Sustainable design from the North

Sustainable design from the North
The North is home to many interesting designers who are often self-producing as well. Trade and industry and the public seem to be little aware of this. DesignXPO Fryslân is about to change that. Designers can be of surplus value to trade and industry. They are the ones who frequently are first to work with new materials and techniques. “Designers are often wrongly put aside as artists by the industry, whereas they can provide an innovative impulse. Thanks to the creativity of designers, producers can discover what they might be able to do with certain materials,” says Eileen Blackmore, founder of House of Design in Groningen and initiator of DesignXPO.

Take for example the so called biobased materials. “They are materials made from non-fossil raw materials, like wool, hemp, flax and reed. By using those raw materials, you don’t exhaust the planet, because they automatically grow back. There is a type of plastic that is made from corn, starch and sugar beets instead of petroleum oils. This type of plastic is already being used in the industry, for example in safety vests, but this does not appeal to the regular customer. A designer will use it to create something completely different, like a modern lamp. This can offer various new possibilities for the producer of this type of plastic.”

At DesignXPO, taking place on Saturday and Sunday in the Blokhuispoort in Leeuwarden, lots of examples are presented of products that can be made from biobased materials. “The exhibition Biobased Design could first be seen in May this year at DesignXPO Groningen,” Blackmore says. “We have already been organising design events in Groningen for a couple of years. And now we want to expand our activities to the rest of the North. This weekend, it’s Fryslân’s turn, where we cooperate with Keunstwurk and NRJ Architecten, and after this we would like to hold a fair in Drenthe and Overijssel. You might regard it as a sort of contact days for design companies.”

According to Blackmore, the lectures and discussion programme of the fair are mostly interesting for professionals of trade and industry. “But there is also lots to do for the common visitor.” For example, there are five 3D printers that people can use to print their own three dimensional design. “Several designers are present to help people to think in a 3D way. This has proven not to be all that easy, for we are used to drawing on a flat surface. With special software, you can design spacious objects on a computer. At the end of a session, everyone can pick up their own design as a small 3D print; a nice souvenir.”

For those who don’t feel the urge to express their creativity, there is still enough to see, Blackmore assures. In the old prison cells of the Blokhuispoort, various design objects are for sale, made by designers from the North. “We hope that many people will come and check out the beautiful things that are being created here. In stead of cheap products from a large retail chain, you can also put sustainable design, made by regional designers, in your house. Then you own something that’s unique and you can enjoy for a lifetime.”

(Source: Friesch Dagblad)

Photo: House of Design