The strong interdisciplinary and international character of our staff and student body is reflected in the publications our department produces. Books, chapters and articles range from design, art, architecture, culture and media.

Paris-Amsterdam Underground

To mark the publication of 'Paris-Amsterdam Underground' (AUP 2013) Prof. Dr. Ginette Verstraete participated at a roundtable discussion at Spui 25, Amsterdam, together with the experts in art, history, film and media Christoph Lindner, Carolyn Birdsall, Sudeep Dasgupta and Andrew Hussey. The participants debated the place of counter-culture in Paris and Amsterdam from the 1960s through the present era of global urbanism.
The post-war histories of Paris and Amsterdam have been significantly defined by the notion of the ‘underground’ as both a material and metaphorical space. Examining the underground traffic between the two cities, this roundtable discussion interrogated the counter-cultural histories of Paris and Amsterdam from the 1960s through to the twenty-first century, where the notion of the underground has also come to include the problems of violence and integration in the Parisian banlieues and Amsterdam suburbs, the sex and drugs trade in both cities, the re-imagining of city limits, globalized boundaries, and, in the most literal sense, the impact of the Paris and Amsterdam metros on urban mobility and the heterogeneity of city life.

Shuttling between Paris and Amsterdam, as well as between post-war avant-gardism and twenty-first century global urbanism, the discussion explored how and why the underground has been a driving force in the making of the contemporary European city.

Modernist complexity on a small scale
Artemis Yagou's research 'Modernist complexity on a small scale: The Dandanah glass building blocks of 1920 from an object-based research perspective' for Deutsches Museum is available online. Download it here

The construction of Dutch Design

Ozorio de Almeida Meroz, Joana & Rachel Griffin, ‘Open Design: A history of the construction of a Dutch idea’, The Journal of Design 15 (2012) 4, pp. 405-422.

"In a short period of time, open design went from an unknown notion to a buzzword in the Dutch design world. This development is usually attributed to the proliferation of bottom-up activities fostered by a typically open Dutch society. However, although open design is commonly associated with grassroots, bottom-up activities, in the Netherlands, the most visible effort at widespread dissemination of these ideals has been the result of a highly centralized effort largely supported by government funding. Why were the government and cultural organizations interested in fostering open design practices? And what type of open practices has this top-down model engendered? Advancing from a constructivist approach, we examine how this discourse has been formed by the convergence of actors with distinct agendas, and position it in relation to its cultural and economic contexts."

Designed Interiors for a Progressive Middle Class

Floré, Fredie, 'Architect-Designed Interiors for a Culturally Progressive Upper-Middle Class: the Implicit Political Presence of Knoll International in Belgium', in Robin Schuldenfrei (ed.), Atomic Dwelling: Anxiety, Domesticity, and Postwar Architecture, Abingdon/New York (Routledge) 2012, pp. 169-185.

In the first decade following the Second World War, Knoll International, a renowned American-based producer of International Style furniture, entered the western European market. It did so by selling production licenses to local furniture companies. One of them was De Coene, a Flemish family business specializing in the design and production of wooden furniture, interiors fittings, and structural building elements. In 1954 De Coene obtained the Knoll production licenses for Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg in order to supply the business community with suitable modern office furnishings. Soon Knoll furniture also became an important component of the interior arrangements of the homes of the cultural elite. This essay discusses the introduction of Knoll in these interiors and especially questions the political side of this process.

For De Coene, buying the Knoll production licenses formed an integral part of its postwar political reorientation which directly related to the firm’s pro-German activities during the war. After several years of sequestration, the company was allowed to rebuild its business, but there were still restrictions on the amount of profit it was allowed to make. In response to this, in the early fifties, De Coene made large investments which radically modernized the design, the technical know-how and the internal organization of the firm. By associating itself with Knoll International, which was known for collaborating with European “refugees,” the company explicitly tried to distance itself from its recent, wartime past. At the same time, considering the close relationships between Knoll and the US State Department, De Coene also implicitly took a position in a new world conflict—that of the Cold War.

Taking the company history of De Coene as a starting point, this chapter discusses the political significance of Knoll furniture in the homes of the Belgian cultural elite, within the context of the Cold War years.

Book review: Design as Politics

Ozorio de Almeida Meroz, Joana, ‘Design as Politics by Tony Fry’, Design and Culture 4 (2012) 1, pp. 112-114. (more)

Illustration credits: book cover Fry, Tony, Design as Politics, Oxford/New York (Berg) 2011.

Design Criticism and Social Responsibility

Floré, Fredie, ‘Design Criticism and Social Responsibility: the Flemish Design Critic K.-N. Elno (1920-1993)’, in Lees-Maffei, Grace, Writing Design: Words and Objects, Oxford (Berg Publishers) 2011, pp. 33-44.

As several historical studies have shown, the 1958 Brussels’ World’s Fair, marked a pivotal moment in de experience of modernity in Belgium. It provided the visitors with an international overview of new forms, buildings and products. In doing so it also opened up a challenging set of design critical questions, dealing for example with the quality and ‘authenticity’ of the national design production. This article focuses on the way design critics in Belgium responded to the altering situation. It especially discusses the work of K.-N. Elno, who, from the mid 1950s onwards, became Flanders’ most prominent design critic. 

Elno’s oeuvre is marked by a continuing discussion of the social responsibilities of the artist. Elno started off during the Second World War as an art critic. However during the fifties he gradually turned his attention to architecture and especially product design, as he believed that it was in these disciplines that an artist could fully develop his ‘social’ mission. According to Elno, also design critics had responsibilities towards society. In his own case this first and foremost had implications in terms of content. As several of his contemporaries, Elno developed a modernist approach which was meant to ‘serve’ mankind and deal with people as unique individuals. This way he became one of the pioneers of the anti-authoritarian critique of the 1960s in Belgium. Elno’s social ambitions also influenced his choice of media. For example he liked to write for newspapers or periodicals which did not prominently focus on design. According to Elno, discussing the everyday social meaning of design was only possible in the context of an all round form of journalism.

Elno approached Expo 58 with distrust. He strongly criticised the emergence of an Expo-style, a design style which he believed to be superficial and unauthentic. Nevertheless in the 1960s Elno’s dialectic form of criticism and his close observations of the everyday living environments led him to a more nuanced appreciation of kitsch. However, the ambition to reconcile modernist values with a revaluation of the individual appropriation of material goods was hard to maintain. From the late 1960s onward Elno gradually closed of his career. Based upon an in-depth study of his collected writings, this paper argues that his final decision to remain silent is significant for the understanding of his work and at the same time revealing for the direction in which design criticism in Flanders was developing.

Illustration credits:
K.-N. Elno in Eindhoven (from West-Vlaanderen 6 [November-December 1958]: 367)

The Limits of Infinity

Beek, Martijn van, ‘The Limits of Infinity: Sigfried Giedion and the Reception of Guarino Guarini’, Oase 86 (2011).

Restructuring Plans for the Textile Sector

Gimeno Martínez, Javier, 'Restructuring Plans for the Textile and Clothing Sector in Post-industrial Belgium and Spain', Fashion Practice 3 (2011) 2, pp. 197-224. (more)

The restructuring plans for industry affect both the technological and cultural aspects of clothing production. In the 1980s, restructuring plans for the textile and clothing industry came to solve the problems that had plagued the sector during the previous decade. The global 1973 oil crisis, the obsolescence of technology and the emergence of low-wage countries as leading exporters put the European clothing industry under threat. Consequently, the restructuring measures focused on the renovation of machinery and the elimination of a superfluous workforce, mainly through the grant of loans and early retirement funds. Moreover, designer fashion was promoted as the best way for post-industrial economies to survive the crisis. Advanced economies sought to maintain their leadership in creativity once the struggle for clothing production was lost in favor of outward processing. Therefore, countries such as Belgium and Spain that were not yet included in the circuit of creative centers sought to enter it.

Exhibition review: Making is Thinking

Ozorio de Almeida Meroz, Joana, 'Exhibition Review: Making is Thinking ', The Journal of Modern Craft 4 (2011) 3, pp. 339-342. (more)

Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam,
January 23 to May 1, 2011.
Curated by Zoë Gray, assisted by Amira Gad.

Illustration credits: Edgar Leciejewski. Left: Wand [Wall] 25.03.2008, 2008, C-print on aludibond, wood, framed, 150 x 200 cm. Right: Wand 30.07.2008 (Studie II), 2008, C-print on aludibond, wood, framed, 60 x 60 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Parrotta, Stuttgart/Berlin. Installation photograph Witte de With 2011: Bob Goedewaagen.

Exhibition review: Super Normal: Sensations of the Ordinary

Floré, Fredie, ‘Super Normal: Sensations of the Ordinary’, Design and Culture (2011) 3, pp. 404-407.

Since several decades the Ghent Design museum has the habit of regularly hosting international travelling exhibitions. ‘Super Normal: Sensations of the Ordinary’, curated by designers Naoto Fukasawa and Jasper Morrison was on show between 3 July and 24 October 2010. The exhibition, which made its debut in the Axis Gallery in Tokio in 2006 and has travelled for example to Milan and London, was installed on the underground level of the Design museum, underneath a retrospective on the work of the renowned Flemish designer of porcelain Piet Stockmans.

As the years of international travelling of the ‘Super Normal’ exhibition suggest, several museum and design curators are intrigued by Fukasawa and Morrison’s curatorial work. Super Normal not only offers a fresh and inviting perspective on the process of selecting exhibition items, it also underlines the possibilities of contemporary design exhibitions beyond the display of ‘good design’. But how convincing was the Ghent exhibition in conveying Fukasawa and Morrison’s curatorial ideas? (more)

Illustration credits: Fredie Floré.

Beyond Sign Design

Lütticken, Sven, ‘Beyond Sign Design’, in Huber, Jörg, Burkhard Meltzer, Heike Munder, Tido von Oppeln (eds.), It's Not a Garden Table: Art and Design in the Expanded Field (JRP|Ringier), 2011.

From Lütticken’s blog:

“The publication It's Not a Garden Table: Art and Design in the Expanded Field is an initiative of the Migros Museum and the Institute for Critical Theory in Zurich. I contributed the essay ‘Beyond Sign Design’, which develops aspects of an article that Tom Holert commissioned a couple of years ago for Texte zur Kunst's design issue. In conjunction with a number of theoretical approaches to design, objecthood, networks and systems, ‘Beyond Sign Design’ analyses artistic practices ranging from Frank Stella and John Armleder to Hans Haacke and Allan Sekula, and to Natascha Sadr Haghighian and Sean Snyder. As the title suggests, the aim to go beyond an analysis of design in narrowly semiotic terms. 

A related text is ‘Secrets of the See-Through Factory: Interventions in Opaque Transparency’ in the new issue of Open, no. 22 (the next-to-last issue of Open in its current form). Like the design essay, this text examines a number of art projects for their insight in and contribution to a different aesthetic/economic praxis of material things. In response to WikiLeaks, ‘Open 22 examines transparency as an ideology, the ideal of the free flow of information versus the fight over access to information and the intrinsic connection between publicity and secrecy’. In my text, I focus on the structure of the modern work of art as a means of gaining insight into the dialectics of opacity and transparency. Works by Haacke (again), Snyder (again) as well Zachary Formwalt and Agency/Kobe Matthys are discussed in this text—plus Volkswagen's ‘transparent factory’ and Gulf Labor's Guggenheim Boycott.
Both assignments allowed me to continue my work still rather embryonic project on objecthood and thingness, which I hope to intensify once the History in Motion book is out of the way. With the intellectual and artistic suicide of the Netherlands in full swing, it will be a bumpy ride.”

Redefining Design in 1970s Belgium

Gimeno Martínez, Javier, 'Redefining Social Design in 1970s Belgium: Affordable Design vs. Elite Design ', Interiors: Design, Architecture and Culture, 2 (2011) 2, pp. 149-167. (more)

The 1960s was the decade when democratization became a central issue in social affairs and politics, a trend that had a twofold effect on furniture design. A renewed interest in design creativity led to the emergence of new forms and typologies, and of a new, more dynamic relationship between user, furniture, and the domestic interior. On the other hand, the effort to provide universal access to design inspired the demand for affordability. However, only rarely could creativity and affordability be combined. Creative, unconventional design was often expensive, while affordable design was frequently unadventurous. This tension implies that the democratization of design in this decade was inherently contradictory. This article examines the factors that led to the redefinition of social (or “democratic“) design in early 1970s Belgium.

Unraveling Materiality

Ozorio de Almeida Meroz, Joana, ‘Unraveling Materiality: Das kritische Design von EventArchitectuur im Zeitalter der konvergierenden Architektur’ (Unravelling Materiality: the Critical Design of EventArchitectuur in the Age of Convergence Culture), Banz, Claudia (ed.), Kunstforum International: Special edition on Social Design, 27 (2011), pp. 94-103. (more)

Lessen in Goed Wonen

Floré, Fredie, Lessen in goed wonen: woonvoorlichting in België 1945-1958, Leuven (Leuven University Press) 2010.

Lessen in goed wonen werpt een licht op een bijzondere vorm van woonadvies, eigen aan de naoorlogse periode in België. Het boek introduceert de lezer in een breed debat over zogenaamd ‘goed' of ‘beter' wonen. Heel wat gesprekspartners waren bij dit debat betrokken: overheidsinstellingen, architecten, designers, beroepsorganisaties, socioculturele verenigingen, producenten en bouwmaatschappijen. Talrijke tentoonstellingen, boeken, artikels, lezingen en lessenreeksen waren bedoeld om de bezoeker, lezer of toeschouwer te informeren en ‘op te voeden' inzake wooncultuur. Het naoorlogse debat over ‘goed wonen' was geworteld in het interbellum, maar kende een uitgesproken nieuwe dynamiek onder invloed van de politieke en maatschappelijke evoluties, de woningnood, de industrialisatie en de vernieuwingen in de bouwsector, het meubelbedrijf en de huishoudtechnologie. Het boek bespreekt de inhoud van de vernieuwde educatieve vertogen en in het bijzonder de hieraan gekoppelde ruimtelijke modellen voor de woning. Het laat ook zien hoe de woonvoorlichting omstreeks 1958 - het jaar van de wereldtentoonstelling in Brussel - onder toenemende druk kwam te staan.

Design and Craft

Gimeno Martínez, Javier and Fredie Floré (eds.), Design and Craft: aHistory of Convergences and Divergences, 7th Conference of the International Committee of Design History and Design Studies, 20-22 September 2010, Brussels, Vlaamse Koninklijke Academie van België voor Wetenschappen en Kunsten, 2010.

The conferences of the International Committee of Design History and Design Studies (ICDHS) aim to assess the current state of affairs of design history and design studies. The seventh ICDHS conference, “Design and Craft: A History of Convergences and Divergences,” brings the relation between design and craft to the fore. This theme offers an excellent opportunity to gather new design historical and theoretical research from over the world in a focused discussion on regional specificities as well as the impact of global processes of industrialisation. If, until now, design history has been largely dominated by the Western narratives of industrialization, then moving the focus towards non-industrial design practice might bring non-Western scholars to the forefront. Moreover, previously marginalized design histories in industrialized countries can finally get a voice.

Industrial Design in the Museum

Gimeno Martínez, Javier, ‘Industrial Design in the Museum: the Case of the FN Milking Machine (ca. 1947)’, The Burlington Magazine (Burlington Magazine Foundation), 1290, September (2010), pp. 603-608. (more)

The Formative Years of Droog Design

Rijk, Timo de, ‘So-Called Craft. The Formative Years of Droog Design, 1992-1998’, The Journal of Modern Craft, 3 (2010) 2, pp. 161-178. (more)

Within just a few years of its inception, the Dutch design group Droog Design rose to worldwide renown. The group's key constants were not its members, but rather the creators behind the Droog Design label: art historian Renny Ramakers and designer Gijs Bakker. Together they were responsible for not only the planning and organization of projects and the thematic content of presentations, but also for defining the significance of Droog. From the very outset, that significance was propounded in books, articles, lectures, and media presentations. This promotional material has generally been accepted at face value by the trade and popular presses and design industry. In many cases it was not until later that the designers' true aims were revealed in the individual work of participants. And yet the intentions driving Droog Design during its formative initial years have remained obscure. This article sheds light on the real significance of these first years, and compares this to the official reading given by Droog Design itself. The conclusion interprets the place of craft in Droog Design's work, within this new perspective on their ambitions.

Intermedialities: Theory, History, Practice

Verstraete, Ginette, Ivo L. Blom and Jürgen E. Müller, Intermedialities: Theory, History, Practice. Proceedings of the European Science Foundation Exploratory Workshop (SCH), Cluj-Napoca, Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania, 2010. (more)

The articles published in this volume are the direct results of an expert meeting on Intermedialities: Theory, History, Practice that Ivo Blom, in collaboration with Ginette Verstraete, organized with the financial support of the European Science Foundation (The Standing Committee for the Humanities) in Amsterdam in June 2009. The workshop involved academics with a wide range of nationalities, disciplines, experiences, and ambitions. Together they provided a European platform for exploring ways of dealing with the current intermedial situation in the arts and media. During the presentations and discussions we explored the concepts and practices of intermedia and intermediality and related terms (multimedia, convergence, intertextuality) in different national, disciplinary and historical contexts. In addition to conceptualization, we looked at three other important categories: intermediality in historical research, intermediality in curatorship and intermediality in assessment and funding institutions. The central questions posed to the participants were: how do we understand the convergence between arts and media, how do we curate it, and how do we fund it?

The Signe d’Or Award Scheme from 1956 to 1960

Gimeno Martínez, Javier, 'The Signe d'Or Award Scheme from 1956 to 1960: the Economic Reasons for “Good Design” ', Konsthistorisk tidskrift/Journal of Art History, 79 (2010) 3, pp. 127-145. (more)

Dutch Design Yearbook 2010

Rijk, Timo de et al. (eds.), Dutch Design Yearbook 2010, Rotterdam, NAi Publishers, 2010.

The Dutch Design Yearbook is the authoritative survey of the best of Dutch spatial design, product design, fashion, and graphic design in 2009-2010.
Dutch design has rocked the world, with sensational and innovative work by designers in the Netherlands. The editors of the Dutch Design Yearbook, Timo de Rijk, Antoine Achten, Vincent van Baar, and Bert van Meggelen, are pleased to present this year's survey of the latest developments. The yearbook presents the 50 top designs that came out of the Netherlands in 2009-2010, covering the fields of spatial design, product design, fashion, and graphic design. Featured designers include Maarten Baas, Aldo Bakker, G-Star, Joost Grootens, Hans van Heeswijk, John Körmeling, Rem D. Koolhaas, Lernert & Sander, MVRDV, Piet Parra, Letman & Sprey, Studio Dumbar, Merkx+Girod, Studio Job, Bertjan Pot, Scholten & Baijings, Koen van Velsen, Jeroen Vinken, and West 8.
Three leading international critics – Glenn Adamson, Aaron Betsky, and Rick Poynor – have contributed essays presenting their views on the current state and characteristics of Dutch design. A supplementary selection of a few dozen major events, publications, and exhibitions in the field rounds out the discussion of design in this period. This bilingual publication will appeal to a broad range of individuals with an interest in Dutch design.

Norm=Form: on Standardisation and Design

Rijk, Timo de, Norm=Form: on Standardisation and Design, Deventer, Thieme Art, 2010.

It seems as if all the choices in our lives are individual, and yet the majority of products that surround us are standardised. This is actually not a bad thing, as a multitude of collective agreements ensure that nuts fit bolts, dishwashers fit kitchens and digital tunes can be despatched to the other side of the planet. Many such advantages have inspired famous designers such as Dieter Rams and Piet Zwart, as well as manufacturers including Braun and Thonet, and schools such as Bauhaus, to devote their efforts to standardisation, applying it to design beautiful, good and inexpensive products. 'Norm = Form' sheds light on the sometimes hidden agendas that are employed to implement product normalisation and standardisation. Communist administrators, uncompromising feminists and conventional housewives embrace notions of standardisation in order to fulfil their social ideals. Now that efficiency has become natural, the uniformity and limitations of rationality also receive criticism from artists and designers such as Joep van Lieshout and David Cerny. Ultimately, 'Norm = Form' examines what the standardisation of products means in today's world. This book deals with a wide spectrum of historical and contemporary subjects: the standardisation of tools, the food processing industry as an example, the development of ready-made clothing and the sizing system, Taylorism in the American household, the inception of professional ergonomics, the introduction of colour systems, the standardisation of sound and vision carriers, and the acceptance of an array of 'classics', from pens to boats and cars to watches.

The Apocalypse of Juan Ricci de Guevara

Beek, Martijn van, ‘The apocalypse of Juan Ricci de Guevara. Literary and iconographical artistry as mystico-theological argument for Mary’s Immaculate Conception in Immaculatae Conceptionis Conclusio (1663)’, Anuario del Departamento de Historia y Teoría del Arte, 22 (2010), Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, pp. 209-224. (more)

In 1663, the Spanish Benedictine monastic and artist Juan Ricci de Guevara (1600-1681) submitted theological proof of Mary's Immaculate Conception to Pope Alexander VII. This essay discusses the content and context of that manuscript. Through the knowledge and use of several religious traditions in which images were the key to the highest spiritual truths, Ricci demonstrates a mystical kind of theology. He demonstrates special attention for prophecies and visions, such as the prophecy of Malachy and the Apocalypse. Ricci applies these sources both literary and visually, in order to stress Alexander's divine, predestined role as defender of the mystery of Mary's lmmaculacy. Although relying on several theological traditions, Ricci's specific theology brought him exceptionally close to the limits of what was iconographically and literary acceptable. This essay discusses how his artistry reflected a theological and political debate.

Blinde vlek in de historiek van het Design museum Gent

Floré, Fredie, ‘Blinde vlek in de historiek van het Design museum Gent’, De Witte Raaf (2010) 148, p. 13.

In het boek Design museum Gent. Historiek en collecties uit 2007 laat museumdirecteur Lieven Daenens ons kennismaken met de geschiedenis van zijn instituut en de opbouw van de permanente collecties. Van Musée des Arts Décoratifs naar Design museum Gent, de belangrijkste tekst in het boek, bestrijkt de periode vanaf 1903 – het oprichtingsjaar van het museum – tot vandaag. Daarnaast bevat het boek een reeks korte, chronologisch gerangschikte en rijk geïllustreerde hoofdstukjes waarin doorgaans een stijlperiode (‘gotiek’, ‘renaissance en barok’, ‘art deco’…) of het werk van een specifieke ontwerper (‘art nouveau: Henry van de Velde’, ‘het Eames-fenomeen’…) wordt belicht.

Voor wie vertrouwd is met het Gentse Design museum, bevat de publicatie uit 2007 weinig nieuws. Meer zelfs, de inhoud van het boek is een nauwelijks geactualiseerde versie van het themanummer over het Gentse museum van Openbaar Kunstbezit in Vlaanderen uit 1993. De inleidende tekst uit 2007 is, op de laatste paragraaf en enkele beperkte redactionele aanpassingen na, een letterlijke heruitgave van het artikel Uit het goede hout gesneden waarmee Lieven Daenens het themanummer veertien jaar geleden opende. Verschillende hoofdstukjes uit de museumcatalogus zijn dan weer een trouwe of een licht herwerkte kopie van rubriekjes uit de tekst De museumcollecties in datzelfde nummer van Openbaar Kunstbezit in Vlaanderen.

Dat een tekst over de geschiedenis van een museum en zijn collecties in veertien jaar tijd nauwelijks wordt aangepast, suggereert in het beste geval een gestaag, consequent of stabiel museumbeleid zonder ingrijpende veranderingen. Maar is dit wel zo? En waarom vernemen we in de catalogus zo weinig over de beleidsperiode van de jaren 1960 en ’70? (more)

Illustration credits:
Cover of the book Daenens, Lieven, Design museum Gent: History and Collections. Historiek en collecties, Oostkamp (Stichting Kunstboek) 2007.

Media Globalization and Post-Socialist Identities 

Imre, Anikó and Ginette Verstraete, ‘Media globalization and post-socialist identities’, European Journal of Cultural Studies 12 (May 2009), pp. 131-135. (more)

In the last twenty years, processes of media globalization have accelerated due to an increasing concentration of ownership, a convergence of media platforms, and the growing availability of the internet and other digital media and communication technologies to consumers. In post-socialist Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, such processes coincided with equally dramatic political, economic and social transformations: a transition to multi-party political systems, a large-scale re-entry into the global capitalist economy, a selective and staggered accession to the European Union; a subsequent flow of westward migration by legal as well as illegal laborers, and an eastward flow of consumer goods bringing new pleasures and disappointments. Audiovisual media have become privileged memory machines to recover and preserve an era that is being forgotten and remembered with the same zeal. They also function as identity machines of a new era, themselves caught up in and contributing to rapid technological, industrial and socio-psychological transformation.

This special issue assesses some of these mediated transformations through paradigmatic case studies that examine post-socialist identities and the globalization of the media in their interconnections.

Dutch Design Yearbook 2009

Rijk, Timo de et al. (eds.), Dutch Design Yearbook 2009, Rotterdam, NAi Publishers, 2009. (more)

This first Dutch Design Yearbook presents a survey of more than 60 of the best designs in the field of spatial design, product design, fashion and graphic design that were produced in 2008-2009 in the Netherlands. A selection of important events, publications and exhibitions in the field adds colour to the design year and content to the design debate during this period. ‘Dutch Design’ – whether design pur sang, fashion design, graphic design or architecture – has over recent years been winning acclaim the world over. Besides being of interest to designers, studios and the industry, this publication is also highly accessible to a broad inter¬national readership with an interest in Dutch design.
With designs by, among others, Maarten Baas, Irma Boom, Pieke Bergmans, Doepel Strijkers Architects, HUNK-design & ID-Eddy, Iris van Herpen, Juurlink [+] Geluk, Bureau Ira Koers, Klavers van Engelen, Ted Noten, Momkai, Observatorium, Thonik, Daan Roosegaarde, Ingrid Siliakus, Wieki Somers, Studio Libertiny, Rieks Swarte, UNStudio, Richard Vijgen, Thomas Kopperschlaeger, Marcel Wanders and West 8.

José Juan Belda. Objectes i Espais

Gimeno-Martínez, Javier, José Belda: Objetos y Espacios, Castellón de la Plana, Universitat Jaume I (Spain), 2009.

In the oeuvre of designer Belda we can discern both elements of continuity and of change. The fact that he worked both on design and interior architecture simultaneously has allowed for a crossover of influences between the two domains in his work. If at times his furniture has functioned as elements of interior architecture, the influence of design thinking is also clearly discernible in his interior spaces. The book is lavishly illustrated with colour photographs that reveal the different facets, multiple influences and conceptual evolution of Belda’s design oeuvre.

Tracking Europe

Verstraete, Ginette, Tracking Europe. Mobility, Diaspora, and the Politics of Location, Duke University Press, Durham, N.C, 2009. (more

Tracking Europe is a bold interdisciplinary critique of claims regarding the free movement of goods, people, services, and capital throughout Europe. Ginette Verstraete interrogates European discourses on unlimited movement for everyone and a utopian unity-in-diversity in light of contemporary social practices, cultural theories, historical texts, media representations, and critical art projects. Arguing against the persistent myth of borderless travel, Verstraete shows the discourses on Europe to be caught in an irresolvable contradiction on a conceptual level and in deeply unsettling asymmetries on a performative level. She asks why the age-old notion of Europe as a borderless space of mobility goes hand-in-hand with the at times violent containment and displacement of people.

Designers in Nederland

Rijk, Timo de, Designers in Nederland: een eeuw productvormgeving, Amsterdam/Gent, Ludion, 2003.
Designers in Nederland is an overview of Dutch designers, design studios, and design companies since the second half of the 19th century - ever since they started coupling their name to industrial production. Today Jurgen Bey, Richard Hutten, Hella Jongerius and Marcel Wanders made Dutch Design an internationally acknowledged term internationally.
This book presents 300 designers in alphabetical order along with their best, most famous or most surprising design. Each biography is written by reputable authors with museum, university or journalistic background.
Designers in Nederland is a richly illustrated reference book.

Jaarboek Nederlandse Vormgeving 05

Rijk, Timo de and A. Krol, Jaarboek Nederlandse Vormgeving 05, Rotterdam, Episode Publishers, 2005.

Het Jaarboek Nederlandse Vormgeving 05 presenteert wederom een goed gedocumenteerd en geïllustreerd overzicht van alle belangrijke en meest opvallende projecten op het gebied van productdesign, mode, architectuur en grafische vormgeving in Nederland. De formule van het jaarboek is uniek. Hoewel producten en ontwerpers uitgebreid aan bod komen, staan met name tentoonstellingen, presentaties, beurzen, prijzen en publicaties centraal.

Hoogtepunten van het afgelopen jaar zijn de presentaties van Maarten Baas en Tord Boontje bij Moss in New York, het Ideal House van Hella Jongerius op de Meubelbeurs in Keulen, de aanstelling van een Nederlander als hoofd van de BMW designafdeling en een Design-Oscar voor een verkeerslicht.

In drie essays wordt aandacht besteed aan actuele ontwikkelingen die de Nederlandse vormgeving beïnvloeden. Het Jaarboek Nederlandse Vormgeving 05 bevat een onafhankelijke selectie van tachtig projecten die met de meer dan 250 foto's illustreert Why Dutch Desgin Is so Good.

Eduardo Albors

Gimeno-Martinez, Javier, Eduardo Albors. Diseño de Producto, Castellón de la Plana, Universitat Jaume I (Spain), 2005.
This book, part of the collection "Dissenyadors Valencians" (Designers from Valencia), is dedicated to the creative and professional trajectory of Eduardo Albros. His lighting and furniture designs in fact figures in every industrial catalogue of the sector.

The World According to Concrete

Rijk, Timo de, The World According to ConcreteRotterdam, NAi Publishers, 2007. (more)

In addition to a detailed overview of the firm's most important projects, The World According to Concrete provides insight into the vision, the working method, the commitment and the sources of inspiration upon which the various projects are based. The thinking behind Concrete's work is discussed and put in perspective by authors from diverse disciplines. They highlight various aspects of Concrete's work, such as designing for commercial spaces and nightlife venues, the experience and emotional aspects of commercial environments, branding and the leading role interior design is now playing in the development of plans and the debate within architecture.
Motivations and sources of inspiration are portrayed by established and up-and-coming artists and photographers, including Erwin Olaf, Joachim Baan, Mr Pen, Fritz Kok, Marc Räder, Damien Hirst, Tom Sachs and Wim Schermer.
In imitation of Concrete's discipline-transcending outlook, the publication also strives to function as a medium that transcends disciplines. On the one hand it is a traditional book, yet at the same time the book is conceived like a magazine, in which flashes and fragments and moments of inspiration are given a place. To achieve this, Concrete challenged two unconventional design firms - Thonik and ...,staat - to produce this as a joint effort. This collaboration has resulted in a unique publication, in which the designers have designed a book within a book, the same way Concrete designs a space within a space.
Concrete is one of the most innovative agencies of the moment and has acquired worldwide fame for its startling interior designs for the nightclub/restaurant Supperclub (Amsterdam, Cruise, Rome, San Francisco, Bodrum, Istanbul), the De Lairesse pharmacy (Amsterdam), most recently the restaurants and shops of the Mercedes Benz Museum (Stuttgart) and the bank shops for Hyundai in Seoul, among others.
The result is a stimulating work of reference, a book that opens eyes, extends beyond familiar disciplinary boundaries and thus primarily provides food for thought rather than answers.

Pioneers and Barbarians

Rijk, Timo de, ‘Pioneers and Barbarians. The Design and Marketing of Electrical Household Goods as Dutch Americana, 1930-45’Journal of Design History, 22 (2009) 2, pp. 115-132. (more)

In the Netherlands, interest in the USA as a historical cultural phenomenon and as a source of examples of product design in particular has been very slight. Dutch publications on the importance of American design and the ideas and professional practice of designers in the world's largest industrial nation of the twentieth century are a fraction of those on European modernist design culture.2 As a result, most overviews of the history of design in the Netherlands contain no mention whatsoever of the substantial American influence on Dutch industrial design during the period of this study.

This article examines the importance of commercial American design for the Dutch design world during this period. It does so largely by reference to the design of technologically innovative domestic products, in particular electrical household products. The USA was able to build up and export a part of its own cultural identity with these new kinds of goods at the beginning of the twentieth century. This article takes as its case study the design of the products made during the interwar years by Erres, which was from 1930 until 1945 the Netherlands’ largest manufacturer of electrical household goods. Finally, this article analyses the reasons why Dutch design histories have been only superficially interested in Dutch Americana.