Magazine Contact #21 - Magazine - About us - Concept Wiesner-Hager

Puzzle with creative chaos

Magazine Contact #21

The Design Innovation Space in Eindhoven is not only an office but simultaneously the structural manifest mission to rotate, push and ongoing further design. Designer Dave Keune has solely created the puzzle pieces.


The Dutch Design Week (DDW) is held every year in Eindhoven in October. A quarter of a million visitors and more than 2,000 domestic and foreign designers come together to indulge their passions for the latest trends and developments in the world of design. The chance is high during this period that they tilt tables and have to push ceiling-high steel scaffolding, as the DDW centre, the “Design Innovation Space”, is simultaneously used as a cooperative working space and openly accessible design think tank. Users are called upon here to compile their optimum furniture configuration themselves at their own discretion, depending on their needs. Castors on the ends of desks, conference tables, file cabinets, pin boards and four metre high room partitions make the job of moving them realisable with just a hand movement. “I’m not a friend of permanently installed, heavy office furniture,” said Amsterdam designer Dave Keune. “The diversity of design is much greater with flexible, moveable furniture elements – and it is way more fun to use! In this way the space can be re-experienced and rediscovered every day as a new one.” A little booklet that Keune pressed into his client’s hand upon completion of the DIS depicts a range of different configurations. The graphics – 14 versions with in each case 14 sub-variations, in total 196 different layouts are here to serve as an inspiration for the people working here.


People sit in a circle to work as a think tank or sit in rows to listen to a lecture, then work alone or one-on-one, then brainstorm or tinker with details, quiet and alone or at full volume. There are even bleachers leading up to the lofty heights on one of the nearly ceiling-high luxury scaffoldings, offering somewhat of an overview of the versatile, dynamic office puzzle. One cannot rid one’s self of the impression that someone is amusing themselves here about the notions from the office furniture industry laboriously introduced over the past few years, such as “me” places, “we” places, central and regeneration areas, as the DIS is all of that and nothing at the same time. Now it’s like this and in a half hour it’ll perhaps be totally different again. Where it’s all happening is a vacant, listed factory building in the northwest section of the city, Strijp-S. Where once electric and electronic devices were manufactured for Philips, creative processes are now happening.

The room, which is 20 x 15 metres in size and over five metres high, breathes history. That can be felt in every wall, in every beam, in every pore concreted over a hundred years ago. “As the plant is a listed building, it was theoretically not even possible to put a screw into the wall,” said the designer. The concept was indispensable solely on these grounds alone. “That’s my answer, as it were, to the question of how we would like to proceed in the future with a valuable historic structure. The DIS set up is modular, which allows it to be implemented in every room.” The colours and materials consciously withdraw, leaving the stage to the protagonist, Philips. The aesthetics are a bit reminiscent of the light, indeed nearly pale drafts of British designer Jasper Morrison: White painted steel, plywood, chipboards, perforated metal panels, aluminium, plastic and grey felt carpet on the floor. Only occasionally does a bit of green, a bit of blue penetrate this sober potpourri in the form of shop fronts, cabinets, rolling containers. “The trick is that we actually use few materials, however have encompassed large objects and volumes with it,” according to Keune. “In this way the project has succeeded in being realised with minimal capital. I even lent a helping hand myself in the green and blue painting work. That is cheaper and more fun.” The client, Dutch Design Week, would like to keep the precise construction costs to themselves. Just this much can be said: It is possible to safely situate the Design Innovation Space in the realm of low-budget design. “Yet what is genuinely true to my heart about this project is not the dynamics, flexibility, ability to react to each individual requirement but the commitment to DIY, the do-it-yourself.” Then Dave Keune grew briefly quiet, looked around and took a deep breath. “You know, the entire industry is built on relieving the consumer from thinking and acting and making him dependent. One can’t do anything other than consume – even if it’s just buying a simple, pre-fabricated product.” In the Design Innovation Space on the contrary, in this freely moveable shell, which can be played with in infinite variations, the user himself becomes the designer, advancing from economic slave to mature designer. Here anyone can make their contribution. This sows the seeds of creativity.


Wojciech Czaja

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