Studio Nienke Hoogvliet Turns Seaweed and Fish Skin into Rugs, Fabrics + Leather

Studio Nienke Hoogvliet Turns Seaweed and Fish Skin into Rugs, Fabrics + Leather

Based in The Hague, in The Netherlands, Studio Nienke Hoogvliet is a designing studio specializing in fabric research, experimental and conceptual design. Nienke Hoogvliet founded the studio in 2013, and has since been joined by Tim Jongerius. The duet now engage in freelance activities as well as self-initiated research and design projects that raise awareness of social and environmental problems in the textile, leather and food industry. By establishing innovative substance alternatives, they hope to change both perspectives 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 beach in the Netherlands. This is where my adoration for the beach and the sea started. My mom was always performing things: hemming my robes, improving new wardrobes or painting something a brand-new complexion. I acquired her adoration of textile products and drawing. At a young age, she educated me how to use the sewing machine and my invention could then flow freely. I was a awfully quixotic child. I elevated 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 artwork school in Rotterdam- there are still I learned more about concept developing, research and design. I likewise realized that art or layout can be a way to raise awareness and to tell floors. After merely 3 month, I has been determined that I wanted to have my own design studio and testify the world how, with my blueprints, I could change it for the very best. I started Studio Nienke Hoogvliet immediately following graduating in 2013,

Tim: I also grew up in The Hague. As a child, I was already fascinated by how things work. When I was driving with my mothers along the roadway I could recollect every build job there and could explain the progress they had fixed since the last time we progressed it. This way of looking at things developed into questioning things:” Why are things the highway they are ?” and” Can’t we done 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 fulfilled each other in 2005( at high school !) and since that time we have grown together and embraced the relevant recommendations that blueprint is the way to change perspectives.

How would you describe your SEA ME and RE-SEA ME projects?

SEA ME is still under study programme into how seaweed could serve as a sustainable alternative for textile products and stains. The SEA ME carpet is made of seaweed yarn, knotted by hand into a thrown-away fish net to show the duality of the pollution of the ocean and all the beauty and solutions it is capable of present. Seaweed is a wonderful material, it doesn’t need freshwater or pesticides or insecticides to grow and it doesn’t take up agricultural land.

RE-SEA ME is another investigate programme into which sustainable textiles can be created from “the worlds oceans”. Fish skin is often consumed by the fishing industry, and it can be turned into beautiful leather. This project wants to raise awareness for the same topic as SEA ME, but it depicts another potentially sustainable substance from the sea. We made a rug, hand-sewn in a jettisoned fishing net to depict 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 inspired this project?

Nienke’s love for sort and “the worlds oceans”. The hurry to treat them differently, to stop polluting and to see their charm and potential.

What waste( and other) cloths are you exerting, how did you select those particular materials and how do you source them?

As well as seaweed and fish barks, we have also collaborated with the Dutch Water Authorities, to work with fabrics rehabilitated or caused 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 “couldve been” 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 significance. If parties recognized and accepted this, the change to recycling more substances would be easier to make.

When did you first become interested in using waste as raw material and what motivated this decision?

It was never our goal to use waste- we work from a holistic point of view, which means that we try to take all aspects around a creation process into consideration. That often leads to the realization that somewhere in the process, invaluable textile is not being used. To close that clique, it manufactures smell to use that material.

What procedures do the materials have to undergo to become the finished product?

The fish skin is turned into leather through natural tanning. We wrote a record, Fish Leather, to explain the process, so everyone can learn how to do it and it’s actually very easy- it only requires lubricants 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 demo in the SEA ME Collection. The sit of the chair is made from seaweed yarn, the’ waste’ of that process is built into a textile dye and is used to dye the seating, the leftovers of the dyeing process are used to create a regular decorate for the tabletop, and a bioplastic like textile. We fully use the seaweed and have not yet been squander left.

What happens to your concoctions at the end of their life- can they go back into the circular economy?

When they cannot be re-used or recycled anymore, they are able to composted and this nature they can become food for the grunge again. All the materials are biodegradable.

How did you feel the first time you witnessed the change from waste material to product/ prototype?

When you are doing research and experimenting, the modification 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 outraged, but when the end product is complete, it feels huge to have given appraise back to something, so it’s all worth it 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 “youre feeling” minds towards consume as a raw material are changing?

They are changing for sure. More and more beings is known that we cannot maintain this linear economy and that we have to look into the possibilities of debris as training materials. But all the more important, more beings understand that- and why- we should move towards a circular economy. It is not just about reusing consume, it’s about looking at treats with its objective to not exhaust the planet, the people or the animals. Reusing squander is one of the solutions, but we need to think further, deeper and in haloes. 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- precisely more resources.

Product photos by Femke Poort. Process photos by Hannah Braeken.

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