Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Yi-Fei Chen | Yellowtrace

‘Tear Gun” by . Photo by Ronald Smits.
Her upbringing in Taiwan has instilled Yi-Fei Chen with a deep respect for authority. Disagreeing with your teachers is considered rude, and rudeness must be suppressed. Coming to the Netherlands for a master’s degree was a shock to her system. Within Western higher education, students are taught to question authority and expected to take a critical attitude. For many students like Chen it can be a confusing and emotional journey to adapt to such a new set of circumstances. The pressure they feel to step outside their own comfort zone may even cause drastic responses. Chen has visualised her personal struggle to toughen up and speak her mind with a striking metaphor: she has frozen the tears she shed during an incident where she had to speak up but couldn’t, and built a gun to fire them. Next time a teacher puts her on the spot, she will be ready to respond with equal force.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Isabel Mager | Yellowtrace

“5000X” by . Photo by Nicole Marnati.
Our increasingly smart devices are made by human hands. But how often, as we sit swiping, do we realise that somewhere, someone is testing the image quality of our tablets by doing nothing but taking thousands of selfies every day? To come to grips with such endlessly repetitious manufacturing tasks, Isabel Mager went in search of the human trace in our machines. By literally taking apart a laptop, she sought out this hidden evidence. With the installation ‘5000x’ she revalues the worker’s identity: as long as humans are the most adaptable machines, the idea of a fully automated production process remains pure fiction.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Fabian Briels | Yellowtrace

“Digital Anatomy” by . Photo by Ronald Smits.
We have been making clothes the same way for centuries. But what if you were to rethink the whole process? This is what Fabian Briels does with ‘Digital Anatomy’. He creates new garments using lasers as needles and silicone as thread. A digital pattern is laser-engraved into an acrylic sheet and silicone is injected into the grooves. Once set, the flat mesh can be lifted from the sheet and draped into a top. Seams are sealed instead of stitched and there is zero waste.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Love Ohlin | Yellowtrace

“My Taped Reality” by . Photo by Ronald Smits.
You can fix anything with tape. Even your fashion sense. Proving this point is ‘My Taped Reality’ − Love Ohlin’s quick fix for the tedium of our everyday outfits. The fashion industry is so predictable. It is high time to inject some fun and imagine what clothing could be instead. Ohlin does this, creating colourful, larger-than-life garments and innovative silhouettes using only tape and scissors. The collection is the ultimate way out when ordinary life is just too boring. And, we all have the tools on hand to tailor our own escape.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Guglielmo Poletti | Yellowtrace

“Equilibrium” by . Photo by Nicole Marnati.
Designers define a framework of criteria for themselves to ensure coherence and quality in their work. But too much thinking ahead can become an obstacle. So when Guglielmo Poletti felt himself being held back trying to define his philosophy of making, he freed himself from any pre-conceived concept and set to work intuitively, striking a balance between naivety and intellect. It resulted in a series of objects: ‘Equilibrium’. Attracted by basic constructions, his ‘thinking-with-your-hands’ approach led him to investigate the limit of his materials, introducing twists and tension. Zooming in on unconventional details, he draws the viewer’s attention and creates a suspension in the way people engage with the work. By deconstructing an image and then restoring it with the smallest intervention, he aims to achieve a deeper impact. His subtle gestures allow for a new appreciation.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Jing He | Yellowtrace

“Tulip Pyramid” by . Photo by Femke Rijerman.
The tulip vase is a 17th-century Dutch invention. However, its form, motifs and material all imitate Chinese porcelain pagodas. Jing He uses this history in ‘Tulip Pyramid’ to explore her identity as a Chinese designer. Today China is known for its mass copies. In this context, what does it mean to be original? Can copying also be creative? To try and find answers, she continues the process of replicating and transforming. She asks five young Chinese designers to reflect on the culture of imitation and innovation by designing two layers of her pyramid. Jing He also sees the pyramid as a metaphor for herself. Her origins are in China, but her studies in the Netherlands helped to form her, giving her another perspective on design. And so, in a second pyramid, she imitates and mixes up famous Dutch designers’ works with her own previous work. Each structure becomes an original expression of Dutch and Chinese design, culture and history.



The 2016 Design Academy Eindhoven Graduates are working in a critical moment in time. The 171 newly graduated designers are entering an era characterised by uncertainty, upheaval, aggression and extremism. Yet their vision remains steadfastly positive because design is an optimistic discipline. “Our designers believe in a better world, they believe in the possibility of change, and they believe that design can play a central role in the shaping of a new world,” explains the acclaimed academy.

In a graduation show curated by FormaFantasma, the 2016 graduates explore larger issues in their designs: peace, production, surveillance and gender. They courageously deal with war and peace, and open the debate on government surveillance and the right to privacy. They delve into gender and how constraints and a narrow way of thinking limit our potential. And they also look at what recently was – by analysing production processes and posing challenges to big industry. They search for new methods and for material innovations, and they mix craft and technology to create new products that can be made on a more human scale.

Today we share a selection of some of the 197 projects that have caught our eye this year. An impressive selection of work and a fascinating conceptual reinterpretation of the world we live in, addressing a range of issues that engage these bright young designers. I feel optimistic about our future, witnessing such intelligent works with depth and maturity, dealing with issues around human behaviour, education and activism. You know, not just the pretty design stuff.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Aina Seerden | Yellowtrace

‘Your Digital Twin’ by . Photo by .
Seerden’s animation and set of costumes raise awareness of the way the internet affects our behaviour. She finds the paradox of anonymity vs. lack of privacy confusing. Seerden has therefore defined a number of ‘digital archetypes’ that attract attention within a social media environment. In a next step, she draws these into the real world through a set of corresponding costumes. By putting these on, wearers can experiment with their social media persona in real life. “See how much of a provocateur or exhibitionist you really want to be, and think about it the next time you post a picture or blurt out an opinion.” Genius.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Pleun van Dijk | Yellowtrace

‘Reborn’ by . Photo by Ronald Smits.
With ‘Reborn’, Pleun van Dijk wants to create awareness of the ethical and moral implications of the many opportunities humans have today for biomedical improvement. We repair what is damaged, replace broken body parts and change our look to fit an ideal. We seem to hold the key to perfection and gradually change into designed human beings. Where does all this lead? Will humans ultimately become modular systems? Pleun’s design thesis and installation invite us to join the conversation and give us an opportunity to anticipate the new developments before they sneak up on us.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Chiao Chun Chan | Yellowtrace

‘The Department Objects’ by . Photo by Ronald Smits.
We use our imagination to create objects for our own use and then tend to think of these as separate things, existing and functioning entirely independently of us. A chair is built for us to sit on, and stays the same, regardless of whether or not someone is seated. But what if this relationship became less distant? Chan Chiao Chun woke up with this idea one morning after dreaming that his body had become one with the household objects around him. This dream led to ‘The Dependent Objects’. Here, he creates a series where both the furnishings and the user need each other. Without human support, they literally fall over, or lie slumped in a corner. But we also respond to them. Together they are in balance and continue to affect each other. Objects become physical extensions of human experience rather than just subservient tools.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Naama Agassi | Yellowtrace

‘A Calendar of Affects’ by . Photo by Gabriele Mariotti.
The earth orbits the sun and rotates around its own axis. This is time as we know it. Through seasons, days and nights, we perceive the natural passing of time. Yet time is also manmade -its designed. We divide it into artificial units such as minutes and seconds, using clocks and calendars to guide us. But the way that these tools portray time is at odds with how we experience it. This is the underlying notion of ‘A Calendar of Affects’ by Naama Agassi. Agassi seeks a more subjective representation of temporality that can engage our emotions and interact with our environment. A pulsating chair marks seconds as heartbeats; a marble on the floor measures minutes at a constantly changing pace; a roll of tape slowly unwinds, building up into a pile as days go by; and a rack of fabric circles around almost imperceptibly, going from cool blues in winter to warmer hues in summer. Regular household objects become chronometers that are more in tune with our intimate sense of time.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Sejoon Kim | Yellowtrace

“Cute” by . Photo by Ronald Smits.
If you think these ‘Cute’ designs have a dark twist, you are right. Sejoon Kim’s research started from the question why he, as a Korean, appears to be more drawn to this style than the Europeans around him. This led him to study what ‘cuteness’ is. For Kim, the root of cuteness is not the protective instinct, but lies in a social and cultural construct. With its rigid hierarchy, Confucian culture brought a hidden desire for dominance and control. The rise of commercialism and its powerful marketing aimed at children over the past decades did the rest. Kim believes that when people find something cute, there is an inherent sense of superiority, domination and even violence. Satisfying these urges stimulates the human pleasure centres. Acknowledging both loveliness and darkness can be necessary and useful; it may help alleviate the human urge for control and conquest. This is why he has incorporated these conflicting qualities in his designs.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Thomas Ballouhey | Yellowtrace

“Ways of Altering” by . Photo by Ronald Smits.
Design is not only about the end product. Production methods are just as important, as new ways of making things can open up unexplored terrain. This is what Thomas Ballouhey shows in ‘Ways of Altering’. Here, he modifies mass production to allow for an alternative approach. The low-tech look evokes a possible distant past rather than a technologically advanced present or future. Like a thieving magpie, he intrudes on the territory of others, hijacking existing objects to make new structures. He uses a customised sandblaster to spray a mix of glue and sand into a solidifying coat. Manufacturing leftovers, incomplete components or other scraps form material collages once bound together with this extra layer. This skin supports spontaneous constructions, consolidating materials that would otherwise remain separate, worthless fragments. Suddenly, anything can become a possible building block.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Anton Hendriks Denys | Yellowtrace

“Foam Fences” by . Photo by Ronald Smits.
Sometimes the suggestion of privacy is enough. This is what Anton Hendrik Denys explores in ‘Foam Fences’. By combining open and closed structures, this series of screens help define an interior without blocking any light or diminishing the sense of space. Thick foam strips overlap each other, creating patterns with a subtle sense of depth. Covering the foam is a coating with a hard, almost metallic look that contrasts with the softness of the frame. The user is invited to come closer and investigate this visual contradiction, triggering him to interact with the scene on the other side.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Oceane Algaron | Yellowtrace

“Play My Game” by . Photo by Ronald Smits.
Although there is little we can do to stop ourselves from getting old, when it comes to growing up, we have a choice. Modern society demands that we mature extremely fast and start taking responsibility for our lives from a very young age. There is a lot of social pressure to perform and be serious. ‘Play My Game’ by Océane Algaron is designed to embrace the spirit of childhood. This set of modular bags, straps and pompoms can be mixed and matched in playful combinations as wearers are invited to have fun expressing an individual style.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Bart Joachim van Uden | Yellowtrace

“Marble Earth” by . Photo by Ronald Smits.
The ‘Marble Earth’ furniture range plays with our appreciation of chipboard furniture with a decorative top layer. We tend to like it because it is cheaper than solid wood furniture, but it has an aura of discount brochures and mediocrity. Our solution is to cover it up with imitation wood prints. But why stick to a ‘birch’ cupboard door? An ‘oak’ kitchen worktop? Why not embrace the full potential of the material? Bart Joachim van Uden re-imagines our self-deceit. He uses images from Google Earth, selected to look just like exclusive natural stone, and combines them with the aesthetic details of standard furniture production.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Tanita Klein | Yellowtrace

“Norm” by . Photo by Ronald Smits.
The ‘Norm’ cabinet is a contemporary take on using standardised, normed sizes, inspired by a German social housing project from the 1920s. Aiming to create affordable homes with a modern, yet human aesthetic for the upcoming working class, its designers relied heavily on normed sizes. These are based on average human body dimensions such as body height and arm reach, to ensure optimum use. So while it uses a standardised production technique, Tanita Klein’s design refuses to take the abstract box as a starting point. Instead, it visibly takes the human body as its ideal. Because design should become normal again.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Wesley Nieuwenhuizen | Yellowtrace

“Plastival” by Wesley Nieuwenhuizen. Photo by Ronald Smits.
Although plastic lasts for 1,000 years, we only use it for the blink of an eye: plastic waste is all around us. In his quest for a cleaner world, Wesley Nieuwenhuizen reinvents recycling to become an on-site spectacle at festivals, creating cool new products within minutes. By using familiar kitchen and fairground machines the process becomes a fascinating attraction. Hand in your plastic cups or camping waste to have it shredded by the blender, turned into a spongy foam by the cotton candy machine and melted on the panini press into something else: flip-flops, sun caps, key chains, or even the tokens you pay with.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Anne Texier | Yellowtrace

“Made In Youtube” by Anne Texier. Photo by Femke Rijerman.
Every minute legions of craftsmen and women around the world are busy perfecting and sharing their skills. Their workshop is a kitchen, garage or bedroom and their medium is Youtube. On camera, they weave newspapers, carve soap or make shoes out of tape. Sometimes only their hands are visible. Fascinated by these new online artisans, Anne Texier explores their common visual code. This vast bank of expertise currently only exists in separate tutorials. Texier proposes bringing them together into interlinked production processes. Hook a knitting lesson up with a video on spinning wool and shearing a sheep and suddenly, you can make your own sweater from start to finish.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Christian Heikoop | Yellowtrace

“Glissade” by . Photo by Nicole Marnati.
New ideas can come in many forms. Often the look of the end product is the starting point. With ‘Glissade’ Christian Heikoop puts method first. Inspired by the easy assembly of retro camping gear, he created a series that can be put together in a flash, without the need for extra tools or screws. Instead, metal tubes are simply slid into pre-cut leather sleeves. Flat, 2D design instantly becomes a functional 3D object. The resulting chairs, benches and stools display a new aesthetic shaped by the way they are made. In collaboration with ECCO Leather.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Emma Wessel | Yellowtrace

“Hide & Seek” by . Photo by the Designer.
In her work, Emma Wessel moves between the worlds of fashion and interior design. Her ‘Hide & Seek’ collection and look book serve to inspire both. While fashion traditionally is about making its wearer stand out, here, Wessel does the opposite. Using voluminous forms, the idea is to hide the silhouette. Foamy bright fabrics are like couches and cushions personified, as garments takes on the look and feel of furnishings. Where does the interior end and our clothing begin? By getting rid of this distinction, you can effectively merge with your surroundings.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Junho Jeon | Yellowtrace

“Thread Divider” by . Photo by Femke Rijerman.
Thread is linear. That does not mean that it has to remain thin and flat. Coated in epoxy and wrapped around a rectangular frame, Junho Jeon transforms it into a 3D shape. More than just a functional way to define a space, Jeon’s ‘Thread Divider’ also lends its own aesthetic to the interior. The heavy concrete block used as an anchor further accentuates the airy fragility of the standing textile strands. Adding a light inside sets the whole aglow – a luminous pillar of parallel lines.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Karolina Ferenc | Yellowtrace

“Lichen In Love” by . Photo by Nicole Marnati.
Humans seem to find many non-human things problematic and unimportant. Researching this attitude, Karolina Ferenc built a case study around the relationship between man and lichen. Associated with decay and aging, lichen is frequently removed from man-made environments. At the same time, it is admired by scientists for its ability to survive in extreme conditions, like outer space. ‘Lichen in Love’ shows the natural bond between humans and lichen by means of a love story. It offers a glimpse of a potential transition to a new era, closing the gap between these organisms and us. A set of designed objects reflects a growing intimacy. From a scientific balloon that escorts lichen to a safe place far away from humans, to an oxygenating mouthpiece, or a lamp that sheds light on this unique life form. The objects are accompanied by a set of love letters showcasing a new and impassioned relationship with nature.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Elliot Kendall | Yellowtrace

“Per Meter” by . Photo by Lisa Klappe.
Veneer is typically used as an economical solution to achieve a wood aesthetic by covering substrates. Shifting towards a more honest use of the material, Charlotte Pommet and Elliot Kendall explore the potential of veneer on its own. They have developed a forming technique that relies on the properties intrinsic to each species and grain pattern. Both volume and strength are achieved by laminating minimal amounts of veneer together into structural profiles. As a result, these lightweight modules come together fulfilling infinite possibilities of designs and applications.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Leonie Schepers | Yellowtrace

“Intimate Suit” by . Photo by Lisa Klappe.
Sexuality and a need for intimacy is a core part of our being. People with developmental disabilities are no exception. But current healthcare institutions have trouble dealing with this. And so Leonie Schepers designed a tool to help. Her ‘Intimate Suit’ incorporates a large round ball that can be hugged, while weighted shoulder pads simulate the feeling of being held. In the middle is a stimulator for friction. Although each element can be used separately, when connected, every movement affects the whole. What started as a practical solution has since gone on to spark an important ethical discussion regarding its use and Schepers is now working closely with carers to address this.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Mandy van der Heijden | Yellowtrace

“The Odd Ones” by . Photo by Femke Rijerman.
Kids find it hard to keep still. And yet this is what we expect of them at school, for hours on end. There they sit, stuck in neatly aligned rows of desks, when they actually need regular movement and play to rest and recharge. It’s also their way of learning key social skills, which are as important as academic competence. And so Mandy van der Heijden created ‘The Odd Ones’: classroom furniture with a playful twist. Jumping, spinning, rolling and climbing – it all becomes possible when children are finally given room to move.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Maxime Benvenuto | Yellowtrace

“The Ministry of Humanism” by . Photo by Femke Rijerman.
As the United Nations face growing challenges and become increasingly hampered by political debates, Maxime Benvenuto proposes an alternative, yet complementary approach. He introduces a Ministry of Humanism for each government to support the quest for global peace. To create a common ground for all participating nations, he has written a law that defines the aims and tasks of the Ministry. The underlying ideals are also translated into a design blueprint for buildings and furniture. These embody the pluralistic and polymorphous aspects of different cultures and are grounded in core ideas of equality and tolerance. By rendering irrational hope into rational terms and concrete proposals, Benvenuto aims to bring a brighter future a step closer.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Nai-Dan Chang| Yellowtrace

“The Light of Colour” by . Photo by Femke Rijerman.
For Nai-Dan Chang, the atmosphere of a space is paramount to the way we feel: “It’s like an invisible radiation that affects us unconsciously.” It fosters intimacy with our surroundings. But can objects themselves radiate atmosphere? If so, how? In this project, Nai-Dan Chang uses colour to accomplish this. Like light, colour too can be a powerful tool to add ambience. She applies the brightest hues and then ‘dims’ them with translucent layers. Tables and wardrobes seem to glow with a warm inner light, and tubular standing lamps come alive, shining without a single bulb. Together, ‘The Light of Colour’ invites a more vivid interaction with inanimate furnishings that goes beyond the functional.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Niklas Worisch | Yellowtrace

“Snaggin.Net” by . Photo by Lisa Klappe.
Can you fake it until you make it? Intrigued by this idea, Olivier van Gaalen, Georg Gross and Niklas Worisch invented ‘Snaggin’ – a ficticious sport based on children’s catch ball toys. As self-professed pros, they started living the lifestyle and uploading the evidence online. The idea caught on, reaching a wide audience through social media. Maximising on this interest, the designers proceeded to build a brand around it, complete with sportswear. Soon the lines between fiction and reality began to fade, both for them and their ever-growing group of followers.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Renee Mes | Yellowtrace

“Distinctive Hue” by . Photo by Lisa Klappe.
Recognise the feeling of being completely lost in a white and monotonous hospital interior? Adding some colour to the surroundings and gaining a sense of control over what happens might help; ‘Distinctive Hue’ is designed to encourage both. This portable modular frame is designed to instantly create a more comfortable environment. The variously shaped panels are covered with colourful Maharam healthcare textiles. They introduce a bright and playful vibe, and also empower patients and visitors: anyone can rearrange the scenery by easily clicking on or off the panels and spinning them around.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Robin Maas | Yellowtrace

“Precious Sight” by . Photo by Nicole Marnati.
When was the last time you stopped to appreciate sight? We take it for granted, but Robin Maas knows exactly how valuable it is. Over the years she watched her mother gradually lose not only her hearing, but also her ability to see. This made Maas appreciate the value of sight all the more. ‘Precious Sight’ is thus designed to celebrate the gift of vision. Beads, mirrors coloured chords and bright plastics take eyewear far beyond the functional in a collection that is high in fashion and fun. When not needed, the frames can be worn as a necklace, where they remain every bit as eyecatching.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Sanne Gelissen | Yellowtrace

“Sound Scene” by . Photo by Femke Rijerman.
Open floor plans are easy on the eye, but work less well acoustically. One person wants to listen to music, while the other wants to read. We’ve all been there. What to do? Sanne Gelissen has an answer: ‘Sound Scene’. Instead of allowing sound to spill out and take over the entire room, this device bundles sound waves together, beaming them towards a specific point – like a kind of sound spotlight. Within this audio zone, music can be enjoyed to the max. Step outside, and it quickly fades to a minimum. The same space can be shared without a wall or room divider in sight.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Sigve Knutson | Yellowtrace

“Drawn Objects” by . Photo by Nicole Marnati.
In ‘Drawn Objects’, Sigve Knutson explores how a designer might work if the qualities of drawing were applied to the various phases of a production process. Drawing expresses the personal qualities and unique aesthetics of a designer: it allows for a direct and intuitive expression of the imagination, poetry, even thoughts and inspirations. By contrast, designing products usually means that your designs have to be changed, over long periods of time, to fit every new step in the production process. The author-designer’s rich personal imagery is translated and transformed, smoothed and filtered. To deal with this gradual decline of the original intuitions, Knutson developed this project. It explores a multitude of ways to apply drawing to the production of objects. For instance, by connecting drawing to crafts, a new range of methods and ways of working on the surfaces of forms emerges. The intuitive and personal are not smoothed away, but they become the foundations from which objects are born.


Design Academy Eindhoven 2016 Graduation Show, Clémence Althabegoïty | Yellowtrace

‘Mvula’ by Clémence Althabegoïty. Photo by Femke Rijerman.
‘Mvula’ means rain in the language of the South African Xhosa. During a stay in their region, Clémence Althabegoïty worked with people who have trouble accessing water. As in many places, this vital resource has been turned into a commodity: wells and pumps have become private property. Yet, the skies supply people everywhere with rainwater. To remind us of this celestial offering and stimulate people to collect it, she designed ‘Mvula’ − an imagined symbolic and intricate structure directed at the sky. The design is open source, easily accessible and uses only basic materials, so it can be adapted to suit different local circumstances.


[Images courtesy of . Photography credits as noted.]


About The Author

Dana Tomić Hughes
Founder & Editor

Dana is an award-winning interior designer living in Sydney, Australia. With an unhealthy passion for design, Dana commits to an abnormal amount of daily design research. Regular travel and attendance at premier design events, enables Dana to stay at the forefront of the design world globally. While she is super serious about design, Dana never takes herself - nor design - too seriously. Together with her life and business partner, Dana is Boss Lady at Studio Yellowtrace, specialising in Design Strategy, Creative Direction and Special Projects. The studio takes a highly conceptual and holistic approach to translating brands & ideas into places & experiences.

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