Caro Barro

Caro Barro

Caro Barro is the result of a cocreation process between the Belgian Livable designer Sep Verboom and the Brazilian artisans of Coqueiro Campo, a village in the Valley of Jequitinhonha, in the north of Minas Gerais.


Following centuries of tradition, the woman of the community still produce artisanal ceramics that are completely made out of natural materials they find in the surroundings of the village.
For baking their objects they all have self constructed ovens in their gardens. In a central store each woman can show and sell her objects. 


Caro Barro tells the story of the valley, and the way in which huge plantations of eucalyptus invaded in the lives of the artisans. At the moment they came to the region, the big companies paid only a small amount for the land they planted with eucalyptus trees. This monoculture exercises a pestiferous influence on the groundwater. As the eucalyptus trees take all of the water from the ground, the nature of the valley is irreversibly damaged.

That’s why the ceramics today are an even more important source of income for the people of Coqueiro Campo.The clay is one of the few things they can still get from nature.

When Livable designer Sep Verboom heard this story in summer 2016, when he lived and worked for one month in the village, he decided to take it as the starting point of his project. Doing so the vases tell the history of the woman and their clay. Caro Barro, the story about their sweetest, most precious clay.



Elien Haentjens / Artesol / MADE

Caro Barro is the result of a close collaboration with the Brazilian organisation Artesol. Elien Haentjens invited Livable, to live and work with the artisans for one month. The results were presented during MADE mercado de arte design during the Design week 2016 in Sao Paulo.

Elien Haentjens

As a freelance journalist Elien Haentjens (*1983, lives and works in Brussels) specializes since 2006 in the fields of design and art. Doing so, she further develops the expertise she gained during her studies Art History at KU Leuven. The exhibitions she has been curating around Belgian design in Brazil since 2013 are also in line with this. While she selected and showed finished pieces at first, she decided to intensify the Belgian-Brazilian dialogue by inviting Belgian designers to work with Brazilian artisans. Through design and art she wants to make people confident enough to open up for the other. This way she wants to stimulate the global dialogue, and at the same time ensure that people don’t lose their own identity and local culture.

In 2016 Elien Haentjens invited Livable founder Sep Verboom as the first designer to join her new concept. As they both liked the cooperation, she invited him another time in 2017, this time together with designers Linde Freya and Laura Caroen. To realise both projects Elien Haentjens worked closely together with two Brazilian partners.


Artesol, a non-governmental organisation established in 1998, with the purpose of supporting the safeguard and development of traditional arts and crafts in Brazilian localities. Thanks to their extensive network the artisans of both communities, Coqueiro Campo in 2016 and Santa Isabel in 2017, opened their doors for the Belgian-Brazilian cooperation.


MADE - Mercado Arte Design, the internationally renowned fair for collectible design in Latin America. Since the very first edition in 2013, idealizer Waldick Jatobá warmly welcomed the exhibitions about Belgian design. As Waldick Jatobá – in close cooperation with curator Bruno Simões - wants MADE to be a platform to see, discuss and learn about the best of global design, he also invites designers from around the world – including Belgium - to talk about their work. Since the fifth edition in the summer of 2017 MADE takes place at one of the most prestigious locations of São Paulo: the pavilion Oscar Niemeyer has built to host the famous art biennial.

Sep Verboom

“Every existing material, object or craft has the potential to become a live changer, whatever the scale. As long as we consider the social aspects and environmental consequences of our choices.“

Sep Verboom (1990) is a child of his generation: idealistic, but well-founded, not only locally, but also globally, cooperating with traditional communities, industries, local governments and NGOs. Transparency, in the broadest sense of the word, is the common thread in his approach, design objects and attitude as a sustainable entrepreneur.

With his Livable® platform, he encourages and challenges post-industrial designers to embrace culture and contemporary challenges, to devise a future-proof approach and to work together. The projects combine local crafts, social engagement, design and global awareness.
Creating alternative solutions for our consumer society, in which industries and consumers have their own responsibility, a conscious choice.

In 2018 Sep Verboom won the Belgian Henry Van De Velde Award for young talent.