Tag Archives: EIN

Offline mode

With the increase in the number of devices connected to wireless networks, in the coming years, we will see more and more products designed to protect people, machines and installations against the high level of electromagnetic radiation. Here are the latest examples from the Netherlands: pyjamas, blanket and floor screens that reflect or absorb cellular and wi-fi waves. 

With Theresa Bastek, the graduate of the Design Academy Eindhoven and the author of Flight Mode collection, I talk about the objects that protect users against so-called e-smog, which is an electromagnetic radiation associated with modern devices based on wireless connectivity.

This interview has been edited for space and clarity. To listen to the original conversation conducted in Eindhoven during the Dutch Design Week 2016 , press play on the video embedded below. 


TrendNomad.com: What your graduation project “Flight Mode” is about?
Theresa Bastek: For my graduation project, I made a research about the electromagnetic radiation. I have developed devices to shield ourselves off from the radiation that is all over time around us, generated by internet devices and phones that we use in our daily lives.

Are you sure there is a need for protecting ourselves from radiation generated by technology? Even the sunlight is a kind of the electromagnetic radiation – we can live with that.
Indeed, the sunlight is one of the types of electromagnetic radiation. However, you are not surrounded by the sunlight 24/7. After certain moments in your daily life of being exposed to the Sun, you usually seek for a shadow. Unlike the sunlight, the electromagnetic smog surrounds us 24/7, and we almost can’t escape it anymore. My project aims to create an understanding of its presence and give solutions to recuperate from it.

The sunlight is visible, but the wi-fi and cellular network are not.
Because electromagnetic radiation made by mobile devices is something very invisible, I created a tool to make the radiation visible. I called it the Whistleblower. When you stand next to it, and make a phone call or connect a device to the internet, the agent will light up. The scale will go down if there is less radiation around you.


What kind of solution do you offer?
I have been working together with scientists to develop materials and objects that can be used to shield ourselves from this kind of radiation.

Very fine stainless steel yarns are integrated into Flight Mode textile, making it reflective for electromagnetic waves.

Firstly, I made textiles that have the ability to reflect the electromagnetic radiation. Since there are metal fibres in the textiles, they act as a sort of a Faraday Cage.


Secondly, I have also made screens that are made of carbon materials. I contrast to textiles that reflect radiation, carbon absorbs the electromagnetic smog. Screens create a kind of a shadow zone, so you can stand next to them.

Carbon materials have the property of absorbing electromagnetic radiation.

How many models of standing screens have you designed?
There are two screens based on carbon materials: one  is made of carbon rods, and the second is woven of carbon fibres. The third, small screen is made of charcoal. Charcoal is well known as a material that absorbs smells, but it also absorbs the electromagnetic radiation.


What was particularly important for you when you were designing the Flight Mode collection?
I wanted to get an aesthetic fact that does not remind us of technology, but rather of something that we know from the past. Something that makes us feel more comfortable.

Is your design useful only on a small scale?
I can imagine three screens to grow in an architectural scale to become a very efficient tool to absorb the electromagnetic smog that is constantly all around us.


If you have any questions regarding Flight Mode collection, you can send them directly to Theresa Bastek at info@studioplastique.be. You can also find more information about Theresa at www.studioplastique.be.

Main picture by Femke Reijermann.

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A shopping VRenzy

How the not-too-distant future of shopping will look like? Designer Allison Crank tries to answer this question using, besides her imagination, a virtual reality headset. Her vision of the evolution of shopping, urbanism and architecture for 2020 involves an immersive, mind-bending virtual reality shopping centre, where clients represented by avatars can co-design and order bespoke objects.

„The Reality Theatre: Shopping in the Ludic Century”, a Masters Thesis created earlier this year by Allison Crank at Design Academy Eindhoven, is based on an assumption that shopping architecture is the most common form of ‘third places’, which are the social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of a home and a workplace. It is a space for public activities where people can see and be seen.

The designer started her research with the Greek agora, to the arcades of Paris, department stores, shopping malls and the experience economy. Despite the rich history of shopping architecture, with the rapid growth of e-retail, material shops and malls are facing the threat of obsolescence right now, burying a the same time the social aspects of doing shopping among other clients.

The Reality Theatre_Allison Crank2

Besides having the knowledge about history of shopping architecture, Crank also follows news about the gaming industry and emerging technologies, including virtual and augmented reality. Combining all her interests, she suggests that physical stores should be transformed into virtual playgrounds for experiences, where consumers become actors with the ability to perform, spectate, play and indulge themselves in the environment.

Shopping is a public performance. Stores are theatres where a client can be both performer and spectator. What if stores were designed as stages? What if shopping were a script for new stories? Designing tools for a play allows for new stories to emerge.

Watch the video interview embedded below for the better understanding of the designer’s idea. I met Allison Crank and asked her few questions at the Design Academy Eindhoven Graduation Show 2015, which is one of the must-see events of annual Dutch Design Week.


One of the main features of The Reality Theatre, described as „urban shopping machine in the form of a VR play”, allows the consumer to have an active role in the creation of bespoke objects they are willing to order.

In the demo mode, visitors assume the role of Ms. Smith, a customer in search of a new chair in The Reality Theatre, from the moment she enters, to her interactions with the designer, who in this case is a giraffe, to when she leaves.

How the role of a designer will change in such digital environment? In Allison Crank’s opinion, designers will become directors who sell their know-how, experience and style, helping clients in the process of designing new personalised items online.

The Reality Theatre_Allison Crank Credits Trend Nomad
Demonstration of „The Reality Theatre: Shopping in the Ludic Century” project at Graduation Show 2015, Design Academy Eindhoven. Photography by Trend Nomad

Clients who wear a virtual reality headset on their heads, navigate through the virtual shopping mall full of psychedelic graphics, neon signs, escalators, free-roaming animals and avatars of other people (the question is: why there are only women?), using a game controller that they hold in their hands.


Allison Crank is a designer and filmmaker working at the intersection of technology, media and architecture. Her work ranges from illustrations, animations, virtual reality and spatial design. She was born in New York, now she lives in The Netherlands and Denmark. If you have any questions regarding „The Reality Theatre: Shopping in the Ludic Century” project, please contact Allison directly at info@allisoncrank.com.


Do you like the article? Then buy me a coffee! You can donate a small sum of money using your PayPal account or credit card. All donations will finance my journeys to fairs, festivals and conferences devoted to design and new technology – this is where I find news for my blog. Just click the button below to perform a secure transaction. Thank you for your support, it will help me to take a step forward and write new posts.

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Good design(er)

When we follow media reports on hundreds of thousands of refugees, we often forget that behind round figures stand dramatic stories of individuals who find themselves in the most difficult time in their lives. Some of those people after the perilous journey to Europe do not receive asylum and should go back home. They can not do that, because, for example, this place does not longer exist. Designer Manon van Hoeckel found a way to help newcomers who stall in such a difficult situation.

In Limbo Embassy is a traveling embassy designed by Manon van Hoeckel (born in 1990 in Diessen, The Netherlands) as a graduation project in Design Academy Eindhoven. This project was designed for refugees asylum seekers and undocumented migrants who live in The Netherlands ‘in limbo’.

Many refugees living in The Netherlands are not allowed to stay, yet they cannot go home. They are literally ‘in limbo’. They feel represented neither by their official embassies nor by media.

In contrast to a real embassy, the mobile one represents a group of people, not a piece of land or a country. Those people cannot stay in the Netherlands, but are also unable to return home, because of, among many reasons, invalid travel documents or an unsafe situation in the country of their origin.

In Limbo Embassy interior
In Limbo Embassy gives asylum seekers an opportunity to tell their stories face-to-face to people living in The Netherlands.

In an atmosphere where refugees are too often dehumanised into numbers by media, direct contact between society and asylum seekers is lacking. Local people don’t go into buildings where migrants temporarily live. Despite the fact that everyone is welcome at squats where refugees stay in at the moment, this step is too big for many European. The solution is a mobile embassy traveling throughout the Netherlands and offering a neutral meeting space for refugees and people from local communities.


In a wooden trailer that Manon van Hoeckel purchased and rebuilt herself, refugees in the role of ambassadors invite residents, passers-by and government officials. The embassy provides space for dialogue, debate and cultural exchange. At the heart of society, away from national politics, and beyond headlines that we find in media, it sheds a different, more humane light on problems of migrants living in limbo.

People ask ambassadors: ‘How can I help? Can I give clothes or food?’, but most refugees want to take part in society and contribute it without relying on others. Instead of: ‘How can you help refugees?’, ambassadors ask visitors: ‘How could refugees help you?’.

In Limbo Embassy project was recently supported through a crowdfunding campaign provided on Dutch platform Voordekunst. Besides financial support, after the successful campaign over 150 people became ambassadors to spread their stories, and the team is still expanding. The sum of 11.000 euros collected in the crowdfunding campaign is being spent to refurbish the embassy, start a promotional campaign, pay for the transport and cover the expenses of the ambassadors.

In Limbo Embassy Printed Matters credits Alexander Popelier
Portraits of the ambassadors were shot by Belgium-based photographer Alexander Popelier. Blankets wrapped around ambassadors shoulders give the subjects a royal status, where that image usually suggests poverty. Pictures were taken in one of the squats where the members of WE ARE HERE (a group of rejected asylum seekers in Amsterdam) stay in.

Technically, refugees living in limbo are not allowed to work. Manon van Hoeckel explored legal loopholes to give asylum seekers opportunities to contribute to society. The right of freedom of press enables them to earn money, as they are allowed to sell printed matters in public space. A vague boundary between art and what can be defined as labor provides an opening for the asylum seekers to work under the freedom of expression.

Portraits of the ambassadors are sold in public space by refugees under the freedom of press.

Printed Matters, which is a part of In Limbo Embassy, shows a series of silkscreened official portraits that allows the applicant to contribute to society. All the money that come from the sale stays in hands of refugees.

In Limbo Embassy art money credits Trend Nomad
In addition to portraits, in the sale that supports refugees and is conducted under freedom of the press, is also a fictional currency. This project was shown in October in Klokgebouw, which is the center of the annual Dutch Design Week. Photography by Trend Nomad.

If you want to know more details about In Limbo Embassy, you can watch the interview with Manon van Hoeckel embedded below. I recorded the video in the middle of October 2015 in Design Academy Eindhoven at the Graduation Show, which is one of the most important and interesting parts of the annual Dutch Design Week.


Until know, In Limbo Embassy has visited several places in The Netherlands. Besides going to festivals and events, In Limbo Embassy also visits neighbourhoods. Manon van Hoeckel  (manonvanhoeckel@live.nl) hopes that after a year another organisation will take over the project, perhaps opening embassies up in other countries, and she will be able to focus on her other projects. Aside from In Limbo Embassy, she does projects on commission for organisations and companies, all with the same objectives: creating awareness, cultivate debate and drive out prejudice.


Do you like the article? Then buy me a coffee! You can donate a small sum of money using your PayPal account or credit card. All donations will finance my journeys to fairs, festivals and conferences devoted to design and new technology – this is where I find news for my blog. Just click the button below to perform a secure transaction. Thank you for your support, it will help me to take a step forward and write new posts.

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