An everyday by-product of the food industry gets a luxurious afterlife, thanks to the innovative handling of undervalued organic materials. Ventri shows how something considered waste in many countries is given a new and much higher value through the action of design.

Take the intestines of a cow. After slaughter, the value of a cow’s stomach is nil. In the Netherlands, the best-case scenario for its use is in dog food. In Italy and other countries, such animal “waste” products can end up on people’s plates, often only because they are low-priced.

What happens to the value, however, if the stomach becomes not a food product but a designer bag or chair?

Billie van Katwijk’s project shows beauty in hidden and unexpected places, discovering new materials by taking a different look at what is already there. Van Katwijk studied the richness of textures and specific properties in each of the four parts of a cow’s stomach and, through a labour-intensive tanning process, arrived at a collection of handbags with a unique aesthetic. Says the designer: “I hope that seduced by its beauty, people are aware of it being a cow stomach and inspire a conversation about the value of under-appreciated and everyday materials.”

Thanks to Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie for supporting the project.

Since graduating from Design Academy Eindhoven in 2017, Billie has continued developing the cow stomach leather. Ventri leather goods are available via Ventri’s website:


64 pages with beautiful pictures of the tanning process of the cow stomach! The book shows how rich, organic textures of these animal innards make fascinating material. Some are like winding landscapes; others are almost reptilian. Through a tanning process, Billie van Katwijk was able to transform their raw, natural aesthetic into a unique range of leathers with their own look and feel. Made into handbags, Ventri reveals how cow stomachs can become luxurious designs.

Vice interviewed me about Ventri and the process of preparing the cow stomachs for tanning. The article is in Dutch but worth a look due to the pictures by Elisabeth Lanz, who came to see me in the slaughterhouse.

The Ventri Leather is flying around!
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