With his label Livable designer Sep Verboom (°1990, works in Ghent) cooperates with traditional communities in the Philippines, Indonesia and Brazil. Together with local people Verboom creates projects in which crafts, social engagement, design and human contact beautifully merge. As these communities don’t have professional structures the final product is always unique. Beautiful examples are the FAN project (2014) in the Philippines’ Cebu City, for which he recycled the metal structure of fans and combined these with newly made rotan structures in lamps, and the Caro Barro project (2016) in the Brazilian Vale do Jequitinhonha, where he made ceramic vases that combine traditional local techniques with a contemporary design. Line by line Verboom also integrates this knowledge into industries such as Belgian companies Vincent Sheppard, for whom he designed the Aya-collection, and Papilio, for whom he designed the Rope Rugs. Doing so, he wants to realise his final goal: a social, ecological and qualitative revolution of the traditional industries.
While designers at the beginning of the industrial revolution aimed for functional pieces that were easy to produce, product and material designer Linde Freya (°1987, works in Brussels) wants to reintegrate the human touch in these machine-made pieces. To reach this goal she looks with her studio Destroyers/Builders for new, more refined applications of raw and often natural or recycled materials. A beautiful example is her Carved Series (2016). Although the objects are made from an at first sight poor material such as chipwood, they got enriched through a new application of the traditional carved wood technique. By using nuanced, partly transparent colours Freya wants to reveal the power of the original material. She manages to create tactile, sensible and emotionally overwhelming pieces that appeal to all of your senses. Doing so, she brings wealth into daily objects. To obtain more pleasurable objects for our homes and offices she strives to infiltrate these more human-based ideas into her projects.
Trained as a textile designer Laura Caroen (°1989, works in Ghent) is passionate about materials as such, and in particular about natural or recycled flexible fibres. In order to fully understand these materials she explores them to the core. This process of unravelling features the first phase of Caroen’s design process. With this primordial material she experiments in a search for new techniques, possibilities and functions. In a second phase she looks for solutions such as weaving, braiding and knotting to reconnect the fibres. To get inspired Caroen likes to travel to countries such as Brazil, which are a treasury for natural materials and traditional craft techniques. As she’s very conscious about the value of materials herself, she loves to use recycled materials and to work with communities that attach importance to their raw materials. Moreover she loves participative collaborations and cross-pollination. Although Caroen positions herself in between art and design, she integrates more and more function into her installations.
For the fifth year in a row journalist and curator Elien Haentjens (°1983, works in Brussels) brings the best of Belgian design to MADE. As a journalist she specializes since 2006 in the fields of art and design. Since 2012 she uses this knowledge to curate exhibitions about Belgian collectable design in Brazil. While she showed finished pieces during the first three editions, she decided to intensify the Belgian-Brazilian dialogue by inviting Belgian designers to work with Brazilian artisans. For the newest project she asked three Belgian designers to work with the artisans of Santa Isabel in the Delta of Parnaíba in Piauí. By organising these projects Haentjens wants to create bridges between cultures without neglecting their fundamental values. Through design and art she wants to make people confident enough to open up for the other, and to strive for a global dialogue without loosing their own identity and local culture. Doing so, she wants to conquer on one side the destructive power of globalisation and on the other neolocalism and neonationalism.