Christien Meindertsma's Flax chair has won two Dutch Design Awards for its innovative use of flax fibre combined with bioplastic.
The furniture is made from biodegradable flax fibres combined with polylactic acid (PLA), a bioplastic made from sugar cane or corn starch.
The chair's shallow seat is made from a single panel, cut from one piece of the composite. The remaining material is divided and folded to form the V-shaped front and back legs. This method means no composite is left over or wasted.
Meindertsma has spent several years researching the possibilities of flax, even investing in crops from a flax farm to better understand the plant's cultivation and processing.
"What I like about flax is that it's a precious material that was traditionally used for high-quality fabric, but also the fact that the plant grows really well in our climate," said the Dutch designer. "There's a good reason to work with the plant because it needs very little to grow."
Meinderstma – whose interest in materials previously led her to design a book documenting the many products made from pigs – is currently exploring how flax could be used to make other furniture, including tables. She's also working on adding new colours to the existing chair design.
The Flax chair won in the Dutch Design Awards' Product category and was also the recipient of the Future Award – given to the most promising design for the future. The awards were presented on 29 October 2016 during Dutch Design Week.
"I think that as a designer nowadays we should not think we are all making the antiques of the future," added Meindertsma. "We should create products that can be part of a circular system, and are designed considering what material goes into the product and what it leaves behind after use."
Former winners at the awards have included a web narrative that presented life in a refugee camp, a virtual 10-year-old girl designed to tackle sex tourism and a collection of 3D-printed garments created by Iris van Herpen.