Inclusive design is the focus of Hello Humanity: Dutch Design for a Holistic World, a virtual exhibition forming part of the VDF x Ventura Projects collaboration.
The exhibition features projects by seven designers that are based in the Netherlands and explores inclusive and accessible designs that “tell stories that belong to all of us”.
It has been curated by Ventura Projects, with the support of the Netherlands consulate-general in Milan and the Dutch Embassy in Rome.
The featured work, presented below, ranges from explorations of illness and disability to investigations into injustice and emotions.
“The projects present an interesting yet concerning point of view on life’s main topics, which people from all over the globe and through all layers in society are facing on a daily basis,” explained Ventura Projects.
“Nowadays, design is no longer a way to produce objects; it becomes a way to stimulate thoughts, reflections and a new way of living in order to harmonise with the environment and others around you.”
The seven Dutch designers that feature in the exhibition are Irakli Sabekia, Makers Unite, Lot Mars, Studio Ching-Hui Yang, Aline Gerards, Jessica Smarsch and Pauline Agustoni.
Each of their projects are presented below:
Exhibitor: Aline Gerards
Project title: How It Feels
Aline Gerards is a designer whose work focuses on the translation and communication of human emotions.
How it feels is a series of gifs that portray what it is like to live with depression. Each one was made in close collaboration with people who have lived with the condition.
The project responds to the complicated relationships that can often develop with a friend or family member living with depression, due to a lack of understanding and communication.
Gerards’ ambition is to help people visualise and recognise the feelings their loved ones are experiencing.
Photo is by Nicole Marnati.
Exhibitor: Pauline Agustoni
Project title: Mastectomy Caregiver
Pauline Agustoni is a designer with a creative process that is led by research.
Mastectomy Caregiver is range of knitted jumpers developed specifically for women who have had to have a surgical operation to remove a breast as a result of cancer.
Each jumper is knitted to form a “protective shell” around the mastectomy scars. This is achieved by differentiating each product to suit a particular body, with tighter and looser stitches that correspond to the position of scarring.
Agustoni hopes the garment can become part of a woman’s recovery, and show how “materials and objects can act as caregivers”.
Photo is by Nicole Marnati.
Exhibitor: Irakli Sabekia
Project title: Voicing Borders
Irakli Sabekia is a Georgian designer and researcher based in the Netherlands.
Voicing Borders is an investigative project addressing Russia’s expansion into Georgia during the 2008 Russo-Georgian War, and the resulting wire-fence border that was put up across the country to mark Russian territory.
The projects aims to shed light on “the reality hidden behind the razor wire boundary”, exposing evidence of crimes at the border. This includes an interactive installation that documents the destruction of 16 villages in Tskhinvali.
Another element is a section of wire fence, a symbol of occupation, reimagined as a tool for objection. Using a radio transmitter, the fence broadcasts the names of the disappeared villages and their geographic coordinates in Morse code.
Exhibitor: Lot Mars
Project title: A written form of stuttering
Lot Mars is a graphic designer whose work explores the combination of language and images.
As part of the Hello Humanity: Dutch Design for a holistic world exhibition she is exhibiting a typeface designed to reflect how stutterers experience language.
Aptly named A written form of stuttering, the font includes new characters, interactive letters and visible silences – symbols that represent the stuttering that is not audible.
Mars’ ambition is to give an insight into life with a stutter, and allow fluent speakers to experience a new approach to language.
Exhibitor: Jessica Smarsch
Project title: Connextyle
Jessica Smarsch is a product designer and founder of a stroke rehabilitation startup called Constructing Connectivity.
Connextyle, a wearable technology that helps stroke patients regain their muscle use, is the latest product by the company.
It takes the form of a shirt with “technical sleeves” that are lined with sensors. These sensors measure patients’ muscle use and joint rotation, and are linked to a mobile app that visualises their progress.
The project also makes reference to the Japanese technique of Kintsugi, a method of repairing broken ceramics with precious metals.
At the end of their rehabilitation period, patients can trade in their technical sleeves for the Kintsugi sleeves. Like the ancient practice, this “gives the garment and patient a second life”.
Photo is by Gabriele Mariotti.
Exhibitor: Makers Unite
Project title: Makers Unite and The Power of Making: Re-Designing the future of migration in Italy
Makers Unite is an arts organisation in Amsterdam that supports refugees by helping them find employment with local makers and offering social inclusion programs.
Makers Unite and The Power of Making: Re-Designing the future of migration in Italy is an exhibition of sustainable products it has made using recycled lifejackets, which have each been used by refugees who have travelled to Europe.
It asks viewers to consider how design can be used to challenge perceptions of the refugee crisis and in turn help alleviate it.
Exhibitor: Studio Ching-Hui Yang
Project title: Im-perfect jewellery
Studio Ching-Hui Yang is the eponymous practice of jewellery designer Ching-Hui Yang.
Im-perfect jewellery is a collection of sculptural necklaces and bracelets that are designed as a response to social attitudes about personal appearance and disability. The collection focuses specifically on the process of psychosocial adjustment a person experiences following a life-changing injury or illness disability.
Im-perfect jewellery contains five pieces modelled on the five stages of grief associated with this process: denial, anger, bargain, depression, and shame.
The studio’s goal is to change the way that people perceive disability, encourage empathy and embrace diversity.
Photo is by VC Media.
Virtual Design Festival is the world’s first online design festival, taking place from 15 April to 30 June 2020.
Ventura Projects are exhibitions curated by Utrecht- and Milan-based Organisation in Design that cover the latest developments in contemporary design.
As part of VDF, Ventura Projects is presenting the work of 88 international designers, academies and brands. See work from all the VDF x Ventura Projects participants at dezeen.com/vdf/ventura-projects.