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Breakfast talk 2

by Danielle Arets

The second breakfast talks kicked off with Thomas Widdershoven, creative director Design Academy Eindhoven about the exhibition theme Self Unself. “Designers self initiate projects with often very unselfish ideas. They gear towards new economic models, aiming for transparency. Besides they more and more work in collaborative teams using each others skills and expertise. The topic Self Unself is a perfect tool to discuss these issues.”

Unselfish Phone Bloks
A good example of an unselfish project is Phone Bloks, a DAE graduation project by designer Dave Hakkens. Dave aimed at redesigning the system around cell phones; especially focusing on the sustainable aspect. Why do we throw away an old phone? Why can’t we simply replace the things that are not working anymore or customize a phone according to personal needs? These questions brought Dave redesign a cell phone working into a modular system. Phone Bloks  was picked up by numerous media, customers as well as companies that were eager to work with him on this prototype. “We got a lot of interest from Nokia, Intell, Motorola. They all liked to team up with us, but we decided to stay independent. We support the companies in developing this idea but if they go into the wrong direction we will shout.”
Moderator Tracy Metz is interested in the business model that lies underneath this. “You tapped into a huge commercial interest; you normally could make a lot of money out of it; why did you decided to do it differently?”
Dave responses: “The economic logical thing was to claim a patent. But I’m more interested in stimulating companies to be more transparent. Can we steer them into the right direction, changing the way they currently work? They might primarily not be interested in reducing waste; but they are not scared to open up the phone market.”

Thomas Widdershoven stresses the importance of these new ways of thinking. “I clearly see that an upcoming generation of designers is working in new ways. They are not immediately stuck by classical economic models or scared off by the big institutes, instead they act according to what they think needs to be done using open source thinking and social platforms.”

Design as a conversation trigger
Another Unselfish project is Cosmetic Surgery from Bora Hong, graduate from the masters. Intrigued by the fact that so many people (men and women) in South Korea do plastic surgery, Bora Hong tried to use surgery as a design tool on an Eames chair. 
“The interesting thing on this project is that Bora uses new design tools to address societal issues”, mentions Thomas Widdershoven. Also Alexandra Midal, head of the masters of HEAD,  is of the opinion that it is a very interesting way to deal with the fact that design can be a perfect research tool.
Midal is also very interesting in dealing with the political aspects of design. “The history of design is embedded in political actions. Designers like William Morris aimed to change the world trough design.” That is why the HEAD exhibition Conversation pieces in Milan organizes round table discussions with Cluedo weapons to stimulate discussions. “We were inspired by Design Academy Eindhoven that was one of the first schools that start addressing talks and discussions in Milan.”

Published: 10-Apr-2014 13:44
  • Gearing towards transparency

    Breakfast Talk 2

  • Gearing towards transparency

    Thomas Widdershoven and Dave Hakkens

  • Gearing towards transparency

    Dave Hakkens explaining Phonebloks

  • Gearing towards transparency

    Alexandra Midal

  • Gearing towards transparency

    Bora Hong in dialogue with Tracy Metz

  • Gearing towards transparency

    Public discussion

  • Gearing towards transparency

    Debate with audience