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Hands On Design

Hands on Design

The 8th Design Triennial

Hands on Design showcases design, developed and made by drawing on the innovative power of crafts thought. Interested in the chemistry between designer/maker and companies? Discover it this autumn at Design Museum Gent.

10 P Rug Indigofera 1 Ôê Å Filip Dujardin

Hands on Design focuses on high-quality craftsmanship, displaying it in over 70 contemporary objects. This high-quality craftsmanship is present in all objects, but it is often invisible. According to Glenn Adamson, author of Craft Thinking, this is because we still see crafts in a supporting role, despite the fact that no added value is possible without craftsmanship. In Hands on Design, curator Johan Valcke is making that supporting element, that invisible facet, visible.

That invisible facet is the prior process, from sketch to computer model to prototype and finally to the end product. At just about all stages of this process the human hand is present, from the most modest basic handiwork to master craftsmanship. And that craftsmanship manifests itself not only in the design process, in the knowledge of craft techniques, but also and to the same extent in the control of the machines with which ultimately many products are made. In many cases this is knowledge that is not to be found in books; instead it is the result of a learning process, generated through the use of materials and tools. Sociologist Richard Sennett calls it “embodied knowledge”, which lies in the intuitive cooperation of body and soul. It manifests itself in craftsmanship, in the production of everyday utensils, but is at its best when it pushes boundaries, pressed on by materials, tools and machines. At that stage, the creativity of designer and entrepreneur reaches a high point.

Hands on Design puts the focus on functional objects, and one striking feature here is the return to objects made from natural materials such as stone, wood, glass, leather, ceramics, bronze, etc., using old traditional techniques and new technologies alike. Both approaches are applied without distinction to arrive at a product that is not only an innovative designer product, but also an economically viable one. It is even the case that new technologies are making the concept of craft production possible once again.

The exhibition consists of a contemporary part, composed of works by designers who work independently, designers who work for companies, start-up design studios, seven Fuse projects of designers and companies under the auspices of Fedustria, and the projects from the collection and the exhibition Belgian Matters. Among other things you will discover new or recent work by the following designers and companies: Alessi, Philippe Allaeys, Ambiorix, Casimir, Maarten De Ceulaer, Frederik Delbaert, Durlet, Linde Hermans, David Huycke, Labt, Lore Langendries, Muller Van Severen, Samsonite, Stefan Schöning, Serax, slld, Ben Storms, Studio Job, Theo, Thonet, Unfold, Verilin, Vincent Sheppard, Cathérine Willems, along with many others in a scenography of Maison Caro. Then there is a historical part featuring items from the Design Museum Gent collection that are not often seen. 

As well as the exhibition at Design Museum Gent, in the framework of Hands on Design a great many other activities are being organised together with initiative-taker Design Flanders and partners Design Museum Gent, Fedustria and UNIZO.

Fedustria is steering and stimulating the Fuse project, in which a minimum of seven trios of makers, designers and companies or duos (the two creatives can converge) cooperate to bring new products to market by the end of 2016. These products are being shown for the first time at the exhibition.

5 P Maarten de Ceulaer Sundial Chandelier by Teri Romkey 2 of 1

International Hands on Design Conference

40 P Muller Van Severen Chair2 messing roze f2

Design Flanders and Design Museum Gent are organising the international Hands on Design conference on 18 November 2016 with Catherine Willems, CEO Future Footwear and Dr. of Arts, Louise Allen, director Innovation & Development at the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, Glenn Adamson, curator and specialist in design, craft and contemporary art and former director of the Museum of Arts and Design in New York and Alberto Alessi, CEO of the Alessi Company. The conference takes place at the Marriott Hotel Ghent and starts at 3 pm.

UNIZO has organised several Open Ateliers for makers. They are adding extra vigour to the opening weekend of the exhibition with Maker City Ghent on 19 and 20 November 2016.

The Hands on Design exhibition has its own bilingual book (Dutch/English).

Visiting information

Hands on Design 
19.11.2016 – 5.03.2017
Admission: € 10 | € 8 | € 6 | € 2 | € 0

Open on weekdays from 9:30 until 17:30
Open on weekends, on public holidays and during school holidays from 10:00 until 18:00
Closed on Wednesday

Further press information and or visuals (not for publication)

Sandra Plasschaert
Cats Communication
Press & PR

+32 479 35 10 39

Bernadette De Loose
Design Museum Gent

Education & communication

+32 9 267 99 99