Design to reconnect

Art, culture and civilizations have always been interrelated: visualizing or materializing the way we see the world, wanting to challenge and change it. When hitting Dutch Design Week we looked at it with an open mind and fresh eyes. Not merely seeing inspiring works, but seeing a clear conversation with a shared objective; to create a better world of tomorrow.

Designers on a mission

Although the mass appears to welcome instant fulfilment, the impact of technology and the potential it brings; they also question the change. Therefore designers take matters into their own hands. Using product design to educate people and raise awareness of the challenges we collectively face.

With the impact of digital technologies being prevalent in every spectrum of our lives, Dutch Design Week 2017 embraced new technologies and took an inventive and smart approach by combining technology and craftsmanship.

We saw social designers using their work as a reconnection tool by placing people and culture in the foreground. Not only is technology becoming more human, design also reacts to a tumultuous social and political environment or shows concern about environmental crisis and climate change. Design sparks debate between people and objects, as well as between objects and objects. Not only the compatibility of individualism and collectivism is questioned, but also whether a deeper level of human connection is possible by bridging the roots of design with new technology .

Circular design has clearly found its way into the standard design toolbox. Glass and carbon is being replaced by natural fibre materials like hemp and paper. And a great number of innovative sustainable materials are being printed. Also, tech savvy creatives are tackling the world’s energy issue with smart design. From using LED technology for smart lighting in public spaces, to utilizing flexible solar film to harvest energy from children running through a playground.

While at first glance it might seem a divergent approach, when we take a closer look, everything seems to come down to one main objective: design bringing us together by taking up its role to defend our place in the world.

This article is part of “The Magnificent Seven”, a series that explores the impact and influence of design with a healthy dose of must know. If you have any questions related to design, send a message to and we’ll write about it.