Leather from Cow Stomache – Ventri

An everyday by-product of the meat industry gets a luxurious afterlife, thanks to the innovative handling of undervalued organic materials. Ventri shows how something that is considered waste in many countries is given a new and much higher value through the action of design. Take the intestines of a cow. After slaughter, the value of a cow stomach is nil. In the Netherlands, the best-case scenario for its use is in dog food. In Italy and other countries, such animal “waste” products can end up on people’s plates, ofte only because they are low-priced. What happens to the value, however, if the stomach becomes not a food product, but a designer bag or chair? Billie van Katwijk's project shows beauty in hidden and unexpected places, discovering new materials by taking a different look at what is already there. Van Katwijk studied the richness of textures and specific properties in each of the four parts of a cow’s stomach, and through a labour-intensive tanning process arrived at a collection of handbags with a unique aesthetic. Says the designer: “I hope that, seduced by its beauty, people are aware of it being a cow stomach and inspire a conversation about the value of under-appreciated and everyday materials.”

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