From digital reality to physical relevance

This year, Dutch Design Week presents 8 design trends that mark the most important developments in the field of design. The third trend focuses on digital design.
A layered reality

In recent years, digital design has received an increasing degree of attention during Dutch Design Week. With the arrival of data science and the rapid succession of developments in the field of digitalisation, the impact that designers can have is all the more tangible. Projects with self-driving cars, fluid 4D graffiti and visualisations of brain waves, are just a small selection from the digital designs by the participants this year. This discipline is highlighted especially in the exhibition Forward/, to be found in the Klokgebouw. A range of agencies, brands and young talents show how they stretch the boundaries of the digital and physical world with their interactive solutions. On 26 October, Forward/ talks will take place. Here you can learn about the new visions within the domain of digital design and its future.

Analogue versus digital

Both AUJIK and Studio Moniker present the synergy between digital and analogue.  AUJIK’s work commissioned by STRP is an installation that shows the dynamics of fluid graffiti. Through moving your smartphone over the installation you can discover a new reality. This virtual layer contains inspiration from neuro sciences, robotics and architecture. The result is a highly imaginative and futuristic world that merges with the architecture of Strijp-S. Studio Moniker appeals to visitors to generate a collective installation with the project Painted Earth. Through using the website painted.earth, the visitor can contribute to the work with their mobile phone. Open the website and you can immediately get to work. The speed of your movement is transformed into several graphical images. Once you have finished drawing, the application adds yours to those by other participants made in the same location. 

The project Scribble by fresh TU/e graduate, Felix Ros, invites you to draw too. This time with an entirely different goal in mind. Through a haptic interface the visitor can draw a route through traffic. He wants to let people learn about the consequences of autonomous cars. Can these machines drive around roadworks or is there always someone needed to plot out the route?

Digital media agency Mediamonks transforms the digital world of websites and apps into a physical activity. The Loading Time Machine, a project in collaboration with Google, is an application linked to a home trainer with which you can load your own or a random website during DDW. How much energy does it require on the home trainer to load a content-rich website? The bigger the website applications, the more punishing the cycle is. The objective of this project is to raise awareness among CEOs about the consequences of application-heavy websites for the user.

Data science, bio-feedback and visualisation

With the project Weather Chart, Clever Franke demonstrates the relevance of combining data science and visualisation. The designers researched the connection between the weather and our behaviour. They concluded that the effect the weather has on people varies depending on the geographical location. For example, a rise in temperature in Los Angeles leads to more crime. In contrast, the number of criminal activities in Rotterdam drops during the summer months. Thomas Clever and Gert Franke collected 100 data sets with more than 445 million different data.  

Interactive artist Thijs Biersteker entered a collaboration with design legend David Carson for the project “Mind over Matter”. This project demonstrates the impact of a meditative state on our eco system. Through a live installation you can experience for yourself what it means to focus and maintain balance. You will also see the consequences if you are not able to do this. The participants’ brain waves are registered and transformed into visualisations.  As soon as participants lose their focus, we witness the harmonious digital images flip into explosions of waste, pollution and floods.   

What’s ahead?

Simulated Reality reveals digital design 3.0. During DDW, the visitor will be treated to a surreal reality. What if you could simulate a face-to-face conversation in which both parties receive the same sensory stimuli without having to leave the comfort of your living room? Through haptic feedback, artificial intelligence and a holographic simulation, it is as though the person you are talking to is sitting in your living room. Smell, environment and touch are all harmonised so that real and fake are impossible to distinguish from each other. You can experience this for yourself in Klokgebouw. In line with Simulated Reality, Digital Wednesday introduces the visitor to the very latest developments in the field of digital technology. On Wednesday 24 October, various speakers share tools with which designers can get to work. These tools can generate autonomous designs based on different parameters, such as material and production methods.

That the digital world is increasingly merging with the physical world is a fact. We have already witnessed this in many AR-projects in previous editions. Bert Hagendoorn, founder of Dutch Digital Design and curator of Forward/, confirms this: “This assembly doesn’t just call designers to work in a cross-disciplinary fashion, but also requires them to remember the context. Most especially in the exhibition Forward/ we zoom in on this digital domain and the far-reaching possibilities for communication, product experience and data science.”