Li An Phoa (NL) + Maria Blaisse (NL)

Abundance – Beyond Waste

September 10th – September 16th 2017

The Workshop

What happens when you discover how forms are being formed? This workshop addresses designers broadly, including artists, architects and engineers. Whether you work with materials or strategies, design is a core activity in every aspect of our society. The adverse side effects of our designs are not directly visible but often have a destructive impact on our living systems. Designers have a key role to play in how we relate with the Earth’s materials.

This week starts with an exploration of water, our basic material, by sensing its qualities of shaping, moving, storing, etc. We will apply our water experiences to broadened experiments with wood. From there onwards, we will create our next steps towards a concrete application with any natural material that appeals to you.

In short, we will:
- Get insights into specific laws of life.
- Find our individual understanding of the complexity and simplicity in form and matter.
- Develop a skilfulness working with one material and awaking us to its endless possibilities.
- Align a design process with the living qualities inherent to matter and form.

Bob de Graaf is a designer who will support this process with fotos and videos.

Li An Phoa Netherlands

Li An Phoa is a whole systems ecologist, philosopher and entrepreneur, who engages people in a holistic worldview – a living network of inseparable patterns of relationships. She creates events, outdoor learning experiences and projects around landscapes, food and water by inviting people into a sensorial and inquiring relationship with each other and the earth. She weaves ecosystems and cross-pollinates relations by building bridges among people, disciplines and industries. She works with large organisations such as Triodos Bank, Unilever and the Rwandan Ministry of Health as well as with innovative farmers, artists and indigenous people. She is a university lecturer at e.g. the Erasmus University and Leiden University.

Her current project, Drinkable Rivers, includes a source-to-sea river curriculum that moves along, learns from and takes care of rivers as indicators for a new economy and a regenerative society. With her nomadic school Spring College, she brings together university students, entrepreneurs, investors, teams, families, and children on walks – grounding our daily life choices (economy) in accordance with the logic of life (ecology). She is a conceptual artist and her life – living nomadically for a decade while walking ten thousands of kilometres – is a form of art in itself.

Maria Blaisse Netherlands

Maria Blaisse (born 1944) studied textile design at Gerrit Rietveld Academy. Since 1985 she works as an independent designer and international visiting professor, sharing her way of working in projects on “material, form and movement”: “My work is based on a continual investigation into the possibilities of a material. This process produces many possible applications of a material. Essential factors are simplicity, clarity, beauty, sustainability and an optimal use of the material and its qualities. Ultimately: to incite the flow of continuous creation, no waste, no loss of energy alert and alive.” Maria Blaisse taught textile design for 17 years at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. For many years she has been at the forefront of research and education in craftsmanship in textiles and flexible design. She created a language in forms that can be universally understood – an Esperanto of rubber, gauze, felt, leather, glass, and bamboo – all based on one specific form.

Blaisse’s interests lie in the intersections between art, fashion and architecture and incorporate video, performance and photography as well as an exploration of sculptural performance with the body as a critical element in the animation of material and form. At present she works with flexible bamboo constructions for architecture.

She collaborated, amongst others, with Issey Miyake, Paula Abdul, ISO Dance NY, Camper, Goods, and SlowLab Research.

Maria Blaisse participated in major design exhibitions in Kyoto, Paris, Perth, London, and Amsterdam. Recent exhibitions include shows at the Noguchi Museum and the Pratt Manhattan Gallery, both in New York, as well as “Slow Dialogues: Time, Space and Scale” at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Recent publications include: The Emergence of Form (2013). Maria Blaisse lives and works in Amsterdam.


  • Accommodation & food are included
  • We can accommodate for special catering
  • All participants sleep in dormitories
  • To book a private room or bring additional guests, get in touch:


  • Our staff are available to help you conceptualize & produce your designs
  • Tools & materials are provided by Boisbuchet
  • All workshops are taught in English
  • The number of participants is limited to 22