Tessa Groenewoud graduated from ArtEZ Academy of the Arts, Arnhem, specialising in footwear design. She has a strong interest in product design, material manipulation and attentions to detail, and is currently interning at United Nude, in China.
What inspired you to become a footwear designer?
Initially, I was interested in product design. I really like the aesthetics of product design, and then during my time at school I started becoming interested in shoes, and their functional properties.
What techniques do you prefer to use when designing?
I think the appeal of my shoes comes from the techniques I use, and the practicality of the piece. I have a fascination with form transformation, when something changes when you touch it or turn it inside out. It’s very important that it is not merely about the aesthetics – they come from the functionality.
What makes your work unique?
I think my work is minimalistic; I use a lot of graphic lines and industrial details, I feel this style makes me stand out.
You have worked with a variety of materials, one of them being leather. What was it about this material that attracted you to it?
For my ‘Craft the Leather’ project I used vegetable tanned leather, I used this material because it had the capability to be manipulated when wet. I folded the material into shapes, and because of the thickness of the material it held this particular shape, which worked extremely well for this project.
For your ‘Assemble’ project each shoe represents a technique based on the principle of connection, shape memory or compression – how did you incorporate these elements into your designs?
The shoe is about the connection between industrial parts, I thought I could use this to combine the shoe with the wedged heel. I really like the traditional leather, combined with a high-tech plastic material. This project was really about the construction of the shoe.
What techniques/styles would you like to explore next?
I’m really interested in injection molding and silicon printing. I think in the future I would really like to develop my own collection, and it would be interesting to develop these techniques.
What motivates you to design?
Nowadays, shoes are not only about the look of the shoe, it’s about different forms of producing shoes and how practical they are. It’s really motivational for me, as I am so interested in the practicality of shoes.