Whats Happening: The London Design Fair, in the creative heart of East London

For the first time in its history, the London Design Fair celebrated Dutch design in its country pavilions. Six students of the excellence program of International Lifestyle Studies (ILS) were invited by the Dutch Embassy in London to give trendtours at the design fair.

When IEMES colleague Chris Gribling forwarded me an email from the Dutch Embassy, explaining they were interested in our trendtours, I felt proud. Proud of the earlier accomplishments of our students during the Dutch Design Week. For seven years in a row students of our excellence program hosted trendtours at Strijp-S in Eindhoven. This special invitation from London felt like a cherry on the cake.

Together with my colleague in trendresearch, Bodil Jurg, and six of our top students I travelled to London from the 21st till the 24th of September. Located in the creative heart of East London, the London Design Fair (LDF) is an industry event that brings together 500 exhibitors from 28 countries, including the Netherlands. 'Dutch Stuff' explored the evolution of Dutch design, exhibiting  fashion and interior design, artworks and installations from more than 70 designers. The exhibition was curated by five Dutch design collectives and hosted by the Dutch Embassy.

For most visitors art and design projects are inspiring indeed, but only a few people actually grasp the underlying meaning.  That’s why our students linked the most innovative designs of LDF exhibitors to the major trends that are currently affecting our society. For example the trend ‘Aversive Aesthetics’.  In our digitalized world it proves difficult to grab one’s attention. However, there is no shortage of ethical issues that need our attention. Using the lure of disgust to provide a platform for these problems is the focus of this trend. As much as we don’t want to look at an obnoxious object, we can’t help but feel its glamour and attraction. The project ‘Maintain a stain’ of Lizan Freijsen fits this trend perfectly. This Dutch designer is fascinated by fungi and our attempt to ban mould from our everyday environment. By turning moisture stains into textiles, Lizan Freijsen focuses on our blind spots and visualizes their beauty. Changing something ugly into products of value is her way of recycling what is already there. Embracing imperfection is a response to the over-controlled society in which we live.

FLTR Cas Hendriks, Eva van Asselt, Lotte van Oosterhout, Simon Smits (Dutch Ambassador), Vera Bouwhuis, Lenny Vogelzang and Robin Erkamp in front of the work of Lizan Freijsen.

The trendtours at the LDF were a great success. Therefore I would like to show my gratitude to the Dutch Embassy in London and the London Design Fair for the opportunity they gave us. We hope to see you all next year.