EINDHOVEN – Most of us are familiar with the concept of a smart shop. Chances are, a wacky interior radiating with the dazzle of multicoloured florescent lights pops into mind. Add to the equation a flock of tourists sporting Amsterdam-themed souvenir apparel, and the picture is complete. But in Eindhoven – the world’s smartest region according to the Intelligent Community Forum – things look a little different.
The House of Smart, yet another psychedelic experience conjured by Dutch designer Maurice Mentjens, attempts to reflect the city’s brilliant brainwaves through a surprisingly sober palette. Mentjens, who together with Arnout Visser presented titillating mushroom-shaped lamps at this year’s Dutch Design Week, is certainly no stranger to the provocative. Despite the shop’s monotint interior, however, the hallucinogenic gestures are hard to miss.
Defining the stripped-back 20th-century space is an intricate web of slender wood beams painted grey. Used as display shelving, the intersecting network evokes the complexity of the nervous system. White neon tubes diffuse an ethereal glow throughout, while the vibrant packaging of the shop’s mind candy lends potent punctuations of colour to the neutral backdrop. The result is an almost religious reminder of the mystical power of mind-altering substances. In perfect alignment with Eindhoven’s status as the capital of intelligence, the store offers visitors an (albeit momentary) escape from the everyday.
Photos Arjen Schmitz