Dezeen and MINI World Tour: Eindhoven designer Miriam van der Lubbe takes us around the fair she co-founded, claiming: "What is visible in Milan in two years, you can see at Dutch Design Week now."

Miriam van der Lubbe
Miriam van der Lubbe. Photo copyright: Dezeen

This year's Dutch Design Week, the 12th edition of the show, was attended by an estimated 250,000 visitors, more than the entire population of the city of Eindhoven where it takes place.

Van der Lubbe, who co-founded the event, remembers its much more humble beginnings when she was "happy with 5,000" visitors.

S-Strijp during Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven
Strijp-S during Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven

She reveals the first Dutch Design Week was borne out of a frustration among local designers over the lack of a proper platform to present their work.

"Why do we always have to go to Milan to show our work, as if you are only something in design if you are there?" she asks. "In Holland there was nothing, so let's see if we can actually pull something off here."

Area 51 skatepark, Eindhoven
Area 51 skatepark in a former industrial building in Strijp, Eindhoven

Van der Lubbe believes that the pro-active spirit of Eindhoven-based designers helped Dutch Design Week quickly get off the ground and grow into the event that it is today.

"There were all kinds of initiatives going on," she says. "There's a good urban culture here; people are actually doing stuff instead of talking, which is a big difference, and it grew up to be this huge event."

Mycelium Chair by Studio Eric Klarenbeek
Mycelium Chair by Eric Klarenbeek, on show at Klokgebouw during Dutch Design Week

The first area van der Lubbe takes us to is Strijp, a former Philips industrial complex that is now one of the central areas of Dutch Design Week.

"The Klokgebouw, one of the old industrial buildings, is the starting point of Dutch Design Week," van der Lubbe says. "This week there are about 400 events of almost 2,000 designers."

Vapor by Pieke Bergmans
Vapor by Pieke Bergmans, on show at Strijp during Dutch Design Week

She then takes us to the graduation show at Design Academy Eindhoven, the school where most of Eindhoven's designers, including van der Lubbe herself, received their education.

Design Academy Eindhoven graduate show
Design Academy Eindhoven graduate show

Van der Lubbe says that current graduates do not benefit from the same economic support that she enjoyed when she graduated.

Precious Plastic by Dave Hakkens
Precious Plastic by Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Dave Hakkens

"The government was very much aware of the importance of creative people," she says. "There were a lot of funds and we did not have to earn our money from day one."

Dystopian Brutalist Outerwear by Martijn Van Strien
Dystopian Brutalist Outerwear by Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Martijn Van Strien

"But when the [economic] crisis came in, that all changed. I think it is now the obligation of companies to create opportunities for creative people to grow. I think that is also the role of Dutch Design Week, to be between culture and the money."

Wire frame of a chair by Nacho Carbonell
Wire frame of a chair by Nacho Carbonell

Next, van der Lubbe takes us to Sectie C, a new design district where young designers including Nacho Carbonell open their studios up to the public. We then head to Eat Drink Design at Kazerne, a gallery and restaurant housed in a former army barracks.

Sectie C during Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven
Sectie C during Dutch Design Week

"[Dutch Design Week] is really different from all the design weeks in the world because it comes out of the designers themselves," says van der Lubbe. "They open up their doors, you're welcome in their studios or in their workspaces. You actually can feel the vibe of innovation and of new developments."

Eat Drink Design at Kazerne during Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven
Eat Drink Design at Kazerne, Eindhoven

"Martijn Paulen, the new director of Dutch Design Week, said: 'what is visible in Milan in two years, you can see that here now.'"

Nola by Studio Drift
Nola by Studio Drift on show at Eat Drink Design

We drove around Eindhoven in our MINI Cooper S Paceman. The music in the movie is a track called Family Music by Eindhoven-based hip hop producer Y'Skid.

You can listen to more music by Y'Skid on Dezeen Music Project and watch more of our Dezeen and MINI World Tour movies here.

MINI Paceman outside Evoluon building, Eindhoven
Our MINI Paceman outside the Evoluon building, Eindhoven
  • ilo sunchez

    And they are all in Ventura Lambrate! Cool sense of humour!

  • Lorenzo Corti

    All this hate for Milan Salone? I wander why every single year it mark records of visitors? In my opinion Milan is where the industrial design sits. Art and crafts is just another story.

    • Steve

      I completely agree. There should be a clearer point of view from Dezeen. Milan is all about the industry, and clients and making money at the end of the day. What is going on in Holland could be almost compared with the Biennale in Venice. I am sorry to say but it’s basically art and not design.

      I find the statements by Miriam van der Lubbe to be very arrogant. She needs to understand that the reason the Milan fair works is because of the actual fair in Rho.

  • Ingeborg v. Lieshout

    Looks like you’ve caught Daan Roosegaarde in picture 6, left-hand side :-)