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Bugged out

Sunday, February 12, 2012

“Good design should be innovative

Good design should be useful

Good design is aesthetic

Good design is understandable

Good design is honest

Good design is unobtrusive

Good design is long lived

Good design is consistent in every detail

Good design is environmentally friendly and as little design a possible.”

Dieter Rams


I used these premises to give structure to my research about “New Energy in Design” because I think it defines what the attempts are behind designing and what more or less designers are trying to achieve in actuality. It is becoming harder to pinpoint what is design and what is not. When I say “ contemporary design” I mean all which design is surprisingly turning out to be : from sketches to little tryouts, researches that can surprisingly redefine your idea about design.

When you design you are not only making an object that could function in a situational context. It’s about giving meaning and making an identity for the object and the situation it will serve. Nevertheless, functionality plays a big role because initially as a designer you are trying to come up with a solution. A solution for a problem should always be on top of the head of a designer. But besides solving a problem there’s also a big amount of values being transmitted from the designers character to the end result. You project all the perks and peculiarities that was found in the making. You add important characteristics that will come to identify you, and the connections you made through the research.
Being a designer is really about having a set of creative paradigms and externalizing a generated map of routes that will lead you to a product, or to a stable outcome (for the time being).

At least that is what I gathered after visiting the Boijmans Museum.


I  bumped into works that are surprisingly “Design” because they still whirl in between design and something less concrete: ”design-ish” if I shall put it that way. A very perfect example of what I mean is Debug, a work by a design firm in Eindhoven called EdHv.
Edhv retrieved the idea of mapping a route when they first started on a design project for a restaurant menu. Remco who is the founder of EdHv decided to create the restaurants identity based on the routes they take while they operate in the kitchen. Which is a clever solution if you ask me. Because what are we but pattern seeking creatures. The remarkable work I bumped in is just a small model of a chair and could be categorized as an architectural piece, product or even an identity for the project which is still ongoing.



Debug gives us a new way of approaching space, a new angle, a new perspective but on a whole different dimension, insect proportions. It kicked off when The EdHv crew started monitoring/tracking the movement of different insects on a model cast for a poster. A poster model generating 300 posters and counting. Every one of them is unique. Some posters are made by woodlice, some of them by house crickets. Tracking software and scripting, maps the walking patterns of these little creatures. The complexity of movement leads to stunning results.

click on image to see "Debug : Art by insects" a video made by

After some trouble with the fact that they are leaving all the aesthetic decisions in the hands (antennas) of bugs in captivity. I started seeing the bigger picture for what it is. A fresh insight into how nature and our digital world could interact.


Analog meeting our Digital needs.

Not only it means that they are allowing us a new perspective in the intersection of analog and digital.

But they are identifying with space on a whole other scale, using another form of nature beside the human body to form part of a translation in tracing space.


And that’s where the beauty recites.

At last there’s an intersection with nature and our digitally generated world.


Most of the works are executed with only half control on the outcome.
Not only are they not in complete control of what the result will be but there is a minimal amount of input from the exterior towards influencing anything that should be a natural behavior from the insects.



It really comes down to the fact that in the example of Debug from EdHv: designers are becoming distant when it comes to molding, shaping a work that was once dependent on designers.



Designers are moving away from the tangible/material to the intangible.

Dealing rather with researching on various levels that could help us find a new way to dodge environmental problems that have tangled itself with design these past few years.

The elusive quality that we are confronting now in the Design world is what can classify it as sustainable, the minimal input of resources, clever ideas that can work without the need of wasteful assets is what we face behind these new developments within design.

And Debug is a perfect example.

Sustainability being one of the problems; misused resources that could be saved for a better and sharper approach in design. Is leading designers and design firms to think about materials/resources on a microscopic scale, dealing with ideas on a minimally wasteful method and developing a new intellectual approach in having an outcome



Sustainability  is the main concern in our secular world currently.

Designers are being influenced by the aftermath of consumerism: which is the amount of waste that can never be retrieved after been tossed away.

It’s a problem that is chased with care.

Using techniques and over viewing the equivalent of your brand or product as a designer with the sustainable assets it contains is what essentially we see designers are focusing on.


EdHv deals with the idea behind design almost on a lucid level.

They believe that a flexible platform is needed in order to operate and reinvent in the face of all the challenges Design is presenting.

Their approach surely could serve as an inspiration for dealing with identity and the challenges within design.

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