01 November 2010

My High 5ves: Ontwerpduo

While I’m a true design geek, I detest furniture fairs. I like to attend events like Dutch Design Week (DDW), where the limelight is on the (largely indie) designers rather than on the furniture or the sellers or manufacturers behind it.
And so it came to be that I myself am also giving, in this week, my High-5ves to the best individual designers (rather than products) of this year’s DDW.
My first honours go to…
The duo stands for Nathan Wierink and Tineke Beunders, a creative couple who graduated merely two years ago.
Dutch design first sweeped me off my feet when Droog in the 1990s astonished Milan with its simple concepts, playfulness and humour. Their products were above all functional and cheap, and yet they looked good. And at the edge of it all they held your gaze, because their simplicity somehow surprised you: they appeared so obvious - yet there they were before you for the first time ever.
Ontwerpduo did not follow this, by now traditional, Dutch formula. Colour, imagination and mood play a central part in Ontwerpduo's creations. Also, they turned their gaze from individual products to underlying style. What is recognizable about Ontwerpduo is not so much their products as the style embodied in them. It is therefore a real shame that DDW did not give Ontwerpduo a separate space that they could imbue with their mood and where they could set their scenography. Because Ontwerpduo designs are like actors in a lovely, yet puzzling theatre play. Just look below at the temporary hotel room – Room 407 - that Ontwerpstudio showed during this year's Inside Design at the Lloyd Hotel in Amsterdam:

One hardly needs to be told that the designs in Room 407 are all based on fairy tales. “The ceiling light and the curtains are overgrowing the room, like the roses overgrew the castle in ‘Sleeping Beauty’,” Ontwerpduo explains on their webpage. In case one didn't get it. Yet, do we really need to be informed that a fairy tale is being told by that bed, or which fairy tale?


  1. LOL, the bed's awsome! P.S.: Was there any bimbo spotted near it on his/her knees, checking for the seed between the jogis?

  2. Nah, they didn't put in the pea. I checked!