Marleen Boot

The connections that designers make through Designday regularly lead to beautiful assignments. We record this in a new series of stories: Designday stories. In part 3 of the series: Marleen Boot.

Tired of low-cost, poor-quality disposable, low cost products that surround us every day, Marleen Boot (21) provides us immediately with an alternative. Qualitative and honest products that are beautifully made, both aesthetic and functional, and very durable. What’s more, she makes valuable recyclable products that last a lifetime. That’s why the designer offers a 100 year guarantee on her Furni Fu Ture collection on her website, consisting of a table, ashwood chairs and red clay crockery. Even though it is a conceptual statement, it could still be. If you handle her products with care, they will never leave with you again.

Marleen Boot with her Furni Fu Ture chair was part of Designday at Parcours in September 2017. This was very nice, she says. In 2016 she participated as a MAFAD student in both Designday in Maastricht and Ventura Lambrate in Milan. And last year she was at her own exam show. With Furni Fu Ture she received a lot of attention. Anyone who saw the table immediately dove underneath it.
The table and chairs that make up this collection have a clear, simple design language, but the connections are specific and eye-catching. They are made of wood, so no screw or nail has been used, but they are also detailed, visible, and all round. Boot likes round shapes. ‘And of transparency’, she adds. ‘Round shapes feel more comfortable and break down less quickly. And people understand a transparent product better,’ she explains.

She is also an advocate of 100% recyclable materials that are obtained locally, so that she can keep an eye on quality herself. She gets the ash wood from Staatsbosbeheer in Flevoland and the clay originates from K3Delta, which supplies the material in a responsible manner for most brick factories in the Netherlands. Her table is made by Meubel- en Houtwarenfabriek Merkelbach, an old family business in Lieshout that specializes in curves such as bowling balls and cones.

Marleen Boot initially wanted to become an architect and did the preliminary education at ArtEZ Zwolle. Of all the academies she visited, however, Maastricht stood out, mainly because of the drawing board that stood there. But after a year, Boot knew for sure: she wanted to become a product designer; instead of the space itself, she preferred to create designs in space. At the age of sixteen, she started at the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design (MAFAD) where she graduated in 2017. Although she was already very conscious of the responsibility a designer has in producing sustainable and good products -‘ For me that goes without saying’, she says, her vision was nourished during her internship at Daphna Laurens. ‘Besides the fact that they taught me how use colour and shape studies, they also made me aware of a radio 1 interview with Thomas Rau on the disposable society. Through a teacher of the academy she saw documentaries about e.g. IKEA making products that disintegrate after three moves. Which is bizarre to me. If you make something, it has to be properly put together and also aesthetically pleasing,” she thinks. If there are two red threads to be found in the projects Marleen Boot realized (such as sustainable bread-bakery kit Bread necessary and the Barbeclay barbecue) then these are the two characteristics.

Boot currently wants to develop its tableware further and make it saleable. Because the pure clay is unruly and crockery makes laborious, it shrinks enormously in the oven, she knows. The oven is located at the academy, where she can still use the machines and the ceramics workshop.
Having recently won the promotion prize from the Edmond Hustinx foundation, she wants to put the prize money into mapping out what neighbouring countries have to offer to sustainable companies that work with natural materials. For example, it seems interesting to her to make a tableware with porcelain from Germany and clay from the Netherlands.