F5: Femke Shares a Beloved Country, a Few Favorite Female Creatives + More

05.10.24 | By
F5: Femke Shares a Beloved Country, a Few Favorite Female Creatives + More

The beauty and power of color that fascinates Femke, founder of femm, is apparent the moment you lay eyes on her work – each piece is full of energy that feels ready to jump from its surface. A five-year stint as a multidisciplinary stylist enhanced the Amsterdam-based artist’s sensitivity to colors, lines, and images, giving way to unexpected set compositions and aesthetic visuals. It reawakened a childhood fascination, and she began taking leftover paper home after photoshoots, slowly creating an impressive collection. Beginning in 2020, paper and paint formed the starting point of all of Femke’s visual explorations.

“I’ve always had my own distinctive style, and I tried many things. However, I just couldn’t find the time due to my busy life as a stylist and hadn’t discovered the medium in which I could best express myself,” Femke says of finding her creative footing. “Perhaps the timing wasn’t right yet. I believe that there’s a time or a right moment for everyone. When it presents itself, you must seize it with both hands.” Then came the moment last November, at an international exhibition at Downtown Design Dubai, where the stars aligned and she realized she was turning her dreams into reality through femm. “That moment marked a shift in my mindset. I now feel more grounded than ever before, with a clear understanding of my aspirations and capabilities.”

Black and white portrait of a woman in a white shirt.

Femke Hofhuis \\\ Photo: Jan Willem Kaldenbach

Now working from an Amsterdam-based design studio/showroom, Femke studies color to its depths through tests and applications. femm specializes in creating custom wallcoverings tailored for project specific spaces or full scope designs with other pieces comprising wall objects, carpets, and acoustic panels, which adorn residential and commercial spaces alike. She especially loves the collaborative aspect of femm’s custom projects when she has the opportunity to work closely with private clients, architects, and interior designers to bring their visions to life.

femm’s designs reflect the attention Femke pays to her surroundings, whether that’s a buzzing city, the immense height of a piece of architecture, or colors in the surrounding environment. These are the experiences she looks to to spark creativity for the designs that transform walls into bespoke works of art. There’s also the hope that her thoughtful use of color can add a bit of optimism to the world at large.

She keeps track of these bits and pieces, like many of us, by carrying multiple notebooks. “I make an effort to write or sketch something every day, whether it’s a quote, an expression of gratitude, a quick sketch, or just a to-do list,” she shares. “I generated my latest mirror, part of my upcoming collection ’Space Jewels’ on a napkin. I also tend to get ideas during flights. It’s as if all the inspiration gathered during my journey suddenly descends and takes shape.”

Once Femke’s day in the studio ends, the creativity continues, but now it’s in the kitchen. “It also serves as a meditative practice to fully engage with something different. It brings a sense of calm. I continuously challenge myself by avoiding repetition and attempting to cook something new whenever possible, allowing me to continually learn,” she says of the transition. “Whether it’s a different herb combination or trying a new cooking method, I feel content when I keep developing myself in as many areas as possible.”

This week, Femke joins us for Friday Five!

Abstract art on a white wall, displayed as a vertical rectangle with a blurred multicolor gradient from pink to green.

Photo: Gisela Colon

1. Gisela Colón

I only recently discovered her work, even though she has been on the scene for a while. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been so focused on melting forms lately; it fits incredibly well with the current zeitgeist. I was immediately fascinated by Gisela’s pastel colors and fluid shapes, her pieces have a soft and feminine quality. Additionally, I find her to be a beautiful presence. As I delved deeper into my research, I discovered that since 2021, Gisela has been focusing on objects rather than paintings. 2021 was a turning point for me as well. Of course, this was related to Corona; suddenly, everything stopped, creating space in my head to unleash creativity. I decided to put an end to my career as a stylist and follow my heart – designing.

A model poses for a jewelry advertisement, wearing a colorful silk outfit and elaborate earrings, with a male figure adjusting her necklace in the background.

Photo: Glen Luchford for Gucci

2. Gucci

I recently visited India, where my love for jewelry and gemstones was reignited. For a while now, I’ve been obsessed with large rings, sculptural earrings, vintage brooches, pearls, and more. I always find inspiration in fashion, especially from brands like Gucci and Prada. This extravagant Gucci image brings back memories of the vibrant colors, temples adorned with gold leaf, and the gemstone jewelry found in India. I even witnessed them grinding and polishing gemstones in a small workshop by the roadside. I felt so comfortable in this colourful chaos. It’s not surprising that I’m working on a collection called Space Jewels, these are jewels designed for your home. My first design – a mirror – is a reality. Currently, I’m working on hand-knotted carpets inspired by vintage jewelry. During my last flight from India to Amsterdam, I designed the entire collection of carpets.

An art installation featuring a mirrored room filled with numerous red spheres with white polka dots, punctuated by black columns.

Infinity Mirror Room\\\ Photo: © 2019 Yayoi Kusama © Fondation Louis Vuitton \ Marc Domage

3. Yayoi Kusama

I recently visited the exhibition Yayoi Kusama – The Dutch Years 1965-1970 at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam in The Netherlands, and I was captivated by her work. The exhibition not only provides a distinctive insight into her younger years, showcasing intimate and vulnerable works of art but also allows you to feel her unwavering determination to pursue her artistic vision. Yayoi’s role as a pioneer and cult figure in the 1960s is unmistakably portrayed. I deeply admire her for both her resolute determination and her unique artistic signature. Through her iconic polka dots, she has left an indelible mark on the world. For me, this serves as a powerful reminder to never give up and to stay true to oneself.

Interior of a modern building with organic, curved white structures, elegant seating areas, and a spacious, light-filled atrium.

ME Dubai Hotel \\\ Photo: Laurian Ghinitoiu

4. Zaha Hadid

I can truly be captivated by architecture, my jaw literally drops at the sight of a beautiful building! I vividly recall my first glimpse of Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim in Bilbao from a taxi; I couldn’t look away. Imagine a low-hanging sun casting a beautiful glow on the building, causing it to appear different from every angle – simply stunning. I’m a big fan of architects like Rem Koolhaas and Zaha Hadid. During my recent visit to Dubai, I had the opportunity to admire works by both of these architects, including Rem Koolhaas’s new project at Alserkal Avenue and, of course, the Zaha Hadid building known as OPUS, which is home to the ME Dubai hotel. Later this year, from October 30th to November 3rd, the ME Dubai will host a solo exhibition showcasing my work. A match made in heaven, where we plan to make a grand statement!

A hand with intricate henna designs.

5. Manhi

Another fascination I’ve retained from India is henna. They call it Manhi. I remember henna from the past; you could get it done at the campsite in France. In India, I observed many young girls using Manhi as a fashion statement. I find it beautiful, and I couldn’t resist getting my own. I became so attached to it, and I was quite disappointed when it started fading after five days. I’m considering preserving a small part of the henna on the side of my hand with a tattoo.



Work by Femke:

Modern abstract wall mirror featuring a layered, teardrop-shaped piece with a gradient from peach to pink tones.

Space Jewels mirror by femm

The Space Jewels mirror is the first piece from my upcoming ‘Space Jewels’ collection, jewelry designed for your space. This handcrafted mirror is infused with subtle pastel colors. Each piece carries a delicate, feminine touch, adding a unique dimension to the cosmic allure of these jewels.

Woven artwork featuring textured horizontal bands of color with a large circular motif, displayed on a white wall.

Woven Panel by femm

Woven in the Netherlands, my textile panels combine lurex with wool to create panels that are visually stunning and texturally rich. Choose between a woven panel with our without acoustic filling, which reduces disruptive sound reflections and contributes to a more relaxed work or home environment. I specialize in designing custom acoustic panels tailored to a specific home, hotel, office, or project.

A modern dining room featuring a marble table with curved wooden chairs and a colorful circular light fixture on a white wall.

FEY by femm

FEY evokes the radiant warmth and energy of the sun, seamlessly transitioning from art object during the day to mesmerizing light installation at night. It’s entirely painted by hand and coated in resin to give it a special sheen.

A large, circular, multicolored abstract piece of art hangs above a deep purple sofa with an orange cushion in a room with dark paneled walls.

THE DOTS by femm \\\ Photo: Élitis

With my round wall objects, THE DOTS, I aim to capture light – making the invisible visible. The dance of light upon an object, its interplay of reflections, that’s what fascinates me.

Kelly Beall is Director of Branded Content at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based writer and designer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, from Fashion Plates to MoMA and far beyond. When not searching out the visual arts, she's likely sharing her favorite finds with others. Kelly can also be found tracking down new music, teaching herself to play the ukulele, or on the couch with her three pets – Bebe, Rainey, and Remy. Find her @designcrush on social.