DDW22: Things that Matter @ Microlab Hall

photo by Nick Bookelaar

For the 2022 edition of Dutch Design Week, I curated one of the three main locations (Microlab Hall) and selected work within the topic of Things that Matter. On show were 21 project who each investigate the value and meaning of products in times of overconsumption.


The societal challenges of our time are affecting our daily lives more than ever. Raw materials are scarce, extreme temperatures are becoming the norm rather than the exception, while the cost of all kinds of basic needs continues to rise. Although it goes hand in hand with painful conclusions, there is no escaping the fact we need to change our way of life. Doing nothing is no longer an option.

Dutch Design Week offers a podium to designers who shape this quest for change. Towards different systems and sustainable alternatives. Sometimes concrete, sometimes speculative but always with a fresh perspective. Things that Matter @ Microlab Hall zooms in on products that shape our daily lives. What meaning do material things still have in a world that has long seen consumption as the highest good? Get set for new ideas about what defines value.

Over the past two centuries, mass production and consumerism have drastically changed the way we value and use goods. When do we still feel connected to our material possessions? We buy too much and throw things away too easily, which gives rise to all kinds of (environmental) problems. In the search for new systems, the increased sustainability of materials and production processes is a must. But that’s not enough. We must also take a critical look at our behaviour: to rethink how we handle products.

Products are more than simply what they do for us or how much money they are worth. They are carriers of meaning, of personal stories, of social convictions, of craftsmanship and innovation. Products are the embodiment of our shared history and represent cultural traditions. The products presented in Things that Matter @ Microlab Hall – from individual work to group presentations – depict the story behind a product and question our behaviour. What is it that makes something valuable and meaningful? 


Community Couture
Crafts Council Nederland – NEW CRAFTS
Creative Residency Arita – Connecting Ceramics
Dutch Design Awards 2022
Gemeente Rotterdam / Christien Meindertsma – De Zachte Stad h220430 – IN THINGS
Hanna Rudner – Co-living at the JVB
Lena Winterink – Persoonlijke Patronen
Lisa Konno & Sarah Blok – NOBU BABA HENK
Mehdi Mashayekhi – Choub
NADD – Archives at Risk 12 Newcomer Society
Rising Lai – Re_Design with New Materialism
Royal Tichelaar Makkum – Re:sourcing clay
Studio fe – Kadim – Modern Architypes
Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia – GIVING WAY
TEJO REMY <> BYBORRE – Reuse of textile
Tony Sloof – Paved in Gold
Vera van der Burg & Gijs de Boer – Objective Portrait
Zeeuws Museum X Duran Lantink


Curated by Lisa Hardon
Spatial Design Tijs Gilde – Studio Guilty
Graphic Design Hans van Severen
Project Management & Realisation Romée Beernink, Sanne Heesbeen, Marnix Baert
Audio Visual Supplier Bazelmans AV
Many Thanks To Park Strijp Beheer B.V, Yask, Dutch Design Foundation