Animation by Katrīna Sadovņikova

The Grand Prix of the National Design Award of Latvia 2024 went to the biotextile Pre-Loved and its authors, designers Sarmīte Poļakova and Māra Bērziņa, who turn textile waste into aesthetically appealing and sustainable fabric. Sarmīte runs the material design and research studio Studio Sarmite in Frankfurt and is continuously looking for new ways to turn production waste into future resources. In the Nice Touch section, Sarmīte talks about how collecting can be useful for future projects.

Nice Touch Editorial May 31, 2024

«Creative people are collectors of ideas. Our work requires us to see the potential in even the most unexpected things. Every day, we happen to notice something that excites us and speaks to us, even though we can’t describe why. It could be an image, a product, a piece of art, a sentence, a picture from the newspaper, a street sign, clouds, a texture, a coincidence of things and circumstances, or an artifact found in the environment; maybe it’s a quote from a podcast, a conversation overheard by chance, or a revelation. When something fascinates me, I take a picture of it with my phone or take a note and put it in my Curiosities folder. These visual notes fuel the imagination and are great for when I need to bring an idea to life or find a visual reference for a thought or new concept.»

Sarmīte Poļakova is a designer who runs the material design and research studio Studio Sarmīte. She studied at the Art Academy of Latvia and the Design Academy Eindhoven, where she created her first material — the leather-like PineSkins, made from pine bark. Currently, Sarmīte is working on the further development of the Pre-Loved biotextile, renamed (Un)woven recently. The designer has used the award-winning material in collaboration with fashion brand Mareunrol’s as well as in a joint project with renowned international brands Vitra and Levi’s. Alongside her studio work, Sarmīte helps companies redefine their production processes and teaches students at the Technical University of Munich and the Art Academy of Latvia. Read more about Studio Sarmīte here.