The Islamic Embroidery exhibition that closed on 28 July 2010 at Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, highlighted the importance of textiles in Islamic culture, with pieces dating back to the 17th century. Today, textiles and components for textile industry in general are still a fundamental component of design, and these materials are being used in new and original ways by contemporary designers.
A good example is Clouds by the brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, manufactured by Kvadrat. Anders Byriel, CEO of the company, explains that soft textiles are returning to popularity both in public spaces and private homes. "For many years, there has been a trend of using fewer and fewer textiles. Curtains and carpets have vanished, and even our chairs have wicker seats and backs. (...) But this trend is turning now, as more and more people discover that soft materials are not just soft to the touch, but also have an aesthetic beauty and significant impact on sound in our rooms." Clouds represents a simple method of introducing textiles into an interior. Individual units – the product is sold in packs of 8 or 24 pieces – are assembled as required, with seven colour combinations, to create minimalist but sumptuously decorative cloud motifs which can be hung by means of screws and strings, as a method of applying wall texture in an attractive way, or ceiling texture patterns , or even placed on the floor. The Bouroullec brothers Ronan (born 1971) and Erwan (1976) have already won many international awards for their work, which is developed, according to Byriel, by means of a technique of "controlled chaos" by means of which they are capable of working on many tasks in a single day. Of Clouds, Ronan said, "We prefer that the visible part of a solution consists solely of one material and one colour, to make it as easy as possible for the eye to capture the expression, which means that our solutions always seem quite simple."
Textiles also play a fundamental role in Jean Paul Gaultier's revisitation of the famous Mah Jong seating system, designed in 1971 by Hans Hopfer, and manufactured by Roche Bobois. German-Argentinean designer, painter, sculptor Hopfer, who died in August 2009, is considered as the inventor of seating landscapes. The different versions of the new release include Sailor, with blue and white striped canvas, and then Lace, Calligraphy, Dollar Bill, Scarf, Kiss and Tattoo, which are effective even when "mixed and matched." The units are low-level hand-made padded seat cushions, backrests and corner units, which, like Clouds, are modular and so can be arranged as desired. A more contemporary piece made by Roche Bobois is the lovely Mayflower, designed by Roberto Tapinassi & Maurizio Manzoni. This flower-like armchair is upholstered in brightly-coloured fabric, and the piece works well both individually and when in a group. In the second case, the image is of a field of minimalist summer blossom.
Molteni & C's latest products include two pieces by Patricia Urquiola, Spanish architect and designer who has worked with many Italian companies and who presently lives in Milan. Both of these products feature fabric textures. Net-Box is an original range of bedroom units, comprising wardrobe, chest of drawers, bedside tables, and a shelf with a mirror, and all of them feature coated metal mesh which is surprisingly similar, in terms of visual appearance, to coarse fabric. The Night&Day bed, on the other hand, is given visual character by textile upholstery. The superbly simple bed is folded to create the headboard, and it rests on four metal feet.
B&B's new range includes Ray, designed by Milan-based architect Antonio Citterio. This seating system is hallmarked by the discreet, superbly harmonious proportions characteristic of Citterio's work, but above all it features a textile detail, a sort of "blanket stitch" motif that runs along the sides of the removable covers and cushion upholstery. The feet are simply U-shaped brackets in diecast bronzed nickel-aluminium, whose minimal height gives Ray its character as a low settee. Its comfort is visually reinforced by its many soft cushions, whose exact number can be chosen by the customer.
Fabric is also paramount in Piccola Papilio, the smaller version of Grande Papilio created by Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa and launched in 2009. Piccola Papilio is smaller than the original version, and so can be used in smaller rooms, or arranged into a row. The designer's intention was to create the "idea of a big soft toy," by means of its upholstery and its gently curving lines.
All these products are available in the United Arab Emirates through authorized retailers.
Bottega Veneta new furniture collection
Interiors with Impact
UAE Fall 2010