Human Nature, designing the equilibrium
a collaboration between Creative Holland and Connecting the Dots
Text by Viveka van de Vliet
Portrait by Boudewijn Bollmann
Beyond the surface
This experimental, researching, open-minded, and questioning designer prefers to collaborate with companies. She enables them to look differently at their production processes and finds successful solutions for those at the brink social change.
The theme of Human Nature and how designers can help restore the balance between nature and humankind immediately summons up a memory for Simone Post, a memory that deals with what, to her, is the essence of design. When she was about eight years old and was camping with her family in France, she noticed how beautiful and ingenious the bottom of the initially boring-looking cow-parsley was. Wondering whether other people had seen the bottom, she wanted to show it to everyone. Probably a recognizable theme, which accurately reflects how, as a designer, you should look at everything: beyond the surface.
The textile, print and product designer applies her amazement, perceptivity, and curiosity in her work. Her designs are about experimentation and material research, and arise from a fascination for how things are made. ‘I look around me and beyond what you see on the surface in society’, says Post. ‘I want to know how things are made, what they look like from the front and the back. By showing what is, in my opinion, beautifully made, and therefore also has a beautiful reverse side, I want to make people aware.
Not only consumers but of course companies as well. ‘As a product designer I notice things. As an outsider in a company I have a fresh perspective. It’s easier for me to ask why they always do something in a certain way. Can it be done differently or better?’ asks Post.
With her ideas and solutions, she always manages to convince an industry to look at their production processes differently and discover new possibilities. ‘And that’s the interesting thing about working with companies. One change can have a big impact’, she says. That is exactly what happened with Vlisco and her successful Post Vlisco project. Her research for Eco-OH!, a Belgian recycling manufacturer of household waste, and her new collaboration with Adidas will undoubtedly also have social impact.
Post Vlisco was her own initiative. Simone Post was doing a work placement at Vlisco as a print designer, when she noticed the enormous amounts of residual materials. She asked what the textile producer did with the waste. A sensitive subject; almost everything was destroyed because they did not want poor quality on the market, and because competitors could possibly copy the prints.
Post convinced Vlisco that it would be able to produce something new with such beautiful fabrics: a carpet for the interior market. The creative director then gave her all the confidence and freedom she needed, as well as a truck full of textile waste. ‘It’s not interesting if you can create something unique from just a waste bin. If you want to answer a waste problem, it needs to be tackled in a big way and in long-term partnership’, says Post. For example, her colourful Post Vlisco carpets were included in the collection of LABEL/BREED, which had two machines made for production of the carpets. The designer is now researching what she would be able to do with smaller scraps of fabric in West Africa for the Vlisco Group. It will need to be a product that can be made in West Africa and provide employment there.
Partly because Simone Post is well known for her Post Vlisco project, companies come to her as well. For example, Eco-OH! asked her to do follow-up research. And the question came from Adidas headquarters whether she would be able to think about a new application for their waste material. Post wanted to make a product out of the company’s most common residual material. From the shredded old shoes that the company takes back via its own collection campaign, Post developed a first prototype that will be presented at the end of April. And ideally with the result that her carpets will be grace the floors of Adidas shops and offices worldwide. ‘The nice thing about this type of assignment is that it’s about large companies who think about how they can produce differently. As a designer, I try to go along with the development of companies that are on the brink social change. Together, we take steps forward that make the front and the back more beautiful.’
This interview belongs to the project Human Nature, designing the equilibrium. Part of this project are live interviews and an exhibition during the Milan Design Week 2018.