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Dutch Design Week Featured Solar Powered Dresses, Giant LED Boots, And Lamps That Double As Pets

Like a Pixar film come to life, the highlights of DDW show the lighter, playful side of technology.

by Laura Feinstein
Oct 29 2013, 4:17pm

Previously we brought you into the illuminated world of Eindhoven, NL with Daan Roosegaarden's Crystal, a menagerie of LED glowing stones installed as part of the city's Light-S public works program. Expanding on this we returned to Eindhoven for Dutch Design Week, which ran from Oct. 19th to the 27th, to bring you some of our favorite innovations from this annual celebration of creativity.

Now in its 12th cycle, this year’s theme, Future Now, was interpreted by a range of designers, scientists, and scholars. “Together, we’ve created a really positive buzz,” said DDW director Martijn Paulen. “Spring is in the air... I am incredibly impressed with what we pulled off together. It is phenomenal; it gives me goose bumps."

Check out below some of the projects that really stood out to us:

Species of Illumination

Species of Illumination courtesy of Bob de Graaf.

Species of Illumination includes two lights that act and react like autonomous creatures, able to respond to changes in light intensity and environment, and behaving almost like pets.

‘The movement of living creatures triggers sensations, emotions and communication,’ says Bob de Graaf, their creator. Named Wallace and Darwin, the two robots (shown in the video above) are able to do things like search for sunlight to charge their batteries during the daytime, and in the evening, go room-to-room accompanying their owner with an available light source. We can't help but think during the cold northern European winter it would help have an adorable lamp as a personal companion.

Shades of Light

Prototypes: Shades of Light courtesy of Jérôme Siegelaer

Weaving electronics and fabric together, artist Aoife Wullur has developed a new way of creating a "live" textile. The sample shown above contains a width of very thin conductive yarn that forms separate little circuits in the fabric. The low voltage current that powers the cloth's LED lights are created via a series of metal conductors sewn into the fabric (known as "spiders"). Their "magnetic legs" join the positive and negative wires, and create an inventive play on light, transparency, and layeredness. Visitors were also able to change the position of the spiders to create new patterns and shapes. 

Boots of the Hunter

The Boots of the Hunter courtesy of Pii.

These green rubber wellies are topped-off with a circular LED light, and came to DDW as part of Pii's ongoing project The Hunter Family. This evolving work hopes to bring attention to the idea of the food chain and the implications it has on our lives: socially, economically, and culturally. This project was introduced to DDW as part of a larger installation that also included oversized spades, deer with GPS, riffles with bended barrels (and special bullets), a special hunting suit, and many others. "The main purpose of the concept is to bear light on the fact that we, human beings, are the only creatures on this planet that cultivate its crops, raise its live stock, buy their food and cook its meals," says Pii.
The Boots of the Hunter started their long walk across the world at a performance in Centre Pompidou in Paris some years ago, followed a year later by an exhibition at the Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris. 
Design in Progress

Design In Progress courtesy of Lucid

For Dutch Design Week, intellectual design group Lucid created a base frame where visitors can add to, and manipulate, light formations. Think of it as a highbrow Lite-Bright. During the course of the week participants added more than 3000 LED's.


Sensible Sense courtesy of Jeroen Blom.

This exhibition showcased the work of Master ID'13, those who recently graduated from the Faculty of Industrial Design (ID) at the University of Eindhoven. 

Sensible Sense (seen above) by Jeroen Blom was created with the goal of designing a new tactile sense hand prosthesis. Built with a system rigged by sensors to measure the force pressing on each finger and the position of the finger, the tactile display is integrated into the socket of the device and consists of a number of vibration modules spread throughout the rest of the residual limb. Meaning this prosthetic is able to touch, feel, and react with the rest of the body similarly to how a real limb would. Check out the video below to see a further explanation of the project:

Philips Lighting Society Shop

Sponsored by Phillips, a range of light-inspired fashion projects were rolled out to coincide with DDW. One of these included The Society Shop by Pauline van Dongen, a fashion designer merging tech with traditional tailoring. Above are a few selections from her Wearable Solar collection, built to include solar panels that able to charge mobile phones. With all the recent tech and fashion meldings, we can easily see these outfits popping up in time for NYFW.

All photographs courtesy of Jeroen van der Wielen

Were you at Dutch Design Week? Let us know your favorite projects in the comments section below:


To learn more about Dutch Design Week you can visit their Facebook, Twitter, and homepage.


dutch design week
Pauline Van Dongen
Bob de Graaf
Aoife Wullur
Jeroen Blom