soft borders

where myriad ideas merge seamlessly, challenging us to reconsider the way we understand boundaries. an archive of ideas, projects and passion, inviting discussion and reflection.


year 2018
"Buro Belén’s first solo institutional exhibition, held at Looiersgracht 60, (an exhibition centre for art, design and architecture) presents a detailed overview of their practice. Responding to the space at Looiersgracht 60, Buro Belén wove their products into the history, architecture and colours of the space. The spectrum of rich and diverse materials exemplifies Buro Belén’s research into material and colour and their rejection of standard industrial processes. While presenting different projects associatively creates juxtapositions, it also softens the boundaries between materials, colours and disciplines. The viewer is afforded a unique opportunity to enter into Buro Belén’s inner world, where myriad ideas merge seamlessly, challenging us to reconsider the way we understand boundaries." — Soraya Notoadikusumo and Nadine Snijders.
During our first solo exhibit, the large scale textiles we developed made out of different materials and with varying finishes were subdued in the vast space: "hanging ‘walls’ made out of wool, flax, wood, linen, biopolymers and cotton function as both barriers and entry points within the gallery and outside." The axis of our process is reflected: combining craftsmanship with the latest scientific discoveries. The interconnection between people and the environment reflects back in many of the works we exhibited: Unseen sunglasses in a small range of colours that resemble a skin colour; wooden textiles that respond to the walls they are exhibited alongside. Through our project Living Colours we looked at natural colours and how they come to life; they mature and fade or become enriched over time. This resulted in a De-colour Chart: a range of plant based dyes that individually discolour over time, as seen in our product Laying Bag. Living Textures plays with the idea of perception, and the textured walls offer an "interactive interplay of light, texture and colour". In our product the Soft Borders Table, rainbow colours become the material, and the various components are merged together through this marriage of colour and material.
Inspired by ancient cultures and techniques, Wooden Textiles takes the form of soft fabrics made out of wood taking the tapa cloth from Tonga as the main inspiration which has resulted in a natural and biodegradable fabric. Our SUN+ project delves into how different cultures around the world interact with the sun, resulting in a series of protective objects and wearables — seeking how we can enable a healthy life under the sun. Body Cloth plays with the irony of covering one’s nakedness with naked bodies printed on the fabric, raising questions about identity, boundaries and consent. Skin is not seen as the exclusive domain of human beings, we view our interiors and objects as living. For instance, Soft Border Chairs has a different ‘skin’ or covering nudging towards individuality.
Soraya Notoadikusumo 
Nadine Snijders
design and development:
Stella Kim
Trumaine Huijts

graphic design:
Veronica Ditting
development and production Soft Borders Rug, Hairy Chairs:
production Soft Borders Table, Vitrines for Thought, Hairy Chairs:
Fraai Metaal
Jantien Roozenburg