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  • Writer's pictureSarah Tulej

Rotterdam brand photography with designer Kathryn Larsen

Updated: Nov 14, 2021

Not just any designer. A seaweed designer. Yes, you heard it right. Plus seagrass, mussels and Irish moss, no less. I spent a bright, crisp morning with the innovative designer and architect in training Kathryn Larsen.

Katie was the lucky winner of a brand shoot with me, and was delighted to have the opportunity to create a bank of images that show her process and many passions. Katie also wants to help change the architecture sector into one that is less competitive and more collaborative, and show these values in her photos.

She dedicates a lot of time helping others to progress in the industry as a mentor to students earlier in their studies, and wants to help advance sustainability in the field by making the findings of her experiments with natural materials open source.

Katie may be considered a bit 'old-school' - she starts her architectural design process by hand sketching, in an industry where computer design dominates the process. She is fascinated by local, traditional forms of architecture, particularly in Japan, and takes sketchbooks of varying sizes on her travels so she can draw and paint what she sees.

The shoot which saw us in Delft, before hopping on a lovely old tram to Den Haag and the beach at Scheveningen. I was very touched that Katie made us peanut butter jelly sandwiches for the ride, where we spoke about her cultural heritage (which includes Puerto Rican, European, Taino, Sub-Saharan, Jewish Polish and Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry).

Katie says that her journey with her heritage is one of the reasons she is determined to cut through the bias of architecture history and share stories of bio-based innovations that are heralded as 'new and innovative' - failing to acknowledge their roots in indigenous designs.

Since the shoot Katie has gone on to launch her business - Studio Kathryn Larsen - in the Netherlands for art and design consultancy. She also has a webshop selling seaweed block prints, her artbook 'Chasing Hygge' from her time living in Denmark, and an option to custom order a piece of watercolour art.

It's been satisfying watching Katie become confidently visible on her website and social media. Her beautiful sketches and seaweed experiments are now peppered with images of herself, bringing her warm and lively personality into her brand. This woman is destined to do great things - watch this space!

Here's what Katie had to say about her experience on the shoot:

I felt like Sarah was incredibly organized and knew precisely what she was doing. Already the photos are causing lots of attention on social media for me and I've integrated them into my press releases and website. I have gained also a lot of confidence through working with Sarah, to be in front of the camera more often, which is priceless.

Here's where to find her:

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