Joias is the result of a residency of three Belgian designers and one Belgian curator who shared for three weeks life and work in a cute pink house in Santa Isabel, an island in the magisterial setting of the Brazilian Delta do Parnaíba.

Delta do Parnaíba

The Delta of Parnaíba is one of the three largest deltas in the world. Like the Nile and the Mekong River it has a unique ecosystem. Parnaíba is the entrance to this natural paradise. 

Tree of life

The Carnaúba palm is also known as the ‘tree of life’. If you get to know the endless applications of the different parts of the palm, you immediately understand this nickname. Even in periods of drought, the tree survives without problems.

Environmental vital

The tree plays an important economic role in the North-East of Brazil. That’s why it appears on the flag of the states Rio Grande do Norte and Ceará. The most important economic uses are the powder to make the wax and the shredded straw – a bagana – that is used for the fertilisation and cooling of the ground of new plantations. Thanks to this protection the ground stays humid – even during the six dry summer months – and the temperature is more balanced, but it also protects the plants to heavy rainfalls.

From tree to object

Sun dried fibres of the Carnaúba tree form the basics to create high quality crafted objects. The fibres can be dyed or used naturally. Different techniques, handlings and processing result in an endless amount of both functional and decorative objects. The natural fibres of the palm tree are connected to each other using techniques such as ‘ponto aberto’ and ‘ponto fechado’ without the addition of other materials.

Our ‘joias’ are the fruit of a co-creation process between the artisans of Santa Isabel do Parnaíba and three Belgian designers. They are inspired by this overwhelming environment, and they are made out of the sun-dried fibres of the Carnaúba tree. In the six Joias collections the artistic concepts of the designers beautifully merge with the diverse craft techniques of the artisans.

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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.

Laura Caroen / Linde Freya / Sep Verboom

Our ‘joias’ are the fruit of a co-creation process between the artisans of Santa Isabel do Parnaíba and three Belgian designers. They are inspired by this overwhelming environment, and they are made out of the sun-dried fibres of the Carnaúba tree. In Joias the artistic concepts of the designers beautifully merge with the diverse craft techniques of the artisans.


Trained as a textile designer Laura Caroen (°1989, works in Ghent) is passionate about materials as such, and in particular about natural or recycled flexible fibres. In order to fully understand these materials she explores them to the core. This process of unravelling features the first phase of Caroen’s design process. With this primordial material she experiments in a search for new techniques, possibilities and functions. In a second phase she looks for solutions such as weaving, braiding and knotting to reconnect the fibres. To get inspired Caroen likes to travel to countries such as Brazil, which are a treasury for natural materials and traditional craft techniques. As she’s very conscious about the value of materials herself, she loves to use recycled materials and to work with communities that attach importance to their raw materials. Moreover she loves participative collaborations and cross-pollination. Although Caroen positions herself in between art and design, she integrates more and more function into her installations.



While designers at the beginning of the industrial revolution aimed for functional pieces that were easy to produce, product and material designer Linde Freya (°1987, works in Brussels) wants to reintegrate the human touch in these machine-made pieces. To reach this goal she looks with her studio Destroyers/Builders for new, more refined applications of raw and often natural or recycled materials. A beautiful example is her Carved Series (2016). Although the objects are made from an at first sight poor material such as chipwood, they got enriched through a new application of the traditional carved wood technique. By using nuanced, partly transparent colours Freya wants to reveal the power of the original material. She manages to create tactile, sensible and emotionally overwhelming pieces that appeal to all of your senses. Doing so, she brings wealth into daily objects. To obtain more pleasurable objects for our homes and offices she strives to infiltrate these more human-based ideas into her projects.



With his label Livable designer Sep Verboom (°1990, works in Ghent) cooperates with traditional communities in the Philippines, Indonesia and Brazil. Together with local people Verboom creates projects in which crafts, social engagement, design and human contact beautifully merge. As these communities don’t have professional structures the final product is always unique. Beautiful examples are the FAN project (2014) in the Philippines’ Cebu City, for which he recycled the metal structure of fans and combined these with newly made rotan structures in lamps, and the Caro Barro project (2016) in the Brazilian Vale do Jequitinhonha, where he made ceramic vases that combine traditional local techniques with a contemporary design. Line by line Verboom also integrates this knowledge into industries such as Belgian companies Vincent Sheppard, for whom he designed the Aya-collection, and Papilio, for whom he designed the Rope Rugs. Doing so, he wants to realise his final goal: a social, ecological and qualitative revolution of the traditional industries.