The Dutch have become know for their discernable design sensibility that is characterised by a experimental yet minimalist approach often with a humourous edge. But according to product designer Ineke Hans, the sensibility has become so widespread that she no longer thinks it's exclusive to the designers who call Holland home.
The Dutch have certainly made an impact on design with their approach but this approach is now so widespread that I don't think it is a Dutch thing anymore, she says.
"We have a certain tendency to be pretty down to earth, to be very practical and at the same time very dreamy and fantastical I don't know if you can speak about Dutch design anymore."
Hans does work for international brands and do projects across the globe. In 2013 she completed a project on Fogo Island, Canada that was the culmination of a three-year long participatory design process that resulted in the design and opening of an inn on the island, furnished with products made by the local community.
"When I started the project it was very strange to me that they get someone from Holland to do a project here," she recalls. Coming into a community as an outsider Hans felt that she needed to approach the project with a certain sense of humility and that she had to find ways of working to make sure the residents saw something of themselves in the work they produced.
"I was working with them hands-on in the workshop for a week to work on the furniture and talk through how the process could work best," she explains. "I was also super nice for me because together we had to find the best solutions. In a way is about finding the appropriate material, the appropriate techniques and the appropriate type of work within that specific situation."
Even outside of context specific work, building models and working in a hands-on fashion is important to Hans.
Things can look very beautiful in the computer but when you make it as a real-size model, it has to deal with your human body and with human scale. Something that might look fantastic on the computer might suddenly be to big or too small, Hans explains.
She believes the use of models is also important in design education that shouldn't only rely on computerise renderings to visualise designs. She is however not a romantic when it comes to the fact that the world of design has changed and that it is no longer a place of pencil and paper only but a "hybrid system" where multiple tools both physical and digital are available to a designer.