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Power women, artistic women and women to keep an eye on. These five artists and designers, working in the Benelux, are certainly worth taking a moment to consider. The working method of each artist is completely different in her style and expression: one uses solar cells for a design, the other innovates again and again. Text: Etienne Boileau
Editor: Vivian Secrève

Promising artists

Laurianne Bixhain – Luxembourg

Luxembourgish photographer Laurianne Bixhain questions the rapid obsolescence of existing technology due to constant innovation. With her photos she captures strange anachronisms, drawing attention to the discrepancy between human affairs, high technology and the remains of the technological revolution. Laurianne Bixhain obtained her Master of Fine Arts degree from the École supérieure des Beaux-Arts de BordeauX and was awarded various stipends and prizes: she was nominated for the Unseen Talent Award 2016 and received an important encouragement prize for young artists in Luxembourg, the LEAP 2018. She also stayed in various artist-in-residencies in Chicago, Athens and Istanbul, among others. Laurianne participated several times in the important photo festival Les Rencontres de la Photographie in Arles.

Nynke Koster – Netherlands

Nynke Koster's objects are a mix of design, art and architecture. They consist of silicone rubber casts of decorations, objects and sometimes body parts. The series of seating elements Elements of Time is based on historical architectural decorations. Five objects from this series have now been purchased by a Japanese museum. For the LMAKgallery in New York she designed a rubber carpet, consisting of casts of fingers of American slaves. Work khepri, named after the mysterious Egyptian beetle God, Koster made last year especially for the open-air manifestation Beelden in Leiden. With recent exhibitions in museums and project spaces all over the world, her work also proves to be an absolute success abroad must see and buy.

Promising designers

Marjan van Aubel

Marjan van Aubel calls himself a solar designer. In close collaboration with scientists, she investigates how to use energy efficiently. For example, the top of her Current Table contains solar cells in specially chosen colors. These generate sufficient energy to charge smart phones, etc. The process is inspired by the photosynthesis of plants and the table also works in diffuse light. With this table she became the big winner of the Radical Innovators 2015. What is special is that Van Aubel pays as much attention to aesthetics as to technology. The Cyranometer lamp, named after an 18th-century instrument for measuring the color of the sky, imitates daylight. The solar cell is covered with specially cut crystals that provide 10 percent extra energy. The hanging light crowns contain cut opals that provide a daylight effect.

Theresa van Dongen

During her Biology studies, Teresa van Dongen discovered that interesting research results did not always leave the laboratory. After more than a year she decided to switch to the Design Academy Eindhoven. She tries to capture the beauty of nature and science in design. Such is her 'living lamp' Spark of Life filled with water and electrochemically active bacteria. These continuously emit electrons while they clean the water. You do have to take care of the lamp: a teaspoon of vinegar every week and fresh water regularly. The Lumist is both a lamp and humidifier. Here Van Dongen uses the energy released from a halogen lamp. This holds half a liter of water at the boiling point, causing it to gradually evaporate. She uses a sturdy, vintage-like design language that gives her work a recognizable style. Her lamps have already received several awards.

Christien Meindertsma

Christien Meindertsma is considered the scientist in Dutch design. Her thorough design methods often lead to book publications such as PIG, in which she dissects a pig from A to Z. Meindertsma continually delves into the origin and (sustainable) processing of raw materials, elements that have been rather forgotten by industrialization and globalization. She spent years researching flax, once one of the most cultivated crops in the Netherlands. The result is, among other things, the Flax Chair, made from a new composite of flax and bioplastic. It is milled from a plate measuring 100 by 60 centimeters so that hardly any waste is created. In collaboration with the Roosje Hindeloopen company, Meindertsma designed a series of limited furniture, in which she used 17th-century Hindelooper motifs, blued with iron. This Oak Inside collection gives heritage a new look.