The Soft City
Every year, Dutch Design Awards (DDA) honours the best Dutch designers and their most impressive and groundbreaking projects. Various disciplines, viewpoints and solutions are judged in light of the impact they have on our society. Dutch Design Awards thereby gives a boost to the profession as a whole. The best Dutch design, viewed in perspective and placed on a pedestal.
DDA nomination 2023 | Best Commissioning
2500 sheep graze in the Rotterdam metropolitan area, keeping the grass short in public spaces. The thousands of kilos of wool they produce are almost worthless in the Netherlands and are burned or shipped to China. Unbelievable, thought sheepherder Martin Oosthoek, in a time of raw material scarcity and climate change, which led to the project The Soft City. The Municipality of Rotterdam asked Christien Meindertsma to research what wool of this quality could be used for. It turned out to be suitable for blankets, jumpers, woolly hats, upholstery and sound insulation. With creativity and perseverance, Christien worked together on The Soft City and ensured that people now see Rotterdam’s sheep wool as a raw material instead of waste.
Involving super researcher Christien Meindertsma means bringing in a designer who always goes the extra mile. In doing so, Rotterdam shows that the circular city is not an empty ambition for them. The city wanted green areas to be grazed and receives in return a mountain of wool, the quality of which is usually seen as moderate or poor. It is good that the city takes responsibility for processing it. Hopefully, the countless applications resulting from her research will also be put into production. With Rotterdam Circulair and The Soft City moving from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, organising workshops for residents, the local authorities actively create awareness that wool is valuable.
For more information about the nominees and the DDA Awards Show you can visit dutchdesignawards.nl.
Photography: Jan de Groen, Mathijs Labadie