Design Academy Eindhoven and the Van Abbemuseum held a ground breaking design-research exhibition on waste for Dutch Design Week.   Here we find out more about this important exhibition and focus on A Waste of Energy? by designer Fred Erik.

GEO—DESIGN: Junk. All That Is Solid Melts into Trash

From satellite graveyards to dead stock via the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, GEO—DESIGN: Junk. All That Is Solid Melts into Trash explores global systems of discarded things. This exhibition, produced in collaboration with the Van Abbemuseum, showcases eighteen thought-provoking projects by Design Academy Eindhoven alumni.

Opened on Saturday 19 October 2019, the exhibition took place at ten locations across the city of Eindhoven. Nine projects showned in the Van Abbemuseum (until 17 November 2019) and, with the support of BIZ Eindhoven, nine projects showned during Dutch Design Week at various locations in the city centre – Rambam, HEMA, ING Bank, De Bijenkorf, Sissy-Boy, Hutspot, Vielgut, Deense Kroon and TigerLily.

“As the inevitable product of consumer culture, junk presents us with a complex system of things. Designers are a part of this system, so we have an urgent responsibility to observe it and grasp how it works,” said Martina Muzi, curator of the exhibition.

“With different design studios working around the same topic, the exhibition will become a new network of research-based spaces for the exploration of contemporary crises and scenarios, from the environment to capitalism, neo-colonialism and geo-politics.”

From landfills to new ecosystems.  Featuring strikingly different approaches to design and research, the exhibition traverses landfills and dumps, uncovers the ghosts of dead digital communities and discovers new ecosystems and economies built on detritus. It looks at junk as a microcosm, as an economic barometer that can reveal realities of consumption and production, and as a subject of intercontinental diplomacy. Each project responds to a specific news story, using it as a starting point to delve into a wide variety of issues around the production and exchange of junk.

A Waste of Energy?

Fred Erik, A Waste of Energy, photo Igor Vermeer

Deadstock – the leftover garments that fashion brands fail to sell – is a growing problem. Fred Erik explores one alleged solution in Västerås, a city north-west of Stockholm, where deadstock from a major fashion company is burnt to generate power.

Fred Erik, A Waste of Energy, photo Igor Vermeer

Global warming is often blamed for the increasing volume of clothing waste, with changing weather making it difficult to predict what people will buy. Burning unsold clothes is a common solution, with waste-to-energy power plants being touted as creating “clean energy”.

Fred Erik, A Waste of Energy, photo Igor Vermeer

In A Waste of Energy? Fred Erik presents the lifespan of a piece of clothing, from raw material to deadstock, amplifying the absurdity of this contemporary phenomenon where products that consume masses of energy in production are destroyed under the banner of sustainability.

Next week we will publish our Dutch Design Week Trend Report.


About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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