Finding hope in rope

Sep Verboom's new lamp and stool at Milan Design Week 2015 were inspired by a rope-making community in the Philippines.

Belgian designer Sep Verboom’s Rope Hope series upcycles discarded shipping rope into a hand-woven stool and lamp. They are part of Verboom’s Livable Products range on show in “A Belgian Village” at Ventura Lambrate for Milan Design Week 2015.

For his graduation project from HOWEST university, Verboom spent six months in the Philippines where he founded Fantasized, a social and environmental awareness project that combined recycled found elements with local craft to make fans, lamps, pouffes, tables and mirrors,

Now he has collaborated with Filipino weavers to apply their traditional weaving skills to make appealing, design-led products.

The project was inspired by the Suba Masulog community of rope-makers, spearheaded by elderly entrepreneur, “Mrs Diosdada”, who makes a living recycling discarded shipping ropes. Her team collect old ropes from the piers and boats in their area, separates the strands, washes and then rebraids them into usable rope. After 40 years, she is supporting an entire community.

Old fishing ropes are reused to create new weavings, with new technologies and possibilities. 

The Rope Hope Lamp is made entirely from discarded marine rope formed in the shape of a traditional Filipino sarok hat, which is usually made from bamboo strips and dried banana leaves. 

The Rope Hope Stool is inspired by a cork and creates a functional yet visually appealing way to use discarded rope material in another context. Rolled up rope forms the seat and fits into the metal framed stool.

Verboom mostly works on self-initiated projects and is based in the city of Ghent.