At the beginning of this month when we were participating in the “Lighting Machine” project and seminar, our class had the absolute pleasure of spending time learning from Willem van der Sluis – a product designer from Amsterdam.Â Willem’s work extends into many product categories, from mobile phones to luminaires, to social structures.Â Willem is a very gifted, talented designer – I feel we all learned a lot from his work with us during the weeklong seminar.
Willem’s design firm, Customr, is based in Amsterdam, and has an excellent repertoire of work.Â Two of Willem’s most recent accomplishments are the Aircon luminaire that was produced by Luceplan (images below), and the SportDome, a project that Willem and his team created for the Dutch Department of Justice.Â I have included some images and some video of Willem’s SportDome from Dutch Profiles, a design site that featured Willem recently.
The SportDomes project is an interesting project – they are essentially an exercise area for illegal aliens being held by the Dutch government.Â When Willem lectured about this project in our class, he said that at first he wasn’t interested in designing anything for a jail, which frankly is completely understandable.Â To design a structure that could give people being held against their will some form of pleasure in their confined day seems like a project for the cold hearted – but Willem created a structure that not only allows the inmates to play a little sports, but shields them from being scrutinized by outsiders.Â The magical aspect of this dome is that at night, when it is illuminated, it is a diamond – a piece of beauty inside the terrible concept of criminality and imprisonment.
I hope you enjoy Willem’s work – it was a pleasure to get to know him a little, and to spend time learning what he had to teach.
Willem is also up for a Rotterdam Design Prize in 2009 – the winner is announced in late November.Â Good luck Willem!Â I voted for him, and you should too! (wink, wink)
The Aircon luminaire from Willem van der Sluis and Luceplan:
Make sure to check out Willem’s firm, Customr.