Design weeks are part of the daily grind of our profession.
For those outwith the industry it all just looks like jaunting off to another exotic sounding location and going to a lot of cocktail parties with unfeasibly gorgeous and entertaining people.
For others it may be.
For us it’s early mornings, heavy rucksacks, lots of polite small talk, little food, lots of walking, lots of avoiding polite small talk, late nights. And we generally have to buy our own beer. Which we typically drink while typing up interviews and checking photographs. Except of course during our annual visit to Gasthaus Gruber in Vienna.
Design weeks are also about forging and maintaining contact with designers, professors, producers, galleries and all those other industry people we rely on to work. No contacts. No stories.
So busy. But fun.
Its fair to say that there isn’t a design week we don’t enjoy, and each has not only its own charms but also its own good years and bad years.
And for us 2011 was a good year in Eindhoven.
Eindhoven as a city isn’t that interesting, attractive or inspiring.
We’ve gotta be honest.
It just look like a boring industrial town that has lost its industry but whose citizens have managed to find work elsewhere.
Which is what it is.
Eindhoven has however been remarkably successful in holding onto the Eindhoven Design Academy graduates. Largely because it offers them affordable space in which to work. Largely because of the aforementioned industrial collapse.
The result is the most remarkable network of highly talented, motivated and innovative designers who all learn from and feed off one another.
And this year that we really felt that.
But it wasn’t just the local talent who were on good form this year, there was also an awful lot of interesting and thought provoking projects from international designers on display.
And while we saw good and interesting projects in Vienna, Berlin, Stockholm, Milan etc… in our opinion Eindhoven 2011 just had a higher concentration of such.
If we did have one criticism it would be the insistence of many venues of only publishing information material in Dutch.
Yes, its called Dutch Design Week.
Is however an international festival. And there is nothing more pointless than standing in front of something and not having the faintest idea if its good or not because you can’t read the information material.
And so for 2012 – a little more English would be a thoughtful aid to all us non-Dutch speakers.
Our Design Week Year 2012 begins in a couple of days, and promises a couple of new festivals.
It’ll be interesting to see who tops the poll come December.