Taking traditional techniques and transforming them through a change of scale was admirably achieved in this work. Joep is one of identical twin designer brothers from the Netherlands. He first mastered traditional Dutch bobbin lace-making and then transformed it into galvanised steel wire, and took lace on a stellar journey to become an architectural material to be used in the most inventive ways. Joep explores the limits of hand craftsmanship and mass production. You wonder why anything could be made in plain mesh when there are these new possibilities. Custom patterns are designed in close co-operation with their clients for many different purposes in building and interiors. Joep and his brother Joeren are feisty industrial designers who see no boundaries between design disciplines. They both studied in Eindhoven, well known for its innovative approach to industrial design, with a very successful output of students worldwide. The large pieces of galvanised steel fence are made in India in a workshop in Bangalore using traditional bobbin lace techniques. The production is carefully organised and Joep has developed an understanding with his 'lace' workers; paying them well, providing them with health care and insisting their children attend school.

Lace Fence

Joep Verhoeven, DEMAKERSVAN


2200 x 2200 x 50 mm (each)


Metal lace fence (3 panels): bobbin lace technique using galvanised steel wire; fabricated in Bangalore, India

Artist statement

Lace Fence combines the ancient craft of lace-making with the industrial chain-link fence. Lace Fence shows how something which was meant to be purely functional can also be decorative. Hostility versus kindness, industry versus craft.

Our design studio is based in the Netherlands, the production unit is based in Bangalore, India. We value a socially responsible and sustainable way of producing. With our team of lacers these aspects are as important to us as being able to create new products.

Industrial production is a big source of inspiration. Our projects often combine the sensitive and the small with the powerful, large and industrial. The Lace Fence project translates that line of thinking. Fencing is a sign of how we modified and cultivated our environment. Like brambles, fences are rising rampantly around us. What would happen if a patch of embroidered wire would meet with and continue as an industrial fence?’

Thumbs upHighly commended: Built environment