real and feels very sturdy.

Design Academy

Both Klokgebouw and Design Academy consist of so many individual student and start-up exhibitions. Here’s a few project that caught my attention.


This was my first time at DDW but definitely not my last!

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