Christien Meindertsma: Re-forming Waste

Furniture, Textiles and Fashion
November 22, 2023

For the third iteration of Make Good: Rethinking Material Futures, the V&A commissioned Dutch designer Christien Meindertsma to present her groundbreaking research into waste, natural and renewable materials, specifically linoleum and wool.

The result of this collaboration is a display titled Re-forming Waste, a play on words inviting us to look anew at what is considered ‘waste’ material, while referring to the designer’s latest research in creating 3D forms from materials that we more commonly encounter when flat.

A long corridor with removed flooring
Meindertsma upcycles end-of-life products from regional manufacturers, such as linoleum flooring from schools in nearby cities. Credit: Mathijs Labadie

In exploring ideas around ‘waste’, the display considers products destined for landfill, but also surplus and virgin materials with untapped  potential.

The designer working with a robot arm
Christien Meinderstma 3D printing a woollen chair model. Credit: Roel van Tour

Meindertsma’s creative practice focuses on the life cycles of products and raw materials, tackling themes of local production and underexplored resources. Through investigation, experimentation and careful documentation, she suggests sustainable alternatives to the harmful systems of mass production that have become increasingly hidden in modern-day capitalism. In encouraging a deeper understanding of the materials and products that surround us, she also challenges industry to think differently.

A flock of sheep under a tree
The Rotterdam city grazing flock of sheep. Credit: Roel van Tour

The designer’s interest in linoleum and wool stems from her commitment to work with locally sourced natural materials. Linoleum derives in part from flax plants, a low- to zero-waste crop well adapted to the Dutch climate. The wool she uses is sheared from the Rotterdam city grazing flock of sheep, which contributes to the city’s biodiversity. In addition to these virgin materials, Meindertsma upcycles end-of-life products from regional manufacturers, such as linoleum flooring from schools in nearby cities (working with Forbo Flooring Systems), or surplus woollen furnishing fabrics (with Dutch manufacturer Gelderland). 

Woollen objects being made
3D woollen works developed by Meindertsma. Credit: Roel van Tour

Could we make household objects from locally produced linoleum? Could we 3D print wool on an industrial scale? Could our production systems become less energy consuming? Meindertsma’s answer to these questions is ‘yes’, or ‘very soon’. The products and prototypes displayed offer a snapshot of her ongoing research. They indicate the possibility of developing a design industry more in tune with the natural environment, an urgent endeavour in this time of climate crisis. By merging environmental, material and technical knowledge with ambition and creativity, Meinderstma demonstrates how large systems of production could become local, sustainable and innovative.

The themes of the Christien Meinderstma: Re-forming Waste display have been brought together in a film produced by Roel van Tour. Future blog posts will address linoleum and wool more specifically, and offer case studies of some of the pieces on display.

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You can visit the Christien Meindertsma: Re-forming Waste display at the V&A South Kensington, in the Dr Susan Weber Gallery of Furniture (Room 133) from 22 November 2023 until autumn 2024.

1 comment so far, view or add yours


I really enjoyed watching this video. It gives me hope.
I am a weaver – it is so good to see someone focussing on local production. If we do this we will add to the quality of goods, and of life, for people. We will also reduce the disastrous effects of fast fashion and unnecessary global transport. Thank you so much!

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