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    Foekje Fleur

    Product designer

    Product designer Foekje Fleur is passionate about sustainability and the natural world. She collects plastic bottles from beside the River Meuse and recreates them in strikingly coloured porcelain vases. Her aim is to call a halt to the growing levels of plastic pollution. In Rotterdam she has a small house with a tiny garden – an unusual feature in the city – where she lives with her partner Marcel and their four chickens.

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    Where did the idea for the bottle vases come from?

    The project is based on the ‘plastic soup’. This is a particular spot in the sea towards which all the plastic drifts and where once it arrives, it bobs around indefinitely. This ‘soup’ is now the size of Spain and Portugal put together. I recreated the plastic bottles that I found in porcelain. Just like plastic, porcelain lasts for centuries and is therefore a symbol of imperishablity. Hopefully there will soon be no more plastic, and my vases will still exist in a million years’ time. Then we will look back at the current situation as a plastic epoch in history.

    How is the project going?

    It’s actually going incredibly well. There are customers who are interested in the conceptual aspect of the vases, but there are also some who are just looking for an appealing interior piece. People who work in interior styling also like them. Sometimes I think that the vases have finally reached their peak, but every year they just keep on growing, and more and more shops are selling them. This is partly because I started the ball rolling at the art academy, as a college project, so the project grew very slowly.

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    Bottle Vases
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    Your vases come in all kinds of lovely colours. How important to you is colour?

    I really love colour. First I only wanted everything in pastel shades, but now I’m starting to appreciate things in brighter and brighter colours. I now have nine different types of vase in production, and every vase comes in six different colours. I also have two new colours – fresh yellow and lilac grey – and these are going down very well. I now opt for deeper shades a little more often. My own interior is also very colourful. I love brightly coloured touches, although when it comes to my clothes, I often limit them to blue, nude and beige.

    What else are you up to beside the vase project?

    I still work for a women’s fashion boutique. I take care of everything behind the scenes, and make sure that everything runs smoothly. For example, I now go along on buying trips. This is high-end women’s clothing. Our collection features a series of interesting designers like Christophe Lemaire and Maison Martin Margiela. I wear these clothes too, provided that I can afford them (laughs).

    I love brightly coloured touches, although when it comes to my clothes, I often limit them to blue, nude and beige

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    What plans do you have for the future?

    Marcel and I are soon going to build a house. That’s why I’m also doing lots of projects for other people, because we’re saving for our house. I just work a lot. The success of the vases means that I hardly have time for anything else. When I have time to work for myself, then I just keep on working on the bottle vases. The ground floor of the new house will become my studio, so I’ll be able to work on producing new items from there.

    Are sustainability and the natural world also key parts of your new house?

    The house is going to be entirely energy neutral. The house will be constructed entirely of wood, so the construction process will go very quickly. The walls are pre-fabricated in a warehouse and then immediately screwed together in the right place. From our roof terrace, we will have a view out over the water of the Kralings nature reserve. We decided to build our own house because there are virtually no houses with gardens available in Rotterdam. Our house will be surrounded by land – and that should keep the chickens happy too.