Dutch contemporary design comes to St. Petersburg

The exhibition’s curator Miriam van der Lübbe: "Our hopes lie with the young designers who are our “Spring” – in a sense, they are our blossoming flower-buds". Source: PressPhoto

The exhibition’s curator Miriam van der Lübbe: "Our hopes lie with the young designers who are our “Spring” – in a sense, they are our blossoming flower-buds". Source: PressPhoto

A new exhibition of Dutch contemporary design has recently opened in St. Petersburg. The exhibition’s curator, Miriam van der Lübbe, talks about the prospects of modern design and shares her impressions of Russian North Capital.

A new exhibition, entitled “Spring: Excellence, Talent and Inspiration,” has opened within the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg, presenting the latest in Dutch contemporary design.

Taking place during St. Petersburg Design Week, the exhibition arrived in St. Petersburg directly from Milan, before which it was on display in Eindhoven.

Izvestia’s correspondent had a chance to meet the exhibition’s curator, Miriam van der Lübbe, whose work also appears in the exhibition.

Izvestia: You mentioned that you wanted to do something extraordinary for St. Petersburg?

Miriam van der Lübbe: Yes, because yours is a remarkable city – so I wanted to do something remarkable for it.

Dutch contemporary design comes to St. Petersburg

The exhibition “Spring: Excellence, Talent and Inspiration”. Source: PressPhoto

I picked out the top 15 names connected with the Design Academy in Eindhoven, who are also well-known all over the world.

This selection presents a very broad spectrum of design disciplines – running all the way from Max Barenbrug and his amazing, world-famous kids prams, to Corien Pompe, the Iron Lady who is currently the chief designer for Volvo.

So we cover every aspect of design going on in the Netherlands. These 15 designers chose two additional names: those who have influenced them, and those they’ve influenced themselves. 

Izvestia: Why did you call the exhibition “Spring”?

M.L.: Spring implies renewal, creative development and aesthetic freshness. This exhibition illustrates the continuity between generations.

Dutch contemporary design comes to St. Petersburg

The exhibition “Spring: Excellence, Talent and Inspiration”. Source: PressPhoto

Our hopes lie with the young designers who are our “Spring” – in a sense, they are our blossoming flower-buds.

Izvestia: Is it possible to say that this exhibition illustrates the complete range of Dutch design?

M.L.: Not completely: Dutch design is really an extremely broad field. Instead, the exhibition focuses on the importance of Eindhoven – the Mecca of the cutting-edge and creative in the Dutch design industry.

Izvestia: What fascinates you most in design right now?

M.L.: The fact that it’s become more social. There are huge seismic shifts running through the design world, and our perception of the designer’s role is changing.

Before, we used to place a lot of value on the designer’s name; but recently, by contrast, the object itself has come to the forefront and takes the credit for itself. People are giving more and more thought to the appearance things have – from everyday household décor items to heavy industry.

Izvestia: What sort of response do you expect from the Russian public?

M.L.: You know, each of the three exhibitions that I’ve set up has gone completely differently. In Eindhoven, the whole thing was more like a party. It felt just like home, because we spent the whole year flying all over the world and then finally met up where we felt at home.

In Milan, the show received international coverage. Here, in St. Petersburg, I really hope that people will want to find out more about a different design culture. I’d love to hear the feedback of Russian designers and get to chat to them.

Izvestia: Who did you study with?

M.L.: It all started at school – well, really, with my parents. They were the ones who instilled a feeling for design in me. Actually, I feel I’ve been studying all my life, and, even now, I continue to learn from my design clients, managers and producers – as well as from my own students.

I’m sure people in Russia have heard of Gijs Bakker, the great-grand-daddy of Dutch design, famous for his work with jewelry. After I left the Design Academy, he was my teacher. I remember we used to have prolonged informative discussions, from which I gained many professionally significant things.

Izvestia: Have you heard much about contemporary Russian design?

M.L.: Not much; although, recently I visited New Holland. It’s a really special culture-zone in St. Petersburg that’s pumping with youthful energy. There are heaps of creative people there, full of bright professional potential. It’s fertile soil for the development of Russian design.

The “Spring” exhibition is open until June 12th.

First published in Russian in Izvestia.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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