Dutch Design Week 2023 - theme: Why product design matters

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It is with pleasure that we look back on a wonderful Dutch Design Week. Our exhibition, called "Why product design matters," was a harmonious addition to DDW's overarching theme, "Picture This."

Not only did we present new products, but we also shared the in-depth stories and visions of the designers behind these creations. This gave visitors a deeper insight into the added value of product designers, how they play an important role in various ways anno 2023 and broaden our perspectives with their Design.

During DDW, we specifically showed four new acquisitions in the Vij5 collection: the OER Servies Eindhoven by Lotte de Raadt & Kirstie van Noort, the Stainless Steel Mirror by Theodora Alfredsdottir, the Foarme porcelain by Idwert Petter and a preview of the new Tube Cabinet by Maarten Baptist as a foretaste of things to come.

Important added value

The value of a product designer's craft extends beyond just coming up with great ideas or beautiful shapes. Our exhibit was an ode to this craft and offered a unique look into the world of these designers.

A process of change

As DDW itself beautifully describes it, "Aesthetics and beauty are unprecedentedly powerful ways to open the door to meaning and set people in motion. Designers are experts at formulating and visualizing different perspectives, allowing them to take people into a process of change and break through paralysis."

Understanding value-added product designers

Especially for DDW, we made space in our workshop for the 'Why product design matters' expo. In this expo, divided into several relevant themes, we presented a series of new products and explained the vision of the designers behind them. This offered a deeper understanding of the added value of product designers. The following products took center stage:

New product: OER dinnerware Eindhoven

To turn groundwater into drinking water, it is intensively filtered. During this process, various residues are released. One of these is naturally formed iron oxide-containing water, or primal. This material is characterized by a deep reddish-brown color.

At the production site in Eindhoven, there is currently no application for the iron sludge and so this iron oxide-containing water is seen as waste and flushed back to the sewer. For the OER project, Lotte de Raadt & Kirstie van Noort tap this turbid water from the so-called buffer pond of the water production company to use in their products.

The iron sludge is processed into pigment in their own workshop. First, it is filtered again and dried. This creates chunks that are ground and sieved into a rust-like powder. This pigment is mixed through liquid porcelain clay and poured into plaster molds. The products are then fired in a ceramic kiln at 1250˚C. The heat discolors the iron pigment to a beautiful beige color containing small dark brown speckles.

The OER dinnerware consists of six different shapes that can be combined with each other, of course it is food-safe and can go in the dishwasher.

WHY (this product is important)

Making people more aware of the use and origin of our raw materials, and seeing the value of residuals. The OER used to color the porcelain represents a piece of awareness. It refers to one of our planet's most important resources; water.

New product: stainless steel mirror

The Stainless Steel Mirror is carefully crafted from a stainless steel plate with a high-gloss finish. First, it is laser cut and then set twice creating depth. Then the brushed part is finished by hand.

In this way, an industrial stainless steel sheet is transformed into something with more character, while adding or subtracting as little as possible to its original shape. This takes both the usability and character of the material to a higher level.

With this product, designer Theodóra Alfreðsdóttir wants to encourage people to become more interested in how things are made. By understanding how everyday things are made, she hopes that there will be more respect for the materials used and that we will all take more responsibility for our choices as consumers.

With its remarkable design, this mirror adds a beautiful graphic element to any interior. The semicircle forms a soft, organic contrast to the straight lines creating a fascinating geometric shape.

WHY (this product is important)

This project makes people more aware of our material world, teaches them to appreciate what you have and inspires them to use materials and products responsibly and respectfully.

New product: Foarme porcelain

The double-walled Foarme porcelain offers an innovative solution to unnecessary waste in the porcelain production process. A lot can go wrong in traditional production processes: cracks, deformations and waste are often the result. Consequently, much of the production often does not make it to be sold. The Foarme series, on the other hand, avoids this waste by thinking from the material itself, not just from a shape.

This unique series is sustainably designed and crafted from colored porcelain, with a gradient of colors curated by Idwert Petter. The double-walled porcelain utilizes tension lines in the shape, resulting in a strong product that always comes out of the oven as intended.

Foarme, the Frisian word for "shaped," was the result of Idwert's graduate work at the Design Academy
Eindhoven. In the process, she conducted thorough research into both desirable and undesirable deformations in porcelain. The series consists of espresso and coffee/tea cups, as well as a matching

WHY (this product is important)

This project highlights not only the importance of traditional craftsmanship, but also the need to dare to make adjustments for greater sustainability and energy efficiency. It shows that the world of design is constantly evolving, where old crafts and new ideas can coexist.

Preview: Tube Cabinet

Maarten Baptist has a particular design philosophy: he likes to show the production process without too many modifications. His goal is to create functional and reproducible items, focusing on the beauty of simplicity in form and function.

The Tube Cabinet is a great example of this approach. It features a unique design made from 3D laser-cut aluminum tubes and sturdy solid wood shelves. Precision is essential in manufacturing, and advanced 3D laser cutting technology ensures that each piece is perfectly shaped and fit for purpose.

What makes this cabinet so special is that you can completely customize it to fit your space, thanks to the variable lengths of the tubes and shelves. You can even add side and back panels or front doors to create an enclosed area if you wish.

Whether you're looking for an elegant place to display your favorite books, plants or artwork, or need a convenient storage solution for your home office, this cabinet is the perfect choice.

WHY (this product is important)

Optimizing production processes and striving to minimize residual waste contributes to a more sustainable future. Customization and flexibility in design also aligns with sustainability principles by reducing waste and extending the life of products.

Vij5 Showroom

During the week, of course, our showroom could be visited to see, feel and experience much of the Vij5 collection in real life . Also on display here were a number of scoops of products we were currently working on: a new version of the Angled Cabinet, the Tube Cabinet, and an upholstered version of Chair 18×36. Also on display was an installation of the colored special editions of the Alf wall hook. The wall of the showroom featured the beautiful colors THORGRØN and LYSNING from the Aqualinum series by the Danish brand "Linolie & Pigment," of which we are ambassadors.


Did you have to miss Dutch Design Week this year or do you feel like reliving it? Dutch Design Week made a recap of all the design areas during the festival. You can find an overview of all videos here or watch the video of the Hallenweg including the Vij5 expo directly below: