The Dutch-born conceptual shoe designer, Marloes Ten BhÖmer, is considered one of the promising designers of her generation. Ten BÖhmer frees her creations of conventionality; she brings an alternative materiality and design approach, which together cross the known boundaries of product and shoe design.

Ten BÖhmer’s source of inspiration is the essence of the shoe – its base form or Idea.  She begins work by researching materials, processes and her own initial idea. The result includes a great deal of evidence of this process. Her shoes, with names that reflect what and how they are made (Carbonfibreshoe#1, Beigefoldedshoe), expand the range of possibilities that inheres in any single design idea, and challenge our basic notions. The work dialogues with architecture, fashion design, and product design; it reflects historical conditions wherein the relationship between human beings, culture and industry are under mutual scrutiny.

Ten BÖhmer, who lives and works in London, specialized in design in the Arnhem Academy in Holland, and is a graduate of the Royal college of Art in London.

In 2006, BÖhmer won the Creative Pioneer Programme, NESTA, and in 2009 the Grand Brit Insurance Design Award in the Design Programme of the London Design Museum.
Ten BÖhmer initially made contact with the JCVA’s director in the context of the Barefoot in Tokyo exhibition she curated during the Tokyo Designers Block in 2004.  The JCVA director, highly impressed with Ten BÖhmer’s talents, invited her to Israel then, and six years later, in March 2010, the visit materialized.

During her stay, Ten BÖhmer held an artist’s workshop for honor students from Israel’s design academies, and other selected shoe designers. The workshop was held at the new Design Museum in Holon, which co-sponsored it. Ten BÖhmer will also exhibit work at the museum in October 2010 as one consequence of this encounter. She had planned to offer a talk at the museum, but as it was immediately sold out, she agreed to offer a second talk, which was also very well-attended.

One of the issues raised during these talks was the role of the high-heel shoe. Ten BÖhmer concurred with those who questioned the comfort of such shoes.  She added that because they are fundamentally uncomfortable, high-heeled shoes make us feel every step we take, and challenge our bodily sensations and experiences of standing and walking.

In addition to these events, Ten bÖhmer met with design curators in the Tel Aviv and Israel museums, watched Ohad Naharin’s dance Mamuta, which impressed her greatly, and visited the Petach Tikva Museum.


The RotationalMouldedShoe, designed for a show at the Krannert Art Museum in Illinois in 2009, is a one-off pair of shoes exhibited along with the full-fledged industrial process used to make it. The exhibition includes, in sequence, every stage in the process of making the shoes. It proceeds from the initial design, to the computer-produced negative mould, to the specially-designed rotation-molding machine, failed attempts, design solutions to those failures, and materials and approaches used to combine them. The elegant rotation-molding apparatus, designed by Nick Williamson is spins ceaselessly, forcing materials to the mold’s rims. The pair eventually produced, after 16-hours of cooling, is made of polyurethane and stainless steel. The shoes emerge from the mould in one piece; the final steps requires slicing them apart.

Every stage of this process is astonishing, not least the result – an asymmetrical, angled object which looks like dynamic, post-modernist architecture but functions as a high-heeled shoe. Rotation molding, a technology that until recently was used mostly for lack-luster sewage pipes, has recently been taken up by product designers for household items. Slipping rotation molding into the realm of fashion, Ten Bohmer points at the objectification of shoes.
Carbonfibreshoe #1

This shoe, made of four carbon fiber elements, includes a vertical heel placed at the side of the foot, and a platform on which the foot rests. The structure of the shoe demands of its wearer complete focus on weight distribution, as it does not support normal walking patterns. This shoe is only remotely connected to its conventional relatives or uses. Ten Bohmer’s designs challenge our single-minded approaches to functionality, and meld art with technology.