The Antenna Conference – and exhibition – showcase the best of world wide’s design graduates 2019. This curated platform for international upcoming design talent is founded by Dutch Design Week and Design Indaba. This year’s line-up of 20 talents originate from 5 continents and 16 countries. The selection comprises a wide array of themes: ranging from material development from unusual resources, to inclusive design for visually and hearing impaired consumers. A selection of talents will be on display in the exhibition at Klokgebouw taking place from October 19 – October 27 during Dutch Design Week (DDW). The Antenna Conference which is the first international event presenting the avant-garde of design graduates, takes place on October 21.   

Selection process 

Every year new designers are chosen via an international selection process curated by Design Indaba and Dutch Design Week (DDW) in which world-renowned design academies and universities are involved. The educational network is tapped by an open call in which academies and universities are invited to propose their best graduates. Design Indaba and DDW made a selection based on the impact of these groundbreaking ideas, cross-border visions and strong ideals. The ones that excelled in these aspects were selected. Most of the selected projects focus on generating a positive impact on the world. This years’ design graduates are coming from the world’s top design academies and universities like Pratt, Parsons, Bauhaus, RCA, Central Saint Martins, DAE, ECAL, The Bartlett school of Architecture UCL and IAAC.   

Material innovation from unusual resources 

One of the highlights of the selection is new materials derived from unexpected resources like waste water and seaweed. The Sum Waste project by American designer and Pratt graduate Garett Benisch is an example of this theme. He developed a bio-ink from waste water which he transforms into ink for the printing of poetry. New York used to process, 3 billion gallons of sewage every year, but nowadays it ends up in landfills. Benisch invites us to review the perspective on waste water and instead presents it as a potential resource. Copenhagen School of Business and Design student Kathryn Larsen set out to create pre-fabricated thatch panels made from eelgrass. These seaweed panels can be installed as a façade or as roofing material since it is rot resistant, fireproof, carbon negative and waterproof.  

Inclusive design for visually and hearing impaired 

It is widely agreed that as a society, we are progressing towards inclusion and a shift in product design is taken place. Camila Chiriboga and Kate Brown are two examples of designers that operate within that category. The Ecuadorian designer Camila designs clothing pieces with more tactility. Her garments contain different layers and shapes that make it easier to assess the appearance of a garment by touching it. This empowers a person with a visual impairment to make independently a choice about his outfit. Katie Brown comes into the audio spectrum when it concerns inclusive design. She investigates a product range of hearing aids that empower the user to make a decision into a hearing aid that is either visible or invisible. In this range she wants to normalize this impairment by offering more iconic designs rather than just offering designs that hide the hearing aid.   

Antenna Conference and Exhibition 
The Antenna Conference and Exhibition will give a sneak peek into our future’s potential for material development, social issues, living, mobility, water, and energy usage. An overview of the most recent developments within these domains will be given in the exhibition at Klokgebouw (Strijp-S). During the third edition of Antenna Conference the visitor can actually meet the designers behind the selected projects and gets more detailed insights into the process. This year’s conference has a new format comprising a dynamic program with interviews, short presentations and video’s and will take place in Parktheater on Monday, October 21. There is a limited number of spaces available. Tickets can be ordered here

Image: Hyunseok Lee (KR), The Coral, Antenna 2019