Samira Boon makes architectural textiles and is the neighbour of LLOYD. She is a fan of LLOYD, and we are a fan of her. Samira is involved as a jury member in our partner Creative Heroes Awards; a platform for creative professionals. High time to visit Samira. She says the coffee tastes better with us, so first we meet in her studio to continue with coffee at LLOYD.

It takes a while to find the doorbell of the old headquarters of Koninklijke Hollandsche Lloyd. The high ceilings, tiled walls, stained glass windows, steel and ornaments are characteristic of the buildings with a rich history on the Oostelijk Handelskade. The iconic style feels like coming home to LLOYD connoisseurs. A cordial Samira welcomes us to her studio on the north side. The space is filled with her work, and you immediately feel what textiles can add to the experience of a space. Textiles are an ideal medium for Samira to make architecture and interiors flexible, but they do more.

I see architecture as a load-bearing construct in which textiles can form an interruption so that spaces can be transformed and flexibly arranged. Textiles can also be used to solve functional issues, such as guiding or blocking sunlight. The 3D structure gives very good acoustic qualities. Moreover, a space comes to life through the textile addition. It becomes a place with a soul.

Creative hero

Creative Heroes Award is a platform where enterprising people with a social commitment and a great creative ability meet each other. During the presentation of this award, six people will be proclaimed Creative Hero. Samira is a member of the jury, after she was one of the winners in an earlier edition.

A true Creative Hero knows how to combine knowledge from different disciplines. This is a complex process; you need to have knowledge of the market, business models, technical possibilities and you need to be clear on the horizon. We value connectors that are able to bundle knowledge and have a social impact. Personally, I think it’s important that a developed idea is accessible to many.

After studying architecture, Samira lived in Tokyo for 4 years. Here she learned Japanese and came to understand that her love for textiles is not fashion-related. She saw architecture and textiles integrated in old Japanese temples where they use screens to create a flexible space. The speed of innovation there made it an inspiring place for her. She started her studio in Tokyo and expanded to Amsterdam. After a few years she was commissioned to make ‘space dividers’ for Theaters Tilburg.

By joining forces with the ambitious client Theaters Tilburg, Tokyo University, the programmers of the computer-controlled weaving machine and experts from Textiellab Tilburg, it became possible to deepen my research into foldable architectural textiles. With folding techniques, based on Japanese origami, I wanted to make textiles both flexible and sturdy. Thanks to this collaboration, we were able to receive the Creative Heroes Award 2017.

Abstract gardens as a future

Winners of the Creative Heroes Award are involved with social themes and innovation. One of the current themes is the uncertainty that people experience as a result of technological developments and automation. People feel similar insecurity in public spaces where the human dimension has disappeared. Samira links these themes together in her work.

In the LLOYD restaurant you are sitting in a grand space. Despite its size, it is a pleasant place thanks to the low lighting, the vistas and the diversity in ceiling heights. The textile installations I make have the same effect: they can break through the grandeur of a room.

Experience and tactility are very important in Samira’s work. Some textile designs are discoloured by the warmth of touch. Among other things, Samira made scarves and other accessories from them. Samira is currently working on the Hortus Bionica project, in collaboration with the SensorLab Utrecht, supported by a research grant from the Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie. She develops interactive installations that can react in an integrated way to environmental factors such as light and wind using textiles and sensors.

Natural systems and shapes intrigue me. With this research, textiles can become almost something living, making us feel connected to them.

Living in the East of Amsterdam

After Japan Samira came to live in Amsterdam-East. The water is the first thing she mentions when you ask her what makes her enthusiastic about this part of the city. She looks at East with the eyes of a trained architect and likes to share her tips.

After Japan, Amsterdam was the most logical place to live in the Netherlands. The cultural offer is fantastic. East is a beautiful architectural area where different types of housing exist. LLOYD is a pearl in this area, just like the surrounding buildings. Together they give the neighborhood identity. The islands bring peace, there is little car traffic and at the same time it is a very diverse and social neighborhood. When you take the ferry, you have the feeling that you are away for a while. There is plenty of inspiration to be found at Pakhuis de Zwijger, the attractive Javaplein and the various galleries. But also visit the skatepark, it’s fun to watch!

During the annual artist route in Amsterdam-East you can visit the studio of Samira Boon. On Thursday 27 June 2019, the 2nd edition of the Creative Heroes Award will take place in Undercurrent Amsterdam. Six professionals from the creative industry will receive this unique award from jury chairman Taco Schmidt. LLOYD wishes the jury a lot success!