It’s no secret that we’re big fans of products that work to reduce waste. Upcycling is getting more popular as people realize that there might still be value in their unwanted items. Our latest Mora Spotlight is shone on Humade, a Dutch business headed by sisters Lotte and Gieke. Producing the New Kintsugi Repair Kit – an innovative gold adhesive for broken ceramics – Humade has gone from strength to strength, and we’re so pleased to be able to be the first British retailer to stock their fun kit. We had a chat with Lotte about Humade’s foray into sustainable design and everything that makes her and her sister tick. If you’re interested in sustainable design, read on!
1. Lotte and Gieke, you two are sisters and co-workers who started Humade. Can you tell us how that came about?
We both share the same passion and true dedication to always finding the right balance between man, product and space. After the design academy we both worked in different fields and always talked about the idea of working together. Eighteen months ago we decided to just do it!
2. What roles do both of you play in the business?
Our collaboration is a continuous dialogue to strengthen each other. Gieke possesses a strong trend and interior vision and myself with a broad interest in materials and new techniques and an eye for detailing.
3. Can you tell us a little bit about your background in product design?
We both studied at the Design Academy in Eindhoven. Gieke specialised in trend and textiles and I in product design. Gieke has worked as a coordinator for a big interior magazine in Holland for more than ten years and I have worked as a product designer in the Netherlands, Milan and London.
4. What gave you the idea to come up with the New Kintsugi Repair Kit?
We were inspired by the repair manifesto of Platform21 "stop recycling, start repairing". Our great grandfather had a ceramic factory in Gouda. Our parents had a big box with broken ceramics from this factory waiting to be repaired.
In New Kintsugi, we’ve found the perfect solution. New kintsugi is an innovative western variant of the ancient Kintsugi - an old Japanese technique to repair with gold. By ‘messy mending’ you emphasize the marks and scars of a product, giving it a new perspective and beauty while offering it longevity.
5. What happens in a typical day for you?
We are product and interior designers and we also do freelance work for interior magazines, so our days are never the same. Our usual days are filled with product design, research, development and production, press events, styling – it goes on!
6. Given The Netherlands is quite famous for its ceramics (especially Delft ceramics), how popular has the kit become there?
This year we exhibited for the second time at the furniture fair in Amsterdam and it's good to hear that people are starting to recognise our product and brand. The kit is now being sold in various design shops.
7. What are your goals for Humade?
We want to grow Humade into an innovative brand with a bespoke and individual character, creating authentic products and projects with an own identity, human character and soul. Things that are a joy to use and to cherish.
Through spreading the word of repair we show the beauty of imperfection and the joy of creation. In our products we also like to blow up one detail, using new materials and techniques and to look for the pure essence of design.
8. Do you have any other innovative products in the pipeline?
Yes! We’ve just launched two new products during the furniture fair in Amsterdam two weeks ago - 'Create me / textile and Create me / wall. Both products are inspired by New Kintsugi.
Create me / textile is a repair DIY kit for your textiles (cottons and linen etc). The kit has more than 100 transfer shapes, which can be ironed on to your textile. It’s a new way to repair, camouflage spots or decorate your fabrics and is suitable for clothes and interior textiles.
Create me / wall is a product that allows to create your own wall design with shapes inspired by tangram. The stickers are replaceable to give you the freedom to create and re-create.
9. The New Kintsugi Repair Kit is intrinsically environmentally friendly, is this an ethos that you try to develop in all your products?
Yes definitely. By repairing we retain the inherent quality and value of a product as well as its origin. We are always searching for interactions between product and its user. Avoiding the need to throw something away is the most environmentally friendly solution.
We also look for unexpected materials to use in up cycling. Sometimes even materials with an imperfection for the function they were made for become perfect and beautiful for it's new use. An example of this is our furniture made out of up-cycled fire-hoses available in striking colours.
10. Now a non-work related question - where is your favourite place in The Netherlands?
Eye film institute in Amsterdam. It’s a beautiful new building just across the 'IJ' river opposite the central station.
11. And Where is your favourite place in Europe?
There are so many lovely places. But after 20 years we went back to Florence and Tuscany and immediately fell in love again. I think it’s time to find a good reason to move there!
12. What is a typical Dutch cuisine that everyone should try?
My Dutch favourite is raw haring with pickles. I also love a hot 'stroopwafel' (syrup waffle), a Dutch-style cookie.
Thank you Lotte and Gieke - we're so excited to be working with you! To see the New Kintsugi Repair Kit at Mora Approved, click here.