Hugo de Boon and Koen Meerkerk are a creative duo behind Fruitleather Rotterdam. Passionately rediscovering the value of things that have been labelled as useless, they are claiming a place in today's circular economy. With a Bachelor degree in Spatial Design, the two young designers have placed their focus on the development of materials.
Ever imagined yourself sitting in a chair where the upholstery is made entirely out of discarded fruit?
Are you inspired by the same thing? / Two peas in a pod or completely different?
We are definitely very different when it comes to our personality. However, we are inspired by the same thing: turning something that is seen as garbage into something with value.
What is your favourite WdKA memory?
There are lots of moments that come to mind from the start of Fruitleather Rotterdam. There are a few things that really stick out though. For instance when we had taken over a classroom on the fifth floor and turned it into our fruitleather production space. We had to take the elevator to the third floor and carried the rest of the fruit to the fifth floor leaving a trail of sticky fruit juice behind. We had a lot of fun doing this and the guys from the Facility Services made the task even more fun. We also have very fond memories spending time in the wood and metal workshops of Material Station with the instructors.
How did your collaboration start?
Hugo: Our collaboration had started during the last year of our study. Koen and I joined forces and started our fruitleather project. We had been friends and classmates from day one of our study at the Willem de Kooning.
How did your collaboration become a success? Was it a long way full of hardships or did it ‘just happen’?
The media helped a lot to make our company a success, by creating a lot of publicity for us and this opened a lot of doors. It had given us a chance to get in contact with the right people and build a strong network. There has definitely been a lot of ups and downs but part of it also "just happened" indeed. The combination of the two helped us to get where we are now.
Fruitleather Wassily Chair
Ever imagined yourself sitting in a chair where the upholstery is made entirely out of discarded fruit? We proudly present the Fruitleather Wassily Chair, finished with an exciting crocodile pattern. This prototype was on display during the Dutch Design Week. Created in collaboration with designer Jordi Verbaan.
Are you pioneers?
We are definitely pioneers as we are working on something that had never been done before. This means there is a lot of experimenting and trial and error in order to get the results we are looking for.
What is the future of your profession in your opinion?
The future of our profession is hopefully a radical change in the leather industry. We hope to be able to apply our material to products where traditional leather is normally used.
You never leave your house without…?
Drinking a big cup of coffee first.
Any words of advice to future students?
Make good use of all the facilities that WdKA provides. Challenge yourself by trying out new techniques and materials. Never be afraid to make a fool of yourself during your journey towards success.
What are you working on now?
We are currently working on upscaling Fruitleather Rotterdam. We hope to be able to produce more material with larger dimensions and to make our material waterproof.
Name your favourite recent project.
Collaboration with Discovery Channel series "Made by Destruction" (episode entirely dedicated to turning dehydrating surplus mangoes into innovative fruit leather and subsequently into a pair of sneakers).
Website Fruitleather Rotterdam