To add a touch of glamour to the graduation ceremony for its international two-year Master’s programme, Design Academy Eindhoven turned to Ted Noten. In previous years, the farewell gift for the students had been a necklace designed by Studio Job. Noten had something more festive in mind, and he developed a whole range of items related to the concept of a trophy, for both the school as a whole and the individual students. The entire project was carried out in collaboration with Freedom of Creation, the company responsible for much of Atelier Ted Noten’s 3D printing.
The trophy is composed of a golden cup with a lid in the form of a large pig’s head. For Dutch speakers, this is an unmistakable reference to the term feestvarken (literally ‘party pig’), meaning the guest of honour at a celebration. The pig’s head is adorned with a necklace. The head is sliced horizontally into one segment for each graduating student, to be presented along with their diploma. All you have to do is attach a simple chain or ribbon, and you can wear it around your neck. In the centre of each slice are the magical words ‘Master of Design’. Each slice also comes with its own storage case. And for the few students who graduate cum laude, Atelier Ted Noten added prints of a faceted ‘diamond’. At the end of the ceremony, the students leave with their plastic objects; the cup remains at the school. This ritual has taken place three times so far, from 2010 to 2012.
What most appealed to Ted Noten was the chance to experiment with the relatively new technology of 3D printing. This opens the door to a totally different production process, in which industrial manufacturing no longer entails huge numbers of identical products. Each 3D-printed product can be unique, unlike in the past, when only traditional crafts had that status. Considering the context for this project – an educational programme in search of new perspectives on the domain, tools and methods of the designer – Noten felt that this type of exploration was an integral part of his commission.