Netherlands

Waarmakers Ninebyfour.

Most fluorescent style light fixtures are for lack of a better term, ugly. This partly due to the need for ballast, the power supply, and the heat the lamps give off. Waarmakers however has created Ninebyfour a tube lamp using LED’s. Because they don’t generate heat, or have a large power supply this minimal lamp is quite beautiful, and one made from uncharacteristic materials.

20140105-131557.jpgThe lamps are designed and built with reclaimed wood that comes from salvaged trees cut down in and around the Amsterdam area. Each lamp comes with a location marker stamped in the cork portion of the fixture. If you enter the coordinates in Google Maps, the origin of your lamps source tree shows up.

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JSPR Retro Office.

One of the things I remember from Jr. High science classes is the lab furniture. It stands out because it had a very distinctive 1960’s flair to it, with sharp clean lines and a color pallet that was coded for each work station. I have no idea who made it or designed it, but who ever it was they did the job right. They created a distinct memory that has lasted to this day.

Dutch firm JSPR offers a line of office furniture that reminds me of those work areas from long ago. Their Retro Office series uses color blocking to create different feelings or zones within the work environment. The look of the pieces is designed to engage with the ambience of the sixties and seventies with a nod to mid-century office furniture by companies like Steelcase

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Retro Office is built with all steel construction. The tops are finished with a semi gloss powder coated lacquer. The frames are finished with a matte coated lacquer. I really like how JSPR left the welds exposed as a structural design element with a minimum amount of clean up. Something about that adds visual strength to the clean lines of the frame work and top. The desks are available in 29 colors, and three configurations, and it looks like you can purchase direct from the manufacturer

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Achtung! VW’s LinkedIn Challenge.

Last year LinkedIn launched it’s developer network with a new LinkedIn API. I haven’t really seen any advertisers take advantage of the API yet, the same way that they have with other social networking platforms like Facebook. Recently though Achtung developed a new LinkedIn based campaign for the 2011 Volkswagen Passat in the Netherlands. The campaign is based on the idea that the new Passat is as full of features, as your LinkedIn profile is full of information.

The campaign is called “LinkedUit” (LinkedOut) and gives anyone who challenges a friend on LinkedIn to the competition a chance to win a brand new Volkswagen Passat. The objective is simple, all you have to do is have the strongest LinkedIn profile in Holland. Once you connect with the site here, it challenges a chosen connection on education, experience, recommendations and connections to award the LinkedIn victor, and the LinkedOut loser.

There are a couple of things that benefit everyone involved in the game. In order to win the participants  need to be more involved with LinkedIn and beef up their profiles. Which stimulates LinkedIn usage, and that is a plus for them. At the same time Volkswagen gains access to a large database of potential customers on a world wide scale, a plus for VW. Playing off of the competitive nature of most people VW and LinkedIn have created a simple viral game that encourages participation that benefits all parties involved.

I’m curious to see how many people actually take that first step and challenge a coworker. I am also curious to see how many of the people that lose, go back and try to beef up the profiles to win a challenge in the future. With buy in and support from LinkedIn, getting these kinds of numbers at the end of the campaign would be easy, and it would make for a great case study on the effectiveness of LinkedIn’s API, and the power of this kind of advertising.

Written Portraits by Van Wanten Etcetera for CPNB.

I read quite a bit. Not as much as I should, but enough. Most of the time the reading material is varied, anything from technical books on software I use, to superfluous fluff novels by authors like Dan Brown. One thing I am going to admit at the beginning of this post is, I don’t read a whole lot of Dutch literature. It’s not that I have something against it, it just doesn’t rise to the forefront of my reading experience. With that said, the new ad campaign to promote Dutch literature by Amsterdam based agency Van Wanten Etcetera, might just have me reading more.

This wonderful set of images were created by illustrator Souverein for Van Wanten Etcetera by literally carving books into portraits of the authors.

Each year the Col­lec­tive­Pro­mo­tion for Dutch Lit­er­a­ture organ­ises the “Dutch Book Week” to pro­mote Dutch ­lit­er­a­ture.Each year has a specif book genre that is profiled and this years choice was Autobiography. The theme “Geschreven­Portret­ten” translates to Writ­ten Por­traits, and to capture this Van Wan­ten Etcetera cre­ated a series of images that show the dif­fer­ent faces behind the Autobiogra­phies. AnneFrank, Vin­cent van Gogh, Louis van Gaal and Kader Abdol­lah. The illustrator Sou­verein made the art­work doing an amaz­ing of job cre­at­ing real­is­tic sculptural images of the authors. Even orig­i­nal book pages were used for the tex­tin­side the por­traits to get right struc­ture for each portrait.

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The finished pieces are really wonderful print advertisements. The photography that captures the artwork is superb, color pallets and typographic use works  for the campaign. Simple clean layouts focus on the authors, and don’t overwhelm the subject. This is a visually stunning campaign for CPNB

Design Friday. Netherlands Decorated Books.

Less than 100 years ago books were considered to be a luxury item in many cases. Most were still hard bound, they were still fairly expensive, and they were usually owned by individuals that had enough expendable income to afford them. I’ve always been fascinated with book design. I think part of it stems from the fact that I studied print making in art school and was in love with the idea of making hand printed books. Today when I was going through the VADS website looking for inspiration I came across one of their collections that I hadn’t been through before, the “Netherlands Decorated Books Collection”, from the London College of Communication.

These book covers represent a period of time when book cover design was an opulent in a sense. I say that because we are talking about a period when paper book jackets, were not that common, and when they were used, the printing limitations of the period tended to limit the designer. Under the jacket though, there is a world of additional design, created from debossing, and gold foil. And on the inside of the book, there are detailed fine lithographs in black and white.

This series of books from the online VADS collection contain bindings in the Nieuwe Kunst and Art Nouveau styles created by contemporary artists working in the Netherlands such as Jozef Cantre, Jan Toroop, and  P.A.H. Hofman’s designs.

P.A.H. Hofman was an important designer of stained glass and posters as well as book bindings. Hofman produced striking and accomplished binding designs which are characteristic of his own style, which was influenced by the Art Nouveau period. His works used decorative cloth bindings, a medium that had not survived the First World War in England.

In addition to Hofman, work by Jozef Cantre is heavily represented. Cantre was a Belgian artist, working in the Netherlands. In 1930 he returned to Belgium to take the position as Chair of Typography at Ecole des Beaux-Arts de la Cambre. His work prior to his return involved  producing binding designs using woodcuts.

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