Designer Christien Meindertsma Is Pushing the Design Possibilities of Humble Flax

In 2012, Dutch designer Christien Meindertsma fell in love with a plot of flax in the Netherland’s Flevopolder region. For months, she and filmmaker Roel van Tour followed the plot’s farmer as he tended to his crop from seed to plant. The yield attracted a merchant in China, who offered to buy it all—a common scenario in Europe, where 90 percent of the continent’s flax crop ends up in China.

That statistic frustrates Meindertsma, whose practice investigates the convoluted journeys of raw materials as they undergo industrial processing. “I thought it would be a pity for it to disappear after we fell in love with it,” she says of the harvest. “I was also curious about the local production possibilities of this plot.”

Intent on turning the flax into commercially-viable and eco-friendly commodities, she purchased the harvest—all 22,046 pounds of it—before the Chinese buyer could.

Image source: Metropolis