In November we organised a partner meeting for the project Local Make Place in the library in Leens. The designers, clients, suppliers, policymakers and partners involved in the project and the design collection that we have realised for the library were present. It was nice to meet in person after a long time.
During the afternoon, we discussed the opportunities for a circular manufacturing industry in the Northern Netherlands. We explained the working method of House of Design and then showed – with the products and the materials research of the designers – what this working method means in practice.
Eileen Blackmore of House of Design gave an update on the project and explained how House of Design uses the local value chain model to achieve a local circular manufacturing industry: ‘With this meeting we are one step further in connecting the links and we can make it clear that it pays to think and work in a chain.’
Dot on the Groningen horizon
After the introduction of Eileen and a welcome speech by Ilona Ebels of Biblionet Groningen, the designers gave a presentation about their products, prototypes, material research, working method and chain.
Designer Simone Larabi: ‘On this afternoon, there was feedback to the partners in the chain. It was nice to hear that they agree with your story, that what you have come up with is relevant and that there are opportunities to take this further together. The network that has developed around this project in the meantime brings with it knowledge, production possibilities and a sales market. The convergence of these partners in the chain creates a dot on the Groningen horizon, a dot that is rapidly approaching.’
We then entered into a discussion with the partners about what is needed to take the project further. Gert Noordhoff of The Grain Republic about the opportunities for straw: ‘Straw is now a low-grade material. It is interesting to investigate how we can increase this value.’ He also noted: ‘There is also a leak in the chain at the end of the product. It does not return to the farmer and so the nutrients do not return to the soil where it was harvested.” He would like to explore this further.
Hugo Majoor, circular economy policy advisor at the municipality of Het Hogeland, indicates that various initiatives are underway in the municipality: ‘We must try to bring the chain together. We are looking for scalability. This way, we can make it more valuable. We have to look closely at the local raw materials.’ With regard to the role of the government, he notes that he needs examples to include colleagues in the story. There is a demand for practical examples.
The final exhibition that we are organising around Local Makers Place in the spring of 2022 lends itself well to this. It is a good time to invite people and organise conversations in a targeted way.
Thanks to all involved: on behalf of the client requesting the design collection: Ilona Ebels and Birte Buwalda from Biblionet Groningen. Suppliers Gert Noordhoff of the Grain Republic and Marten Strating of Strating’s stonecutting business. Policy advisor Hugo Majoor of the municipality of Het Hogeland. Partners: Willem Brons from Werkplein Ability and Marja Heijnen and Dorien Fink from De Holm. And, of course, the LMP design team consisting of Marc Paulusma (absent), Paul Bloemers, Volken de Vlas and Gerard de Hoop (absent) from Studio VOLOP and Simone Larabi.
Below you can see the prototypes of the designers.
Photography: Janna Bathoorn.