Based in The Hague, in The Netherlands, Studio Nienke Hoogvliet is a intend studio was engaged in information research, experimental and conceptual pattern. Nienke Hoogvliet founded the studio in 2013, and has since been joined by Tim Jongerius. The pair now engage in freelance assignments as well as self-initiated research and design projects that raise awareness of social and environmental problems in the textile, skin and food industry. By creating innovative textile alternatives, they hope to change both the vision and systems.
Tell me a little about your childhood, education and background in terms of how you first became interested in creativity, pattern and sustainability.
Nienke: I grew up in The Hague, a town near the sea in the Netherlands. This is where my kindnes for the beach and the sea started. My mom was always manufacturing things: hemming my invests, building new wardrobes or decorating something a new colour. I acquired her cherish of textile products and becoming. At a young age, she coached me how to use the sewing machine and my creativity could then flow freely. I was a awfully quixotic child. I collected applications against animal tests, didn’t want to eat meat from the age of seven … Later, I went to the Willem de Kooning Academy- an art clas in Rotterdam- and there I learned more about concept increase, research and design. I likewise realized that art or pattern can be a way to raise awareness and to tell storeys. After only three months, I has been determined that I wanted to have my own design studio and see the world how, with my motifs, I could change it for the better. I started Studio Nienke Hoogvliet immediately after graduating in 2013,
Tim: I also grew up in The Hague. As a child, I was already mesmerized by how things work. When I was driving with my parents along the roadway I could recollect every construct assignment there and could explain the progress they had constituted since the last time we progressed it. This way of looking at things developed into questioning things:” Why are things the style they are ?” and” Can’t we do better ?” At the department of Architecture of TU Delft, I developed my’ research and design for a better world’ mentality further, gaining my Master’s in 2017. Nienke and I converged one another in 2005( at “schools ” !) and since that time we have grown together and hugged the idea that layout is the way to change perspectives.
How would you describe your SEA ME and RE-SEA ME jobs?
SEA ME is an ongoing investigate project into how seaweed could serve as a sustainable alternative for textile products and pigments. The SEA ME rug is made of seaweed yarn, knotted by hand into a discarded fishing cyberspace to show the duality of the pollution of the ocean and all the beauty and solutions it could present. Seaweed is a wonderful material, it doesn’t need freshwater or pesticides or insecticides to grow and it doesn’t take over agricultural land.
RE-SEA ME is another investigate programme into which sustainable materials can be created from “the worlds oceans”. Fish skin is often squandered by the fishing industry, and it can be turned into beautiful leather. This projection wants to raise awareness for the same topic as SEA ME, but it presents another potentially sustainable material from the high seas. We made a rug, hand-sewn in a disposed fishing net to appearance the continuation of the topic. And a stool, to demonstrate how strong the fish leather is. It’s one of the amazing calibers that fish leather is actually more powerful than’ regular’ leather since fish have a different type of connective tissue.
What engendered such projects?
Nienke’s love for sort and “the worlds oceans”. The importance to treat them differently, to stop polluting and to see their beauty and potential.
What waste( and other) substances are you abusing, how did you select those particular materials and how do you source them?
As well as seaweed and fish scalps, we have also collaborated with the Dutch Water Authorities, working in collaboration with textiles rehabilitated or established from wastewater. These include reclaimed toilet paper and bio-plastic made from the bacteria that clean the wastewater. Those collaborations were super interesting and we never expected that even wastewater could be such an interesting source of raw materials. It’s very important to show, that even such strange- and let’s be honest dirty, fabrics can have so much better appreciate. If beings realise and accepted this, the change to recycling more materials would just be easier to make.
When did you first become interested in using waste as raw material and what caused the present decision?
It was never our goal to use waste- “were working” from a holistic point of view, which means that we try to take all aspects around a product process into consideration. That often leads to the realization that somewhere in the process, value cloth is not being used. To close that clique, it constitutes gumption to use that material.
What manages do information materials have to undergo to become the finished product?
The fish scalp is turned into leather through natural tan. We wrote a diary, Fish Leather, to explain the process, so everyone can learn how to do it and it’s actually very easy- it only necessary oils and lots of manual labor. For the seaweed it’s more complicated, it requires machines and cannot be done by hand. But the waste from one process can be used for another application, as we testified in the SEA ME Collection. The set of the chair is made from seaweed yarn, the’ waste’ of that process is concluded into a textile dye and is used to dye the seating, the leftovers of the dyeing process are used to create a regular cover for the tabletop, and a bioplastic like substance. We perfectly use the seaweed and have no litter left.
What happens to your products at the end of “peoples lives”- can they go back into the circular economy?
When they cannot be re-used or recycled anymore, they are able to composted and this course they can become food for the soil again. All the materials are biodegradable.
How did you feel the first time you pictured the translation from waste material to product/ prototype?
When you are doing research and experimenting, the convert from waste material to product happens slowly and gradually. At first, you are only paying attention to all the things that don’t work. When you are mastering a material more and more, you start to see the potential and that’s when you get excited. Sometimes it can still feel strange, for example, Nienke is scared of fish and during the tanning sometimes she still feels a bit disgusted, but when the end product is complete, it feels great to have given quality back to something, so it’s all worth noting in the end.
How have beings reacted to this project?
We received so many positive responses! Everyone ever wonders if the products reek( they don’t !) and they are amazed by the qualities and properties of information materials. We think we have changed a lot of perspectives and are looking forward to continuing to do that with all our projects.
How do you feel sentiments towards consume as a raw material are changing?
They are changing for sure. More and more people realize that we cannot maintain this linear economy and that we have to look into the possibilities of debris as a material. But all the more important, more people understand that- and why- we should move towards a circular economy. It is not just about reusing garbage, it’s about looking at operations with its objective to not exhaust countries around the world, the person or persons or the swine. Reusing litter is one of the solutions, but we need to think further, deeper and in roundabouts. We can see that awareness is starting to arise.
What do you think the future holds for waste as a raw material?
We hope that it will become normal to use waste as a raw material and that there will be no more waste- exactly more resources.
Product photos by Femke Poort. Process photos by Hannah Braeken.
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