Design and Fashion in the Museum
August 2012

Design Column #1 Micro Impact

This summer the museum launched the Design Column series: presentations with themes inspired by topical subjects. Curator Frija Klijn explains more about the Design Column concept and the underlying concept.

Design Column #1 Micro Impact, Photo: Lotte Stekelenburg
Design Column #1 Micro Impact, Photo: Lotte Stekelenburg

What is the concept behind the Design Column?
In everyday life we encounter designed products and design in many different forms. Changes are driven by the experiments of researchers, writers, artists and designers. They also consider the potential consequences of such changes. In ‘Micro Impact’, the first Design Column presentation, you can see Growth Assembly by Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg and Sascha Pohflepp. This work demonstrates how implements can be created from organic material such as plants. Ginsberg and Pohflepp are devising an alternative growth process, which naturally influences how articles are currently being developed. The mode of presentation challenges the visitor to reflect on the future consequences of development.

What does the museum want to achieve with the Design Column?
With the Design Column the museum is assuming a new role: as a cultural incubator it is a place where innovative ideas are made manifest, something for which there is less and less space in our society. New designs can be presented within the museum and there is the opportunity for discussion and a broad social debate. Because it responds to topical social issues, the Design Column allows room for reflection.

What is the purpose of the presentation’s layout?
The title ‘Design Column’ seems to refer to a magazine-like setting, yet the works in the exhibition are presented in a highly visual manner. The visitor can also pick up a handout which explains the concept behind the presentation’s structure in greater detail and provides further information about the works.

How is the presentation put together?
The compilation of a column takes about eight weeks, in order to guarantee its topicality. The Design Column’s curators begin by selecting topical subjects that have attracted broad social interest. Then, with the aid of an external expert, they consider the themes that are relevant and suitable for commentary. And lastly we look into which works are suitable for the presentation and the exhibition is assembled.

What is the role of visitors in the Design Column?
The Design Column is not just intended as a presentation, but also calls for a reaction and a discussion. As mentioned, the works being presented often challenge the visitor to reflect about the subject. To complement this, one of the exhibition’s designers, Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, will be holding a talk about her research in September. She argues that the biotech revolution will be one of the 21st century’s most important shifts. If you would like to take part in this discussion, contact the exhibition’s curators via and explain your reasons for wanting to attend. This motivation will be used to select participants, because of the limited number of places. You will be informed whether you can attend as soon as possible.