Designdochters is the conceptual child of Designer Anne Vaders. On the second weekend of June she organised a tour via the different Designdochters spots – all of them located in Middelburg. This was the first of hopefully many more to come. “We have a lot of creatives in this city, but still we see a cultural migration of sorts to bigger cities, known for their design, like Eindhoven or Rotterdam”, she says. “It’s a pity that many of these creatives don’t even know of their artistic contemporaries here in Middelburg.” Anne wants to change that. By linking commercial shops and artists, an interesting dialogue emerges. The artists have to work with materials given by the shops, which results in fascinating objects like a lamp built out of glasses, in an optician. Conceptual artworks were featured too, like an audio based experience in a flower shop that made you feel you’re walking in the jungle. You can actually meet the designers – who are happy to answer all your questions. Anne had some ulterior motives for this event, too. In the design world designers often don’t get the appreciation or fee they deserve. People expect that designers should do things for free, or compensate them with terms like “exposure”. This isn’t their fault, according to Anne. “Many people expect this from designer because they don’t understand the creative practice, they see one logo but don’t see the process behind it. I feel it is my duty to make people aware of what happened with a certain design by showing the designers in the middle of their making process, the outcome will hopefully be that all artist get treated as they should. Although the word is featured in the name Designdochters, Anne mocks the word design. For her, everything is design, and there shouldn’t be a division between so called higher and lower arts. Marketers use design, whether relevant or not, to make a costumer believe a certain product has value. Designdochters is an overall experience. Wandering through the city becomes an adventure in search of beauty. Designdochters offers you a clever route through Middelburg, giving you a variation of designs and designers. Not to forget, the route gives you a chance to have a well-deserved coffee and lunch break. For those who couldn’t make it this year, make sure you go to the next edition, and get inspired. Middelburg certainly deserves a spot on the design-map, too.

– Esther –