On Saturday 29 October during Dutch Design Week the Dutch Design Awards were presented. The winner in the Product category, FLAX Chair by Christien Meindertsma, impressed the international jury on all fronts, and won the Future Award: the big prize for the most promising design for the future. Dutch Design Awards were awarded in six categories. In addition, there were special prizes for young talent (Young Designer Award), clients (Best Client Award) and a Public Award.
In this project, Christien Meindertsma once again impressed the jury with her thorough approach. She has been conducting research into the potentials of flax as a material for many years; Meindertsma even bought a flax farm to gain an understanding of how the material can be cultivated and processed. This project is clearly about more than just another chair: it is the result of long-term research into the material qualities of flax, a desire to reinstate the value of a largely underrated fibre (the short flax fibre), and seeking to connect with Dutch companies to launch a new product on the market. Working in collaboration with Label Breed and Enkev, these efforts culminated in an astonishingly elegant result.
Flax is a locally produced affordable chair, made from flax and PLA. The material is cut to rectangular lengths, after which pressure and heat melt the different pattern sections into a shell with front and back legs. The flax fibres remain visible in the end product.
“For a long time I wanted to design a locally made product from sustainable material that has the potential of becoming a mainstream product and that can tell its own story about all the steps it took to become this product. In my practice this chair could be the first design in which all these aspects are combined in one thing” – says Chirstien about her work.
The jury considers the FLAX Chair an excellent example of what contemporary design can achieve.