Lenneke Langenhuijsen​​

Teacher Design Project at the Master Industrial Design

Lenneke Langenhuijsen is teaching the course Design Project in both years of the Master Industrial Design programme at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague. Together with Brecht Duijf they have established Buro Belén:

About our work

How we see and feel
Our cooperation originates in a basic attitude towards the world, which we recognise and mutually affirm in each other. Rather than coming from a conceptually rigid framework, this attitude is open and responsive, primarily informed by how we see and feel. This attitude explains our design practise and is fundamental to what we hope to achieve. It starts with an awareness of the world surrounding our bodies. Quite simply, what we make comes from what looks and feels good to us. This ‘feeling’ however, is not only sensory but also morally reflexive. For us, something that harms our world does not feel good. In this mode of double consciousness we feel our way through the world, starting with what we wear, and working our way outward to the spaces we are surrounded by and beyond. In this outward spiralling movement we are driven by an insatiable curiosity.

The way we work
Our sensory and conscious approach makes us very material oriented. Physical sensitivity is where the process of our design begins. Perhaps material is more of a method for us than a medium. We use it to translate our attitude into objects. Often this design praxis is deductive. We are first attracted by a certain material. This could be anything, but we love to work with what nature provides us, such as vegetal fibres, natural colourants or wool. At the same time we are also fascinated by synthetic products, such as biopolymers and aerogels (which for 99.7% cosists of air). After we have found an interesting material and studied it, we think what we could make out of it. To make the creative step from matter to object we combine traditional techniques with cutting edge technologies to process and optimise, expand our materials for design applications for modern and future living. In our designs we like to bring out and use the physical qualities of its ingredients. We find that using the strength of each material in this way almost inevitably leads to innovative solutions and results. This often invites us to rethink the conventional functionalities and forms, leading to unexpected outcomes.

What we hope to achieve
We love to make beautiful things but never at the world’s cost. To the contrary: we want a positive impact to be part of our design. Nearly all our designs raise awareness, boost resilience and reduce our environmental footprint, often all at the same time. In addition, some of our designs allow for an intercultural, integrative potential. Our specific way of working, with its focus on materiality, often requires the deconstruction of traditional appliance-user relationships. From this point zero, new designs can instigate or stimulate alternative behavioural codes, transversing cultural practices. To be serious about the future, however, does not mean we necessarily aim for seriousness in our work. We also like to amuse and cherish the playful note.

See also: