After the last press conference in which the new corona measures were announced, about which a great deal could be said, just about everything we were doing completely fell apart. It was already known that the DDW was not taking place physically, but now the restaurant also had to close its doors. The former was actually the biggest disaster, but if it had gone ahead with the restrictions in place, it would not have been a real success. So, perhaps it was not such a disaster after all.
The closure of the restaurant is so sad because this second closure and the seeming naturalness of the decision to resort to closure and the uncertainty it entails, make it impossible to carry on. So, we need to think about how we can continue. The only rational reaction would be to stop completely and have all employees of the restaurant look for new work. But luckily, people aren’t rational and despite the misery, we are trying to adapt.
Most of the participants who were planning to use our exhibition space, with the exception of a few, cancelled and the space where we had planned for the new wonder room was going to be was empty. I immediately started thinking about emphasising the plan we already had, namely, to leave our own presentations in place at least until the end of the year, by inviting other designers to exhibit in our space. They were all enthusiastic and have all joined in. Together with Lex Pott, Aart van Asseldonk, Paul Coenen, Tim Teven, Rino Claessens, Maarten Baas, Floris Wubben, Floris Hovers and the die hards Cengiz Hartmann, BEEM and the design duo of Studio Aeneae, we have created an exhibition that presents, as was hoped, more design than in previous years. Perhaps it is even an improvement. And, last but not least, it will be on show for much longer!
What is true for us, is also true for other designers and studios in the city. Almost immediately after the press conference, Joost van Bleiswijk of Studio Kiki en Joost sent me a message that we should all present our work in our own studios, but then limited to a few times and only accessible upon invitation. This is actually exactly how the Dutch Design Week started over 25 years ago. Quite a large group of designers, soon got together and agreed that, as ‘designing’ is just like top sport nowadays, we should call it ‘Design Open’ (‘open’ also referred to the fact that the doors were opened). We and the Kazerne are open for the normal opening hours (10:00-18:00) and the other designers in Eindhoven are open during the planned DDW, but also in a few weekends in November and December.
It is really quite special that there is so much resilience! All in all, you could say that we have gone back to our roots and that we might have found a way of getting in touch with the public and our customers instead of the massive DDW and the digital alternative. Almost like good old-fashioned ‘playing shop’!