Helia — Kvadrat and Raf Simons
Since the first collaboration in 2014, Kvadrat/Raf Simons have explored the very limits of upholstery fabrics by combining Raf Simons’ singular visual aesthetic with Kvadrat’s unparalleled technical know-how. Simons’ vision is defined by his encyclopaedic knowledge and understanding of the worlds of fashion, art, music, architecture and design and the way he uses this to inform his work with textiles. The results are innovative and sophisticated.
As inspiration for 2020, Simons returns to his love of fashion and, in particular, the world of haute couture. Looking specifically at fur and luxurious knits, he interprets the textures and techniques used in this most elevated of crafts and translates them into woven upholstery fabrics. With a lightness of touch and expertise, Raf Simons and Kvadrat transform natural materials such as wool, linen and viscose into textiles that capture the shine of fur or the sumptuous matte appearance of a heavy woollen knit.
‘For this year’s collection, I was very interested in experimenting with woven versions of some of the traditional materials and techniques used in haute couture such as furs and knits. The result is two sensuous textiles with heavily textured yet extremely soft surfaces.’ Raf Simons
Two new upholstery fabrics – Helia and Silas – are added to the collection and Sunniva 3 received a colour update. Offered in rich and sophisticated and surprising palettes, the fabrics balances well with the existing textures and more graphic textiles. Three cushions in Silas have also been added to the accessories collection, acting as subtle highlights of texture to a sofa or chair.
Inspired by Persian lamb fur and in particular Astrakhan, Helia is a bouclé textile with a heavy, organic texture. The swirls and whorls play across the surface resembling the fur itself, creating a seemingly random pattern that invites touch. Helia is offered in a selection of subtle neutrals and more intense shades of maroon, blue and yellow with the yarn-dyed fibres creating a rich melange effect in some of the shades.
Voluminous in texture and exceptionally soft to the touch, Silas has a distinctive matte surface that evokes the luxurious appearance of haute couture knits. Produced like a velvet, the fabric undergoes a complex finishing process involving six days of repeated unravelling and beating of the fibres to make them swell and resume their form, giving a particularly full and tactile quality. In addition, the variation in pile height gives an almost iridescent expression to the fabric that changes depending on the point of view. The colour palette includes neutrals, rich golden shades and a selection of Simons’ signature hues. Helia and Silas have been used to upholster the Malitte seating system by Roberto Matta (1966), a re-edition by Italian design brand Paradisoterrestre.
Initially perceived as a rich, even-toned plain fabric, on closer inspection Sunniva 3 is in fact a complex mix of two tones of wool woven in a tweed-like pattern, then given a glossy sheen by the addition of a small quantity of polyamide. Part of the Kvadrat/Raf Simons collection from the very beginning, Sunniva 3 now comes in a new palette that gives a more mature appearance with a greater emphasis on neutrals. Warm hues of soft brown, clay and brick contrast with cooler greys and a group of greens, ranging from dark to aqua, have been introduced. Finally, a range of dark reds brings an almost masculine sophistication to an offer that is elegant and grown up.