‘An apple from your own garden is much cooler than a kiwi with jet lag’

‘An apple from your own garden is much cooler than a kiwi with jet lag’
19 August 2021 Bertine Aalderen, van
foto: Sander van der Bij

Willem Meek and Pier Tjepkema van Laif & Nuver en Wieke. Photo: Sander van der Bij.

Wieke Alberts creates a climate-adaptive design for Groningen Ontwerpt (Groningen Designs) for the facade of Laif & Nuver on the Rode Weeshuisstraat. She works with old ropes, fishing nets and grass seeds.

Can you briefly describe yourself and your work?
‘As a spatial designer, I look for social edges and issues related to the environment or other exciting themes that really matter. As designers, we are increasingly given the responsibility to show people what kind of world we really live in, so that people can make more conscious choices in their daily lives. How do we get closer to nature in a world where money plays a very important role? If we look through the eyes of man, what is really important?’

What assignment are you working on and for which company?
‘I am making a design for the new building of Laif and Nuver which has climate adaptation as its theme. In the city centre drainage, too little greenery, too little shade and too much heat are increasingly becoming a problem. The challenge for me in the design is to integrate themes such as greening, cooling and flora and fauna, thereby allowing Mother Earth’s right to exist and to grow.’

What (waste) material will you use and why?
‘I will be working with ropes and fishing nets from the sea. Ropes in all colours and sizes wash up on the beach of the island of Terschelling. It is almost impossible to know where these ropes come from. It seems that every country has its own colour palette. Orange and dark blue ropes are usually found on Dutch beaches, while in Portugal, for example, there is a lot of turquoise on the beach. The ropes and nets together form the colours of the rainbow. The colours of the ropes may be beautiful, but it is terrible how devastating they are to nature and marine life.’

Where do you get your inspiration?
‘I find ropes and nets inspiring material. It is strong, is resistant to water and you can use it in various old crafts such as knotting techniques. Through the ropes, I let the voice of the sea be heard on the land. She is not heard well enough underwater. The intention is to integrate nature into the ropes with grass seed.’

What do you think of the theme of climate adaptation?
‘Climate adaptation is an important theme. It took a while before the world was ready, but now it has become the topic of conversation! Mega stables, overfishing, ill-considered architecture, silly buying behaviour and plastic are examples that worry me. Perhaps small-scale living is important to pass the responsibility back to the people so that we may derive satisfaction from the little things. An apple from your own garden is much cooler than a kiwi with jet lag.

The risk is that we, as humans, are limited in our actions and blame ourselves for all the misery, while the power lies with money. In my opinion, that is where the change can start. I am very happy that more and more smart solutions are emerging to meet the needs of nature.’

You can see the end result on Sunday 26 September at Laif & Nuver, Rode Weeshuisstraat 7. Wieke will be present and will be happy to discuss the design and production process with you. Hopefully we’ll see you then!

Wieke Alberts is the first designer of Groningen Ontwerpt 2021 that we introduce, followed by Ditmar van Dam, Zhenni Tian, ​​Carolijn Slottje and Lieve van Meegen.