Chinese and Dutch designers with guts.

Client: NAi Rotterdam
Status: completed in 2011

daringdesign is the sequel to Taking a Stance, an exhibition that toured China in 2010. It was put together by the NAI and commissioned by DutchDFA. For daringdesign the NAI has asked the 8 designers to present a new project or to elaborate their existing presentation further. Moreover, the exhibition is twice the size of its predecessor through the addition of a specially designed contextual layer.

In terms of design, the Netherlands and China seem to be another’s opposite: the small pioneer for conceptual design versus the economic superpower. But daring designers live and work in both countries. Designers with ideas, designers with guts.

With the exhibition daringdesign, the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) in Rotterdam will present the most prominent 8 of them. One by one they show their eye-catching and sometimes highly controversial projects – from fashion to book collection, from scale model to art project. daringdesign will last from 1 July 2011 to 8 January 2012.

“Their work emphasises concepts like context, tradition and craftsmanship…”

The 8 designers in daringdesign have much in common. They are critical, raise questions, extend boundaries, and do not evade commercially or politically sensitive issues. At the same time, they are realistic. They look around them all the time and respond to contemporary developments. Their work emphasises concepts like context, tradition, and craftsmanship, thereby giving design a new significance and more quality in a world that is increasingly dominated by globalisation, commercialisation, and standardisation. The 8 designers are:

From China: Ai Weiwei (architect/artist), Urbanus (firm of architects), to meet you (graphic design agency) and Ma Ke (fashion designer).

From the Netherlands: OMA (firm of architects), Hella Jongerius (product designer), Alexander van Slobbe (fashion designer), and Irma Boom (graphic designer).

The eight installations are part of a spectacular open ‘landscape’.

Each of them presents a project in which he or she takes up a stance in the design world. The eight installations are part of a spectacular open ‘landscape’ designed by TomDavid Architecten. A lot of attention will be paid to the context in which the 8 designers work. An impressive series of pictures offers visitors insight into the similarities and differences between China and the Netherlands. At first sight it is the differences that stand out, but there are correspondences too. All 8 designers rise to the challenge of the circumstances in such a way that they can learn from one another.


Project name: daringdesign – Chinese and Dutch designers with guts
Locations: Netherlands Architecture institiute [NAi]
Program: Exhibition
Site area: 950 m2


Design team: Tom van Odijk, David Baars
Curators: Linda Vlassenrood, Ole Bouman
Graphic design: Hendrik-Jan Grievink
Contractor: Landstra en De Vries
Structure: Bartels Consulting Engineers