Dutch Design Week 2019

Dutch Design Week 2019

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Dutch Design Week is the biggest design event in Northern Europe. It presents work and ideas of more than 2600 designers to more than 350,000 visitors.

Organiser Dutch Design Foundation (DDF) is optimistic and believes that the problem-solving capacity of designers can improve the world. That's why DDF offers designers opportunities, support, publicity and a platform.

The theme for this years event: 'If not NOW, then WHEN?' applies more forcefull than ever.

Director Martijn Paulen explains the thematic choice: "In the field of technology, developments are moving faster than ever and the possibilities are endless, (..) the future looks bright. At the same time, significant obstacles to urgent issues still need to be overcome and a clear impetus to action is needed."

EJJI was approached in an early stage to be part of a concept-team that designed the 2019 opening event.

Developing the sound

We began by researching the DDW's values and objectives and developed a way to communicate this years theme into sound. This was the foundation on which the various sound assets were build.

'The future looks bright, but a clear impulse to action is needed.'

Audio Design System

When developing the sound, we create a design system that serves as a foundation and guide for all other elements.

The system we created is based on the principles of a Tenori-on synthesiser: A step sequencer and sound generator that creates repeating patterns and textures.

We abstracted different patterns, Timbres (musical colors), and a harmonic system. When combining these elements, you have a system of reusable elements that is scalable, and provides a method of creating various audio assets from small to very large, that are recognisable and consistant.

    — Harmony system:
    — Pattern 1:
    — Pattern 2:
    — Color 1:
    — Color 2:
    — Voices:

Audio Assets

When the timeline for the event was ready, we identified key moments where sound could play an important role.

  • 1. Create a sonic experience to welcome visitors
  • 2. Create official event kick-off moment
  • 3. Create a series of audio logos
  • 1. Welcoming visitors

In previous editions the organisation had some issues in keeping the attention focussed. We knew that audio could help fix this. We used audio in a way that is had a calming effect. What people experienced was walking into a space that triggered a state of heightened attention.

    — Sound Impression:
  • 2. Official Event Kick-Off

We recorded exotic languages and spread them around the room. The song builds momentum and rises into a euphoric soundscape that officially started the event in a way that is energetic, cutting-edge and uplifting.

    — Opening Sequence:
  • 3. Ambassadors' Audio Logo's

As part of the opening event, the ambassadors of this years edition, the CEO of the Dutch Design Foundation Martijn Paulen, moderator Anna Gimbrere and the major of Eindhoven John Jorritsma were given an individual audio logo to introduce them on stage.

We designed the idents with care. By extracting them from the audio strategy core, they form a series whilst making sure each one had a unique character that reflects the people they represent.

Audio Logo Impression

  • Jalila Essaïdi
  • Studio Drift

'Spatial Sound, light, design, dialogue, video and music were intertwined to form a multi sensory experience.'

Ambassadors of DDW 2019

Jalila Essaïdi — Dutch designer.

Working with modern biotechnology Essaïdi focuses on topics that are relevant today. With her interdisciplinary and collaborative approach, she is as a spider in her web, observing and controlling every bit of movement.

Alice Rawsthorn — An influential public speaker and social media commentator on design.

Alice Rawsthorn is an award-winning design critic and the author of critically acclaimed books on design, including Hello World: Where Design Meets Life and, most recently, Design as an Attitude.


Stefano Boeri — Italian architect & urban planner.

Stefano Boeri is director of the Future City Lab (FCL) of Tongji University in Shanghai, a post-doctoral research program which explores the future perspectives of metropolis.

Studio Drift — Dutch artists Lonneke Gordijn (1980) and Ralph Nauta (1978) are the founders of Studio DRIFT.

DRIFT manifests the phenomena and hidden properties of nature with the use of technology in order to learn from the Earth’s underlying mechanisms and to re-establish our connection to it.

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