hl next level 2018: food designer hannerie visser

Trevor Stuurman
An experience designer and founder of the culinary-minded multidisciplinary design studio, Studio H , Hannerie Visser continually pushes the boundaries within the realm of food. She exhibited S/Zout (where guests were invited to dine on produce irrigated in salt water) at Dutch Design Week 2017 and Dezeen acknowledged her ‘waterless dinner’ idea as one of the most sustainable food concepts of the future. Coming up next is Studio H’s Street Food Festival  in September 2018, which is now in its fifth year; as well as some exciting extensions locally and abroad of S/Zout and the studio’s ongoing work around water scarcity.

how did you get started?

I started in the magazine industry and ended up as group publisher of eight titles in the areas of food and design, then moved into experiential and food design when I founded Studio H. 

did you always want to be doing what you’re doing now? If not, what did you want to be when you were growing up?

As a kid I always wanted to be a journalist, but I’ve always been obsessed with food.

do you have particular favourites among the works you’ve created?

I love working with our clients, but our own projects do have a very special place in my heart: the Street Food Festival  is now in its fifth year and S/Zout is becoming such an important body of work that I am super proud of, from the waterless pop-up dinners that we are doing to the waterwise future food pantry we are developing as part of it. I also love the Future Food workshops that we present for groups and clients as they give us the opportunity to research, develop and design future food items and experiences. CHIPS! , our online (and occasionally printed) food ’zine is now one year old and we are working on the sixth issue with a feminist theme (Mother/Matriarchy) to be published in August. I love having this archive of local food culture.

what has been your defining career moment to date?

Exhibiting S/Zout at Dutch Design Week last year and having it named one of the most sustainable food concepts of the future by Dezeen was a huge honour.

who are the creatives on your radar at the moment?

Most of the creatives I admire are in the food world. I think people like Andy Fenner (owner of Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants) and Wesley Randles (chef-owner of The Shortmarket Club ) are incredibly creative. Andy is busy launching a very important initiative called Township Noodles based on his closed-loop food philosophy. I am also very honoured to be part of their brainchild, Convivium, a platform created to mentor and educate local chefs.

which artists do you look up to?

Athi-Patra Ruga, Laura Windvogel (aka Lady Skollie) and Sandiso Ngubane (the rapper Mx Blouse, whose bio describes them as beyond gender and beyond genre). All three of them are incredibly hard workers who refuse to compromise on what they believe in, they are super successful and I have so much respect for their work.

where do you find your inspiration?

In art galleries, in corner cafés, in the supermarket (local and abroad), by travelling as often as possible, and in cookbooks (old and new).

what is your earliest visual memory?

My strongest memories are sensory (smell and food), but I have one very strong visual memory of a modderkoekie (mud cake) factory that I had built with my brothers. We used the pallets my dad used for transporting grape boxes to display rows and rows of all the different kinds of ‘biscuits’ that we made.

when people travel, what should they never miss?

I make a point of visiting corner stores, bodegas and supermarkets when I travel. I love to see what regular people eat on a daily basis.

what’s the oddest piece of art you’ve ever seen?

A lickable sculpture by the Australian artist Joseph Marr made out of candy that was part of the Marije Vogelzang-curated exhibition, Sticky Business, at the Stedelijk Museum in Schiedam in the Netherlands. I did lick it and it was super weird.

what is the next project that you are working on?

Studio H is super busy with quite a few projects. Highlights include the Street Food Festival coming up in September; we’re launching an enterprise development platform called SFF LOVES as part of that this year. Then we’re also focused on festive season campaigns for two of our bigger clients and some really exciting extensions locally and abroad of S/Zout, our ongoing work around water scarcity. Learn all about the game changers who are taking things to the Next Level in our #HLNEXTLEVEL2018  issue.