Device People



Devices have taken over our lives. According to research, the average smartphone user checks their phone 221 times a day. As Jacob Weisberg suggested in a recent article in The New York Review of Books, we have all turned into ‘device people’ and our transformation into device people has happened with unprecedented suddenness. The first iPhones went on sale in June 2007. Today, not carrying a smartphone indicates eccentricity, social marginalization, or old age.


The omnipresent screen culture is responsible for a social transformation. The chat app is what the cigarette was in the last century: a symbolic consumption good that makes a significant contribution to the running of the economy. But somewhere in the system are hidden costs that cannot be felt immediately. In the case of the cigarette, lungs are slowly destroyed. But what is the hidden cost of becoming device people? And how can a piece of jewelry respond to this transformation?


chp…?, the jewelry brand run by Gijs Bakker and based in Amsterdam, invited five international designers to reflect on this theme by making an exclusive design for chp…? This resulted in six designs and one installation.


Bart Hess’ design represents the fusion of technology and body in which data cables turn into extra organs. The hairs in one of the pieces can be seen as the next level in digital evolution, integrating technology with our instincts.


Conversation Piece (Beatrice Brovia and Nicolas Cheng), designed Black Transparency, a brooch of which the shape and size refer to the screen dimensions of the first iPhone 2G ever produced. The screen of this brooch unveils a spectacle of sparkling gold flakes and crystals – the remnants of electronic waste – while reflecting our image. These brooches are like Memento Mori for our technological economics, they let us contemplate consumption, waste, obsoleteness. Electronic waste, of which China imports and recycles enormous amounts, is also the material of their design for the Nu Jade bracelet. The bracelet is made from e-waste; in colour and appearance it mimics the traditional Chinese jade bracelet that is worn by many Chinese women to ward off evil.


Jing He is inspired by the idea of copying on various levels. Cellphones are not only about technology and function, they are also a daily object that shows social status. By copying the surface of an iPhone, which bears trace of our repeated fingerprints an alternative and hidden record of our relationship with devices and information is made visible.


mischer’traxler studio invites us to stop using our devices. The Finger Blocks introduce a new type of ornament, a fingertip coverer, that combines functionality with decoration. With Real Image the designers put a mirror in the palm of our hands, the place that normally holds your smartphone, in an attempt to remind us that we are part of the now and here and not only of our digital surrounding.


Patrícia Domingues designed an installation consisting of blocks of artificial nature that will slowly be fragmented into small pieces. The visitor can choose a piece and carry it in his pocket as an amulet, a tactile token in a digital world, that connects the wearer to something bigger. Choose your favourite stone, take an Instagram picture showing it in your hand and tag #modernanimist.


All chp…? products and prototypes are developed with support of the Stedelijk Museum ‘s Hertogenbosch and added to the collections as examples of the dialogue between jewelry, design and society.


On June 1st the Stedelijk Museum ’s-Hertogenbosch will change its name to Design Museum Den Bosch. The new name communicates more clearly what the museum is about and contributes to the further positioning of the museum in the diverse museum landscape of The Netherlands.


Since the appointment of Timo de Rijk as director at the end of 2016, the museum programme has been concentrated exclusively on design and applied arts. Timo de Rijk: “Design Museum Den Bosch targets the impact of design on our daily lives. We do not focus on design itself alone, but we also tell the story behind it. We throw light on its cultural significance. We place design in the context of the past, the present and its significance for the future”.


The course taken by the museum is the continuation of a long tradition. Ever since the 1980s the museum has been presenting design with solo exhibitions by Dutch designers as Bart Hess, Wieki Somers, Maarten Baas and Scholten & Baijings. Nor has it turned its back on international design, witness the recent successful exhibition of ceramic designs by Ettore Sottsass. This programming matches the international collections of applied arts and crafts (ceramics and jewellery).


The new name puts design right at the heart of the museum. The first exhibitions to place design in context were organised last year – such as radical Italian design from the period 1960 – 1980. At the moment the museum presents the exhibition: California: Designing Freedom, a survey of fifty years of Californian design and its great influence on our everyday lives.




April 17th – 22nd 2018
11 am – 7 pm

Official Opening Event on Thursday April 19th 5.30 – 8 pm


Via Popoli Uniti 11/13, 20121, Milano



During Fuorisalone 2018, ALCOVA opens the doors of one of Milan’s most historic panettone factories to the public for the first time. For the duration of Design Week, the complex’s vast spaces – partly taken over by plants and vegetation – will host new projects by designers, institutions, galleries and companies working at the avant-garde of themes such as contemporary living, design culture, materials and technological innovation. ALCOVA will host talks and exhibitions, becoming a new attractor and point of reference in Fuorisalone for experimentation and research in design. Participants will include experimental collectives such as Also Known As, established names of the design sphere such as Gijs Bakker, and designers working with materials research such as Buro Belen, practices working with the Italian tradition of craftsmanship such as Bloc Studios and Architetti Artigiani Anonimi. Work will also be presented by renowned international institutions such as Z33 and studios conducting research into anonymous design such as Nan Ban. Over 20 exhibitors from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy and even Georgia (with a solo show by the duo Rooms) will converge in ALCOVA in the midst of an intense program of talks and events, all situated in the emergent district of NoLo. ALCOVA is a project by Space Caviar and Studio Vedèt.


Press chp…? jewelry: Download. For High Quality images contact Miriam Eijgenstein, /

Press Stedelijk Museum ‘s-Hertogenbosch: Martijn van Ooststroom, /



This project has been made possible in cooperation with Stedelijk Museum ‘s-Herthogenbosch and with

the generous support of Creative Industries Fund NL




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