Top Left – “Show The Beauty of Mechanics” by Paul Heijnen was a personal favourite. Paul designed a cabinet which leaves  hinges, locks, and sliding mechanisms highly visible and mounted on the outside of the cupboard. Superb.

Top Right – “Assembling a DIY Boat Together” by Bart Bekker. A DIY kit for a rowing boat, designed around the idea that assembling something together and then using it strengthens the bond between  people, i.e. parents and children. After it’s use, the boat can be easily disassembled and, once packed, will hardly take up any space.

Bottom – “Man and Animal can Share the Same Space” by Roel de Boer. Fascinated by the contrast that a mouse could be experienced as both a pet and a pest, Roel designed accommodation for mice that will reduce the distance between man and animal and blur the boundaries.

Top Left – “The Essence of City Collected” by Lucas Mullié. Lucas has observed the city of Dordrecht, regarding it as one big collection. Using six crates he demonstrates how you could improvise to your heart’s content with things that are readily available: fences, window frames, bricks, and beams to improvise and recreate.

Top Right – “Industrially Produced Locally Sourced Fabrics” by Jetske Visser. Textile industry is a serious pollutant to the environment due to the substantial water consumption, chemical dyes and worldwide transport. Jetske has studied new production methods creating industrially produced textiles using locally sourced materials.

Bottom -“A City for Mixed Bird Community” by Eveline Visser, who designed for a mixed bird community! Brilliant.

“When Imagination Becomes Real” stop motion video by Niels Hoebers. Niels also created a practical and mobile stage (top two images), designed especially for the world around stop motion animations. Its mobility and practicality make this work set highly convenient for giving workshops and training sessions on location.

Top Left – “A Wind Powered Anti Landmine Ball” by Massoud Hassani. During his childhood in Afghanistan, Massoud would make miniature models to be blown by the wind. Sometimes they would end up in a minefield, where he could not retrieve them. Now Massoud’s wind-powered creations are designed specifically for minefields. Like a giant clump of dandelion seeds, his Mine Kafon will roll about, detonating any mines in its path. “There are 30 million land mines in Afghanistan and 26 million people, so that’s more mines than people,” Massoud says. Each de-miner is to have a GPS tracking device linked to a website showing which areas have been cleared. INCREDIBLE!

Top Right – “Architectural Acoustic Panels” by Niek Pulles.

Bottom – “A Simple Principle Makes a Magical Piece” by Yuya Ushida. Yuya was inspired by the geometrical structure of the Dutch power pylons to design XXXX. Fascinated with the beauty of their simplicity and their repetition, he has built a bench out of crossed bamboo sticks.

“The Music of the City” by Akko Goldenbeld. Akko created a scale model of Eindhoven and assigned it the role of sound recorder where the buildings create the score. Placed on a revolving wooden cylinder the buildings set little hammers in motion that play the keys of a piano, translating the urban developers’ three-dimensional reality into an aural experience.

I believe that this could be my last Milan post for the year. Fitting, as it is the last day of the month. A bit sad really, but it is time to move on. I would like to wrap up with my visit to a little exhibition I loved very much – ‘This Way’ showcasing young designers from Design Academy Eindhoven. Curated by Ilse Crawford, british designer and Head of Department for Man and Well-being at the Academy (and a personal design hero of mine), this event assembled a fine selection of Bachelor Degree and Masters projects, alongside selected alumni works.

Impressive selection of work on display ranged from houses for animals, biodegradable coffins for the stillborn (heavy stuff), repurposed tooling machinery, ode to tap water, emergency pop-up shelter etc, etc. It was fascinating to witness students’ conceptual reinterpretation of the world we live in and the issues that engage them. I walked away feeling optimistic about the future having seen such intelligent works with depth and maturity, dealing with issues around human behaviour, education and activism. You know, not just the pretty designy stuff.


Top Left – “The Wiki Truth” by Kyra van Ineveld was another favourite! In the past, the big fat encyclopaedia on the bookshelf was THE source of information. A short, explanatory text that held the unquestionable truth. Now, there is Wikipedia, where the truth is formed by 1000 opinions. She asked Wikipedians for the pages that had been changed most often. Printed on her own black-and-white printer, but bound to form a classic encyclopaedia, the top five of these pages form a series of impressive reference books. Bizarrely thick books, some measuring thirty centimeter; on Obama, the Catholic church, the war in Gazaglobal warming or ‘race and intelligence’. As you browse you can see the shifts and changes in the explanations: nothing is a fickle as the truth.

Top Right & Bottom Left – “Language as an Inspiration for Design” by Chin Pong (Michael) Leung and Hoi Nap (Rony) Chan.

Bottom Right – “New Ways to Embrace the Cycle of Life and Death” by Maurizio Montalti.

Top – “Products Can Fertilise Each-other” by Amba Molly. Amba designed a system of moulds based on human cell division. She started with four products that came from two worlds; the industrial and the traditional world. A plastic bottle merged with an oil jar and a Tupperware pitcher connected with a hand-turned earthenware water jug.

Bottom – “An Image of Dementia” by Jetske Visser. “What is a teapot when you no longer know what a teapot is? How does a person suffering from dementia experience his or her surroundings?” Jetske created a film ‘Forgotten Memory’ where the viewer is submerged in the world of dementia. By doing research and examining literature on the subject, and by spending time with elderly people suffering from the condition, she created an image of their hazy, fragile and precarious existence. As a metaphor for the condition she has transformed a series of everyday objects and taken pictures of people with dementia. The film demonstrates that things are not always what you would expect.

Top – ” A Toy to Stimulate Healthy Cognitive Development” by Makido Shinoda. To ensure a healthy cognitive development, our senses must be stimulated from an early age. But a modern childhood, spent increasingly behind the computer screen, may lead to sensory alienation. Material Teddy to the rescue. Each body part is made from a different, natural material to evoke contrasting sensations. One ear is heavy, the other is light. The head is made of porous leather so eager fingers can leave their mark over time, while the body is carved from camphor wood; smooth to the touch, with a pungent, medicinal smell. None of the materials are coated, so children can interact with the components in their purest form.

Unfortunately I cannot find any information/ notes on any of these pieces. Sorry guys. But I really loved these amazing textiles and giant world’s biggest tassels.

Top left – “Sheaves” by Steven Banken. Traditional crafts from the Biesbosch come to life with the seasons.  Reeds and willow twigs are cut in winter and bundled to be used as recreational benches in summertime.

Top Right + Bottom Image – Copper bikes by van heesch design by 1994 Design Academy graduate.

Lovely cafe space which was staffed by students. Top images shows “Biking and Cooking Combined” by Florike Martens. Being with friends and enjoying food outside on a beautiful summer’s day is Florike Martens’ ultimate leisure activity. Her Bicycle Stove meets the need for this ultimate indulgence and it also promotes a conscious attitude towards organic food. Attach the compact trailer to the back of your bicycle and load up on the great food you will find along the way: fresh eggs and organic meat from the farm, hand-picked herbs, bread from the mill. The crates at the bottom contain pans and tableware for eight and an insulated cool box with a water tap. Once you find the perfect spot for your picnic, open up the trailer, turn up the table top to the desired height, and set to work with the two calor gas cookers and the barbecue.

Bottom right – “Tea Cabinet” by Femke Roefs.  Femke believes that, instead of just a quick slurp from an old mug, drinking tea should once again become a relaxing ritual. In the great tea-drinking cultures of Japan and the Middle East, the beverage does more than just quench the thirst – it also fulfills an important social role. With this in mind, Roefs created a mobile bamboo tea trolley, complete with hand-crafted copper kettle and accompanying heat source, plus room for cups, saucers, sweets and all sorts of teas. In short, the trolley acts as a luxurious centrepiece to reinstill this age-old drink with a sense of occasion, transforming the mundane into an experience to be savoured. How wonderful.

More images of the cafe.


[All images © yellowtrace.]

About The Author

Dana Tomić Hughes
Founder & Editor

Dana is an award-winning interior designer living in Sydney, Australia. With an unhealthy passion for design, Dana commits to an abnormal amount of daily design research. Regular travel and attendance at premier design events, enables Dana to stay at the forefront of the design world globally. While she is super serious about design, Dana never takes herself - nor design - too seriously. Together with her life and business partner, Dana is Boss Lady at Studio Yellowtrace, specialising in Design Strategy, Creative Direction and Special Projects. The studio takes a highly conceptual and holistic approach to translating brands & ideas into places & experiences.

4 Responses

  1. Oliver @ Sabi Style

    They say all good things must come to an end… Thank you for sharing the amazing creative & design Milan adventure!

    I love so much in this post but strangely the two things that have made me think the most are the Teddy by Makido Shinoda and “Sheaves” by Steven Banken.

    For me – there is something so beautiful in the simplicty & honesty of both.

    Maybe its that I am surrounded by texture and form on a daily bases that the thought of the next generation becoming removed from it really frightens me. I think the Teddy works so well not just as a visual aid but because it involves smell and touch. I love that the leather head will mark and age with use… making it unique.

    The benches are brilliant. I imagine sitting on them a pleasure as they move and adjust to your weight. I love that that what is in way garden clippings from the prunning of the tree then carries over to the next season so you can sit back on them and enjoy the garden and the fruits of your labour in spring & summer.

  2. yellowtrace

    Oliver – thank you for your beautiful and ever-so-interesting comments. You have such a unique way of looking at things and breaking them down, relating to objects on such a personal level, and this amazing ability to find beauty in the less obvious. I love that.
    Thanks again.


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