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Cutting-Edge Dutch Design
Ever since Gerrit Rietveld produced his "Red and Blue Chair," the Dutch have been in the international limelight, famous for graphic design, fashion (clothing, jewelry, accessories), industrial design, interior design, furniture design, advertising, and architecture. Rietveld has been followed by the likes of Bruno Ninaber van Eyben (inventor of the pendant watch and the Dutch euro), Trude Hooykaas (architect), Viktor & Rolf (fashion), Jan Jansen (shoes), Ted Noten (jewelry), KesselsKramer (advertising), and Marcel Wanders (industrial designer best known for his Knitted Chair). These and other equally acclaimed designers have works displayed in commercial galleries and modern art museums alike. Since 45,000 Dutch designers produce more than 2.5 billion euros' worth of new stuff per year, you'd think somebody could tell you exactly what "Dutch Design" is. But it's too diverse to pin down, and ranges from modern, conceptual, kitsch, functional, sober, innovative, ironic, experimental, intelligent, and alternative to everything in between. A steady stream of new talent, graduating from one of the numerous national institutes dedicated to design, make Dutch Design a perennially hot topic that takes center stage no matter what time of year you visit. The Utrecht School for the Arts (HKU), Design Academy Eindhoven (dubbed the "School of Cool" by Time magazine), the Industrial Design department at TU Delft, and the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam are talent pools feeding into the trend mecca that the Netherlands has become.
The Frozen Fountain. The Frozen Fountain pools the Benelux's most edgy of designers in home goods, furniture, and jewelry. Prinsengracht 645, The Canal Ring, Amsterdam, 1016 HV. 020/622-9375. www.frozenfountain.nl.
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