When Billie van Katwijk saw a cow stomach for the first time she did not even know what she was looking at. On a market in Italy this skin like material caught her eye with its manifold structures and textures. It reminded her of honeycombs and in it she saw flounces and shirrs here and there. The designer was fascinated with the mysterious aura of the material. Cow stomachs for luxurious products? Why not!

Billie van Katwijk did some research: “trippa” or tripe is considered a culinary speciality in Italy. In other European regions cow stomachs are not so highly appreciated and therefore oft an exported to such countries as China or Russia. In the Netherlands they are used a dog feed – at best.

For her project “Ventri” Billie van Katwijk studied the cow’s four different stomachs and their unique aesthetics based on their natural function. What happens with the value of the material once it is turned into designer bags or seating for exquisite interiors? To optimize the material for this use she tans the stomachs at a lab using elaborate processes. At the same time, she developed a bag collection whose clear-cut styling shows off the material to its best advantage. The bags’ round shapes are inspired by the shape of the stomachs.

In cooperation with the Dutch design agency Moooi she also designed a classy pouf made with stomach leather. Billie van Katwijk’s project shows how design can upgrade a presumed low-value material.