Wooden Textiles from Buro Belén AT MX2016 4
Design Fellow | 2017


RCMC Design Fellows 2017

Buro BELÉN were selected as RCMC Design Fellows in 2017.


BuroBélen (Brecht Duijf & Lenneke Langenhuijsen) is a design studio based in Amsterdam. By broadening and expanding the material qualities of spaces, objects and products, BuroBélen creates tangible design for the future. During their work, they try to look at processes from different angles and different cultures: the aim is not only to learn from each other, but also to implement things in an equal way.

“Wooden Textiles” is a project BuroBélen has been working on since 2010, where they collaborate with craftsmen from the Pacific. The project is about tapa making, which is one of the first methods of making textiles. The basic material for “Wooden Textiles” is taken from the mulberry tree, the cambium. A tapa is a soft and flexible wooden cloth that Tongans use for rituals like weddings and funerals. The basis for the ancient craft of tapa-making is the inner bark of the paper mulberry tree. Original tapa have a fascinating beauty but lack the practical qualities needed for contemporary use. This project was professionalised in 2014 under the name of Cambials. The most important aspect for BuroBélen was their collaboration with the Tongan craftspeople. For the Tongan craftspeople the project is a way of exporting their product, and for BuroBélen it is creating a biodegradable material for the Western market.

For their month-long RCMC Fellowship, they exmined the RCMC woven materials to develop a new project and co-organized the workshop, Design Beyond the West: Interwoven Futures.