The V&A Museum in London is opening a new museum next year specially for Scottish design in Dundee, the fourth largest city of Scotland. The huge building on the river Tay is the outcome of an international competition won by the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, who is also designing Tokyo’s Olympic stadium for 2020. The V&A is also one of the founding institutions of a new design museum, Design Society, which is to open this October in the Chinese city of Shenzen.
Nextdoor is a free private social network for neighborhood communities. It launched in 2011 in the US and at the beginning of 2016 in the Netherlands, its first European rollout. It has become quite popular: in the US 75 percent of all households use it, and in the Netherlands over a third of the neighborhoods have adopted it in just the past year and a half. In the UK, where the app was launched last September, it now represents 44% of the country’s neighborhoods, and release in France and Germany is pending. “It took us four years to attain the growth in the US that we have already experienced here in the Netherlands,” says co-founder Sarah Leary. “The Dutch love smartphones and are early adopters of social networking services.”
I first saw work by the French-Luxemburg artist duo Martine Feipel and Jean Bechameil two years ago at Galerie Fontana. It was the exhibion ‘Un monde parfait – In dust suspended’. I wrote an article for NRC about the way they use their sculptures to come to grips with the desolation of the modern utopia that was realized in concrete on the edges of Paris – as in many other cities.
For the radio documentary of CBCRadio ‘go with the flow: Using nature to help fight climate change’ I talked about the challenges with which the Netherlands has to deal with concerning water. The Netherlands have to think ahead. If they don’t, this country will simply disappear under the waves. And that makes prevention really part of the DNA of this country.
For Harvard Graduate School of Design I wrote a blog about the cycling mayor in Amsterdam.
Urban cycling is all the rage in cities nowadays. For tourists it’s a fun way of seeing the city, for locals in cities that are not used to bikes it is a form of transport activism. In Amsterdam, it’s utilitarian; biking is simply the cheapest and quickest way to get around. Not in lycra, but in high heels or a business suit, or with groceries in front and a child in back.
New trend: souvenirs are the new outlet for designers. It dawned on me when I attended a talk by Scottish curator Stacey Hunter at the exhibition design Language during the Milan Designweek about her project Local Heroes in Edinburgh last year. She invited nine designers to create souvenirs that went beyond the heritage clichés. It reminded me of a Dutch project by designer Elmo Vermijs, 100% Terschelling, which is in the running for one of this year’s Dutch Design Awards.