In 2014 Simone Post graduated cum laude from the Design Academy in Eindhoven. Since then, the steps she has taken have thrown up quite some dust. Her waste carpets have been nominated for two design prizes. This is part 1 of a series of interviews with designers taking part in Dutch Design Week.
You were quite quick to exchange fashion in Arnhem for design in Eindhoven. Still, textile and fabrics play important roles in your work.
“When I was 14, my parents took me to an exhibition of work by designer Hussein Chalayan. Unbelievable, what you can do with fashion, I thought. But things were different at art school: designing a collection for a particular ‘type’ of woman? Not very interesting. And certainly not because the result is always the same: clothing. No, I wanted to explore and experiment. Focus on one material, and then see what comes of it. That was possible at the Design Academy. I worked with ceramics and wood, but especially with textile. A material that’s just great to work with. Different techniques, colours, patterns, textures...”
You designed carpets with Vlisco’s textile waste. You made the first versions by hand. Truly painstaking work. Tell us what one of your regular days was like at the time. Were you cutting and folding for hours and hours?
“The first tests were made by hand, yes. But when I saw how much textile waste was involved, I knew immediately that a machine was needed. Otherwise you can’t respond to a waste problem on a larger scale. Which is why I’m now exploring options of machine manufacturing. I’m looking into existing machines and processes. I bring the most interesting ones together. I’m assisted by LABEL/BREED from Amsterdam. They know the manufacturers and have a lot of knowledge of these kinds of processes. In addition, they often assist me in sales and distribution. Together you’re strong.”
photo: Auke Hamers
At Vlisco, kilos of fabric are left over each year. Vlisco is also known for being strict about the use and display of its materials. How have you managed to convince them of your idea?
“I did a work placement period as a print designer at Vlisco. I was immediately struck by the enormous mountain of waste. There was a container full of fabric in almost every hall. Of course, I immediately wondered what they did with it. The company is very careful: bad quality is not permitted on the market, so almost everything got immediately destroyed. That’s when I started to think: how can I convince them that you can use such beautiful fabrics for other things? The printed fabrics are sold in the West, but people daren’t wear them. Here they are used for the upholstery of sofas and cushions. That very quickly gave me the idea for the interiors market. I put together a plan with strict criteria. This entailed, for instance, that I wouldn’t turn the waste into products for the textile or fashion market. But also that the prints had to unrecognizable. Vlisco quickly thought it interesting. The creative director trusted me implicitly and gave me a lorry load of textile waste.”
Those same carpets have now been nominated not just for one, but two design prizes. Those are true accolades, aren’t they?
“The nominations (for New Material Award and Dutch Design Awards) are a huge honour. That I even get to take part. I mean: I was still one of the graduates at the Graduation Show last year. Now I’m suddenly in competition with people I looked up to when I was studying. Everything just went so fast last year. It was like a roller coaster. Now I hope of course that those nominations put me in touch with new manufacturers, because I have more ideas. If you bundle your strengths and trust each other, you can concentrate on what you’re good at. In my case, that’s designing.”
You are exhibiting at different venues in Eindhoven this week. In the VDMA building you are one of the driving forces behind the exhibition of a design collective showing all sorts of experiments, but no end products. Please explain.
“Envisions is an idea I worked on with Iwan Pol and Sanne Schuurman. Together we determine the direction for the collective and who we involve in it. Inside the collective, we use each other’s creativity, knowledge and network. Our credo: ‘Everything but the end product’. We literally demonstrate our ideas using samples, tests and trials. To provide insight into our design processes, with the objective of starting a dialogue. End products are only distractive in this. With to the collective, we went to the fair in Milan this year. And later to New York. We received a lot of positive responses to seeing so many experiments. Companies in particular found it a refreshing way of thinking and presenting. The exhibition in Eindhoven is a subsequent step. Four new designers joined. All colourful researchers with a direct and playful working method.”
Finally: Dutch Design Week will be over in nine days’ time and the designers will return to the real world. Any idea what you are going to make then? Or: what can we expect from Simone Post in the coming year?
“Colour and textiles play a main role in my research. I want to draw on this in the coming period. One day, I would love to pursue the plans with Envisions. Give manufacturers ideas and make them look at their manufacturing processes differently. We made a lot of new contacts in New York and Milan. And yes, I’m talking to a seriously interested party. I’m not going to divulge who that is yet. I’m first going to present my book to Minister Jet Bussemakers. She will present the New Material Awards.”
‘The making of’ is the theme for the 15th Dutch Design Week. The anniversary year is fully dedicated to the making process and the makers. Guests of honour are 2500 designers who make the event bigger and the world just a bit better, smarter, handier and more beautiful. For nine whole days in Eindhoven they will be showing their latest work and everything design has to offer.