Social Label: We are what we make
ONE WEEK ABOUT Dutch Designers in Milan by Connecting the Dots
Design is sophisticated. Design has style. Design is innovation. Design is brilliant. It is fun, it has guts, it has wits. But does design have a soul?
It does. Social Label’s small yet rich exhibition brims with it. The four white walls of their showroom contain the beautiful and soulful creations of different workshops around the Netherlands. Professional designers and companies have developed projects with members of different sheltered communities (for the mentally and physically handicapped, recovering addicts, immigrants, school dropouts, unemployed youth…), producing unique pieces that have one clear message: ‘We are not what you think we are, we are what we make.’
Designer Edwin Vollebergh has worked on tableware collection ‘Kom’ with Cello and Reinier van Arkel, health care organisations for the disabled and mentally ill. Combining traditional blue Delftware aesthetics and the iconic old school tattoo style, each piece tells the story of the patient who made it. Vollebergh’s stickers show coffee cups, barbed wire, candy, wedding rings, tigers, pills, monkeys, winged wheelchairs.
Joost van Bleiswijk brought granite off-cuts to sheltered employer Senzer’s young team ARTE. Together, they created the elegant, handcrafted clocks of the ‘Tijd’ collection. The workshop gave the boys and girls precious experience with the creative process and high-tech production.
Edward van Vliet joined hands with Vrolijk Werk and Pameijer, an organisation for women and a community for the disabled, respectively, and felted together a quirky, mouse-eared bell that will keep your head – or your pies – warm.
My last mention goes to the delicate rainbow that captures your gaze as soon as you step into the showroom. These dyed sacramental bread leaves are made by a community of deaf people who are keeping this traditional craft alive.
There is still much more to discover. As Social Label’s motto says, ‘De cookie is nooit op’ (The cookie is never finished).
Text: Giulia Giudici
Intern at Design Language / Connecting the Dots
Photos: Giulia Giudici and Katja Lucas