Where beach-goers may see bothersome seaweed, Dutch designer Nienke Hoogvliet sees opportunity.
For the past two years, Hoogvliet has studied the materiality and sustainability of seaweed from her conceptual design studio in Delft, the Netherlands. Focusing on the potential of seaweed as textile, Hoogvliet created a natural sea algae yarn, which formed the basis of her first project, a hand-knotted rug dubbed 'Sea Me'.
That was just the start of Hoogvliet’s exploration into all that seaweed has to offer – after the success of the algae-based yarn, she broadened the scope of her research, embracing a zero-waste approach to her designs. This has culminated in her latest release – the 'Sea Me' collection, which brings seaweed directly into the living room.
The collection is made up of a chair, table and bio-plastic bowls, each of which utilise a part of the seaweed-textile production process. The woven chair, which is comprised of a simple, pale-green tubed frame, is backed by a soft seaweed yarn, dyed with seaweed pigment.
'Natural dye with seaweed offers a wide variety of colours,' Hoogvliet says of the dying process, which, depending on the seaweed, offers a colour range from greens and browns to pinks and purples. 'Every type of seaweed gives a different colour. The light fastness of the dye is proven to be more than qualified.'
The waste from these processes is then repurposed into a paint, which coats the collection’s tabletop, and bio-plastic used to create the earthy, decorative bowls. This collection is the next step for Hoogvliet, who 'would love to see a future with a more sustainable textile industry and full use of the seaweed potentials'.