© Ana Maria Gomez

Modern Craft

The art of hacking traditional crafts

23 November 2021

The art of hacking traditional crafts

By Ana María GomezMargaux MinodierSep VerboomAlexander MarinusNoémie Le MeurAmandine DavidAurélie Defez and  Studio Minimètre x BlackWool

How do our traditional crafts confront today's innovative techniques? Modern Craft presents Brussels artisans who combine innovation and know-how in their woven creations. They try to hack each in their own way the technical and conceptual  limits of the art of weaving. A fusion of today's advanced technologies and traditional handwork, from craft to industrial.

Can handicrafts be hacked by innovation and digitization? Some of the designers here presented literally hack the texture of a raw material with digital techniques such as 3D printing or industrial robotised machines. Others interpret the gap between industry and the world of crafts as an opportunity for a co-creative design process in which both reinforce each other. But how can crafts create a social economical impact with an innovative perspective? Discover how the designers in Modern Craft hack, provocate or rethink with an ecological or social economical approach our current fashion & design production system. 

Circular wool rugs

By Margaux Minodier

In collaboration with Lottozero and Casalis

Circular Wool Rugs is a design project by textile designer Margaux Minodier, in collaboration with the Italian incubator Lottozero and the Belgian textile manufacturer Casalis. The project, which is translated into a rug, combines the artisanal local know-how with industrial production on a European scale. It represents a natural way of working at a responsible production cost. The circular wool rug is made exclusively of wool from meat and milk sheep, whose wool is usually discarded or burned. To reveal the purity of the material Margaux Minodier creates relief effects. She plays with the raw wool and explores its digital aesthetic.The wool is therefore not dyed and still unprocessed.

Minodier worked together with the carpet manufacturer Casalis from Kortrijk to create the relief in the rug using their industrial robotized tufting machine. Circular Wool Rugs was made possible with the support of the Federation Wallonia-Brussels and the WORTH Partnership Project of the European Union.

Margaux Minodier is a Brussels-based textile designer who studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Her work combines craft and industry with culture. Pixels, glitch, looms, tufting,... Minodier adapts traditional know-how to the modern digital revolutions.

Knotting Knitting

By Ana Maria Gomez

Knotting Knitting responds to the homely feeling experienced through living and leisure. The idea of traveling furniture pieces that are moved around the house according to the needs of the users was an inspiration for Ana Maria Gomez. It feels more natural to think about furniture that responds to what your body demands rather than the other way around. 

Knotting Knitting is a knitted textile piece constructed with filled bands. It can be reshaped to seat, sleep, read, cover up or lie down. It’s made to adapt actively to the human body and to provide any kind of comfort with a warming touch. Made in Belgium with Italian yarn.

Amgs is a design studio on textile research created by Colombian designer Ana María Gómez in 2015, after finishing a Master’s degree in Textile Design at La Cambre in Brussels. Since 2019, Véronique van Lierde joined the design studio. The two now work together on artistic projects with a special focus on textiles and music. Amgs makes pieces that go from wearable items to eclectic functional furniture. The aim is to experiment with the visual, tactile and spatial dimensions of textiles.

Matière primaire

By Alexander Marinus & Noémie Le Meur

One might associate sheep farming and agriculture solely with the countryside, but this documentary proves us that Brussels is the home of an urban network of creators that produce, experiment and work with local textiles. The link between the urban and countryside textile production forms the red threads in this documentary. It is an embodiment of how landscapes, people, cities and non-human life forms are all part of a co-creative textile ecosystem.

This film will take a closer look at a series of Belgium-based textile creators (artists, designers, artisans, textile lab) and the partners they collaborate with on a regular basis. The links between urban and countryside textile production are one of the red threads in this film, and an embodiment of how landscapes, people, cities and other-than-human life forms are all part of a co-creative textile ecosystem. Several textile techniques are transposed to editing techniques, in order to treat the filmed footage like a textile material. 

Matiere Primaire (working title) is a hybrid documentary in process that will be finished in May 2022. A first raw edit with a selection of raw film material is presented as part of Modern Craft.

Alexander Marinus is a multidisciplinary designer with a strong interest in the relationship between culture, society and nature. He strives to bring them together in his body of work, which encompasses material research, textile design, film, writing and has resulted in tapestries, machines, experimental documentary film and everything in between. Marinus graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2017. Since 2021, he has his studio in the Design residence at MAD Brussels. In that same year, he won the Golden Henry Van De Velde 'Crafts by Bokrijk' award with his design label 'Hey Jute'. 

Noémie Le Meur is a textile designer specialised in working with plant fibres such as hemp and linen. She obtained a master’s degree in textile design at the Académie des Beaux Arts in Brussels in 2020. Since then, she has participated in several projects based in Belgium as a one-off speaker or consultant in the field of textiles, plant fibres and natural dyeing.

Noémie Le Meur

In memory of

By Noémie Le Meur

'In memory of' is a carpet, designed to be made entirely by hand. Each step, from the combed fibre to the textile piece, is made in Brussels. This carpet is made from Walloon hemp fibres, European flax fibres and non-woven linen, produced in France.

Dyeing these vegetal fibres with natural pigments required the development, through scientific trial and error, of a precise recipe and protocol to obtain the desired colours.  The dyed fibres are then applied onto the non-woven base through a signature machine stitching technique that imitates traditional carpet making. 

The pattern, determined in advance, evolves during the construction of the carpet, making every piece a completely unique hybrid of tradition and innovation. It is a totally handmade work and each step of production is traceable.This carpet is like a dream, imitating the furs of extraordinary animals.

Noémie Le Meur is a textile designer specialised in working with plant fibres such as hemp and linen. She obtained a master’s degree in textile design at the Académie des Beaux Arts in Brussels in 2020. Since then, she has participated in several projects based in Belgium as a one-off speaker or consultant in the field of textiles, plant fibres and natural dyeing.

Studio Minimètre & BlackWool

Pénélope weaving kit & Needle pin

By Studio Minimètre & BlackWool

With two common design projects, the Pénélope weaving kit and the Needle pin, Studio Minimètre and BlackWool combine their knowledge as industrial designers and craftsmen/women. Their goal is to offer accessible and easy-to-use handmade tools. The Penelope weaving kit is a 3D printed object made from a thermoplastic polyester (PLA) recycled from mussel shells. The mussel shells are collected from restaurants in Normandy and the wool comes from unused wool waste that BlackWool recovers and recycles. 

Blackwool is a project founded in 2019 by Pauline Dornat, who graduated from La Cambre, and later joined by Quentin Brucker. Their goal is to valorize local wool and modernize the industry by reintroducing artisanal know-how in the city of Brussels. 

Studio Minimètre is a duo of industrial designers based in Brussels. Bérénice de Salvatore, who graduated from La Cambre and Bastien Chevrier, who studied at ECAL, develop 3D printed objects out of recycled and compostable materials. 

"We collaborate with designers and craftsmen, combining know-how and 3D printing to create unique objects."

Studio Minimètre

Please have a seat - Biennale Interieur


By Sep Verboom

In collaboration with Auping

To celebrate Auping's fiftieth anniversary in Belgium, the Dutch Bed manufacturer challenged local young design talent Sep Verboom to create an artistic installation about his sustainable dream world based on the Cleopatra's sofa bed. Sep Verboom expresses his vision and environmental commitment by using raw rattan. The rattan comes from Indonesian forests and is certified sustainably produced.

The artistic installation of Sep Verboom on the Cleopatra's sofa bed is linked to the 'Wajang Melamun', which means 'dream doll' in Indonesian Javanese. It is a mythical guardian angel who rises from a bed frame and casts a glimpse into our human world. With his interpretation on the frame, Verboom wants to inspire others to keep dreaming awake. To reflect on life in our society and to let our creativity flow in all aspects of our lives. Preferably dreaming of a better world, where everyone treats each other with respect.

Ghent-based creative Sep Verboom is at once designer and social entrepreneur. He is less concerned with the objectification of the result, more with the context in which it takes place. Verboom graduated with a degree in Industrial Design (HOWEST) and in Sustainable Development (VIVES) both in Kortrijk, Belgium. In 2018 Sep Verboom won the Belgian Henry Van De Velde Award for 'Young Talent'. In 2020 his commitment to socially engaged design earned him the prestigious title ‘Designer of the Year’ by Biennale Interieur.

"Wajang Melamun (Indonesian Javanese for dreamy doll) is a mythical guardian angel who rises from the bed frame and glimpses into our human world. I want to inspire others to keep daydreaming. Preferably about a better world where we treat and protect each other with respect. Thinking about society and embracing creativity in every possible aspect of our lives."

Sep Verboom

eAt ThE rIcH 

By Aurélie Defez

In the fashion industry, reference models are often still provided by luxury brands. Because luxury clothing is offered far too expensively and is therefore unaffordable for the general public, it confirms the elitist position of the rich. In a capitalist society, certain aesthetics are consistently valued higher than others. This inevitably creates a social hierarchy. 

'eAt ThE rIcH' is a clothing collection that questions the absurdity of this trend and at the same time the current state of fashion. Viral quotes and texts are embroidered on everyday garments and accessories . By combining cheap garments with sophisticated embroidery, the project challenges the hierarchical organization of tastes in fashion.

Aurélie Defez graduated in 2021 from the Design Academy Eindhoven. She is currently following the master program at the ERG Saint-Luc - School of Graphic Research in Brussels. She situates her work between design and research. 

Weaving Code

By Amandine David, designer & researcher
Cinematography by Alex Pistorius
Computational design by Metriek - Sebastiaan Leenknegt


Weaving Code is at the intersection between hand weaving, programming and 3D printing. It connects hand weaving to 3D printing by generating the computer language of 0's and 1's from a weaving loom.  As a piece of textile is produced on the loom, an object with the same binary code is printed by the computer. By converting weaving patterns into a programming language, Weaving Code aims to explore how traditional crafts and digital tools can reinforce each other and offer an alternative interpretation of technology in general.

Amandine David is a designer and researcher based in Brussels. Her work focuses on the development of design processes, between traditional crafts and digital practices. Amandine is also the co-founder of Hors Pistes, a nomadic residency program that initiates encounters between artisans and designers and promotes the sharing of know-how and transdisciplinary and intercultural collaborations.

From 9 December 2021 to 27 February 2022, MAD presents these Brussels-based forward-looking designers and artists in a showcase project. Admire their work from outside or take a look inside from Monday to Friday, from 11:00 to 18:00. More practical information can be found HERE!