Sound Décor
Architectural acoustic panels by recent Design Academy Eindhoven grad Niek Pulles take their cues from the sound-dampening virtues of classical tapestries. Pulles cuts his pyramidal anechoic foam panels into the shape of historical door jambs and other architectural details to create lively contemporary patterns for the wall. (See slide show.)

Dutchman Aldo Bakker has said of his designs, “Even when they are not used, they have something to say.” Jug (see slide show), his recent, highly sculptural vessel for Particles Gallery in Amsterdam, seems to demonstrate just that. The voluptuous form could be construed as either fluid or flesh and can rest in two positions, with the pitcher mouth facing upward while in use or downward when empty. When facing downward, the pitcher attaches to its accompanying cup in a peculiarly tender fashion that suggests a creature sheltering its young.

Over the length of her one-of-a-kind Mother of Pearl “textile frieze,” Danish designer Louise Sass laid down fields of color in seemingly random, staggered layers that shift to a more orderly repetitive pattern along the length of the cloth. Inspired by the dynamic surfaces of the Italian Baroque, which she thinks of as a “delicate grid” beneath her own composition, Sass has made a wholly modern print. (See slide show.),

Accordion Please
In 2009, Elisa Strozyk unveiled a slinky wood veneer textile to great acclaim. Now she has teamed up with artist Sebastian Neeb to create a leggy shelving unit called the Accordion Cabinet. The barrel-chested unit is dressed in wasp-waisted accordion pleats made from Strozyk’s clever woody fabric that fold open to expose the shelves.

Portuguese cork by Amorim—reusable, biodegradable, sustainable—is the material focus of Materia, a company that commissioned designers ranging from Big-Game and Nendo to Raw-Edges and Fernando Brizio to create a product, including salt and pepper shakers, lighting, an ice bucket and toy boats, that would exploit cork’s great virtues: resistant but buoyant, compressible, elastic, impermeable—and you thought it was only good for stoppering up a leftover bottle of red.

Open Source + Meccano
In 2009, Dutch designer Thomas Lommée suggested that people anywhere in the world, sharing a common geometrical grid based on a 4cm-by-4cm square, could construct and use others’ modular components to make things. He called it OpenStructures (OS) and it seemed pretty abstract at the time (see slide show). Today, however, the OS library contains pieces by the likes of Dick van Hoff, Lucas Maassen, and Lizanne Dirkx (who made a shoe). With online forums, free, user-friendly 3D software and affordable, computer-based production techniques, there should be a lot more adults playing Lommée’s collaborative Meccano game soon.