Cover it All

special file in DAMNº60 with the latest trends in floor and wall coverings

How does design come up with all these new materials and textures? We checked the trends and identified the latest floor and wall coverings of quality, also extending the focus to include acoustic properties. All in all, these are the most cutting-edge innovations out there.

Patrizia Coggiola February 2017
ACOUSTICS The most important activity in the public environment is communication, and when trying to find the sound balance in a room, it is fundamental to look into surfaces that are able to absorb the frequencies. From their initial sound-absorbing function, acoustic surfaces have acquired a new role, that of being decorative, accommodating light fixtures, and participating in the partition of space.
BAUX / Tatjana Fairhurst, Interior Designer at I-AM, recently selected the turquoise version of BAUX wall panels for the Water Studio, Hansgrohe’s new hub in London. She says, “We knew we wanted to create a space that allowed the products and conversation to come to the fore. BAUX designs were a part of that strategy. The client had a vision to create a space that celebrated water. Within that space they wanted a sanctuary for meetings and discussions. We wanted to design a simple, honest space, with subtle colours and decoration. And the sound insulation of these panels is impressive. The client was worried that noise would seep in and out through the glass doors, so were impressed at how quiet and calm it felt to sit inside the room. It’s quiet, and the colours are soft and reflective.”
ABSTRACTA / A pioneer in the field of acoustics, Abstracta has embraced the growing interest in sound absorption and more efficient working environments. The soundscapes that surround us are perpetual and affect us more than we think. Abstracta has used this as its starting point and, combined with the company’s knowledge in this area, has developed products that create effective soundscapes for different office environments. Nature is the source of inspiration for designer Poul Christiansen’s My Hive for the Swedish company: an elegant and simplistic workstation with a height-adjustable or fixed-height desk. “With My Hive, we used the hexagon – a form that is present in the beehive as well as on turtle shells. This makes it possible to compose dynamic and surface-efficient desk configurations. Instead of having legs, the table-top is integrated into the sound-absorbent screens, thus freeing-up space. If the desk is replaced with a sofa, My Hive can be used for rest or informal meetings.” Anya Sebton Scala, sound-absorbent panels.
AMORIM CORK COMPOSITES / Cork is making its mark. Knoll, the world-leading North American manufacturer of modern furniture for home and office, has rediscovered this raw material due to the excellent performance and visuals it offers, choosing tiles by Amorim Cork Composites to cover the different areas of its showroom in Chicago. Norwegian designer Lars Beller Fjetland designed the cork tiles Porto and Lisbon, decorative modules that guarantee thermal and acoustic insulation performance, and he chose Amorim Cork Composites to produce them. The series is part of the Beller Collection by Spinneybeck, which won the Metropolis Likes prize at NeoCon 2016. Inspired by techniques used in the traditional moulding of shoe soles, Lisboa and Porto are acoustically absorptive composite cork wall tiles composed of 16” square modules that are easily installed with a special pressure-fit rail system. Their design references Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer’s ceramic tiles, where five standard designs can be combined and rotated to create endless, unique patterns.
PEDRALI / Marcello Ziliani designed Snooze for Pedrali, a sound-absorbing panel for walls and ceilings, specifically to increase the acoustic quality of office spaces. Its shape is reminiscent of sound diffusers. Composed of a core of hot-moulded polyester fibre in different densities and thicknesses, there is a metal element in the middle that besides being a graphic symbol allows for quick assembly and easy installation. Multiple Snooze panels, placed side by side in different combinations, provides even better sound absorption.
OFFECCT / Designed by Teppo Asikainen in 1999, Soundwave® Swell has been the starting point for a new approach to acoustic design, with a name that became a brand and later went on to do research, joining Swedish company Offecct. Soundwave acoustic panels combine functionality and aesthetics, and are specifically designed to enhance the acoustic properties of any interior used for communication and social interaction, facilitating speech clarity (achieved by increasing absorption in the lower frequencies of 125-500Hz). Together with New Zealand-based designer David Trubridge, Offecct has created Membrane for indoor use, with inspiring features and a truly sustainable structure. When utilised for acoustic purposes, a membrane scatters sound waves and so balances the sound in a room. “Membrane works as a sound-reducing system. By overlapping modular components and locking them together, the user can build a number of different patterns. The complexity of the pattern creates an attractive and functional hanging screen that improves acoustics and at the same time divides spaces”, says Trubridge. “Inspired by nature, we searched for a product that could mimic the qualities of leaves in a forest. Like leaves, Membrane scatters sound while partly letting the light shine through.”
BUZZI / At both NeoCon and Orgatec, Buzzi presented the BuzziTile 3D, a triangular shape that when multiplied creates a highly graphical wall feature. Alternatively, BUZZI CLIPSE is a highly acoustic wall panel that comes with subtle back-lighting. It was presented for the first time at NeoCon 2016, together with the new BuzziSkin-printed version, with a customisable all-over print or a placed print.
PAOLA LENTI Build, designed by Francesco Rota, is a series of flip-open panels and false ceilings covered with fabric, produced by Paola Lenti. The panels can be used on the wall or in the middle of the room; they are sound absorbent and can be complemented with shelves and cabinets. The paneling system allows for free space planning, with colourful walls and division elements in the middle of a room, good for small spaces or the creation of complex structures. The elements in the Build system utilise the same colour palette and materials as the seating and cabinets in the collection.
SURFACES See the simple, vivid beauty that stems from raw materials as they are being tamed into graphic, geometrical grids on plain-woven textures or on naked leathers. Traditional processes are at the core of the latest trends, where imperfections and manual intervention benefit the new collections.
SQUID / Squid is an easy-to-install, transparent, self-adhesive fabric that allows one to see out, but which largely prevents others from looking in. This makes it the first such solution that still lets in natural light. The transparent textile covering can be perfectly integrated in any room in your home and is also the ideal solution for offices and large windows. The material (made from polyester) is woven and finished in Lampe Textiles’ factory in Tielt, Belgium. Manager Philippe Lampe, one of Squid’s developers, says, “The curtains market is really struggling at the moment, so the only way forward is through innovation. Not just by offering a new pattern or a different colour, but by rethinking everything in order to solve the problem from the customer’s point of view.”
DOSHI LEVIEN / Swedish flooring brand Bolon has collaborated with design studio Doshi Levien to make an architecture-infused creative campaign called Material Interventions, in order to communicate their new collection Bolon By You during its launch at Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair 2016. The designer-duo believes that of the many elements that express the identity of a space, materials can be considered one of the most defining. Interactions between these elements creates a visual and sensual experience that conveys the spirit of an interior and influences how we feel. Nipa Doshi explains: “Our first impression of Bolon flooring was that it is such a versatile product. This led us to consider the diverse environments in which the flooring could express itself and the types of material interplay we could create. From the natural, muted tones of classical architecture and the monolithic forms of modernist buildings to the avant-garde world of fashion, these compositions celebrate the versatility of the flooring as a key visual and functional element.” The series features six new patterns with influences from the worlds of art, fashion, culture, and textiles. Starting with these, designers and architects can then choose from four warp colours and twelve weft colours to make their preferred version of Bolon By You.
REMO RÖNTGEN Nya Nordiska’s autumn collection turned colour and texture into a gallery of textiles with a high variety of styles. The fabric spectrum ranges from purist Asian plissé and the natural colour of linen through to the opulence of ruby-red velvet. “This collection emotionally combines Nya Nordiska’s clear design statement and our fabric expertise”, says managing director Remo Röntgen, summing up the targeted colour vision. “This means architects, interior designers, and decorators can coordinate textile planning with precise colour toning and effortless floor to ceiling draperies. Drapery and upholstery fabrics prove to be harmonious team players, working well in combination with other interior components, which is quite justifiably generating great interest.”
MAHARAM / Previewed at NeoCon 2016, leather is the latest product initiative to expand the creative reach of the Maharam Design Studio, with a launch of eight styles in 100 unique colours. Exclusively sourced in Italy, with the exception of a Spanish suede, the collection forgoes the excessive finishing that characterises much of the leather available today. Instead, guided by the company’s material expertise, the pieces celebrate the inherent beauty of the material, returned to a more natural state. The leathers are selected based on their grain or visual impact. Focused on inherent variation, Maharam’s offering deliberately highlights the unique natural features that distinguish leather from manmade, synthetic products. To achieve this the company has developed relation- ships with a handful of boutique tanneries in northern Italy and Spain, chosen for their expert ability to produce the best of each desired quality; turning to Western Europe as the source of upholstery leather, thanks to its excellent veterinary practices, mild climate, absence of branding, and manner in which the animals are allowed to graze in open fields without barbed-wire fencing.
FABSCARTE / Emilio Brazzolotto and a group of master craftsmen with 20 years’ experience in mural decoration are the starting point for Fabscarte, based in Milan. With a workshop for the production of hand-painted wallpapers that constantly experiments with new techniques and materials, the Fabscarte team looks for inspiration in nature and art to create wall coverings that combine matter, texture, and colour in unprecedented ways, giving a new language to interior design.
CARRIÈRES DU HAINAUT / Carrières du Hainaut has been extracting and manufacturing the iconic Blue Limestone of Hainaut for over 125 years. At Interieur Biennale 2012 in Kortrijk, the company worked side by side with Vincent Van Duysen Architects to design a highly modern, three-dimensional stand, immersing visitors in the world of blue limestone and its various finishes. Its stand for Batibouw 2014 in Brussels, of the same initial concept, won the Communication Award. At Marmomacc 2015 in Verona, the company’s stand won the Best Communicator Award — it was like a chequerboard, inviting the visitor to see, feel, touch, and stroll across the large range of possibilities and applications, both aesthetically and technologically. “At Carrières du Hainaut, we don’t stop”, comments brand manager Jan Devroey. “At the Batibouw fair in 2016, we dared to place the focus on the natural characteristics of the stone (e.g. fossilised crinoids and lime marks), to reveal these qualities that are often seen as faults, in a different light. By presenting slabs with mirrored lime-marks, we ended up creating a high-end, inspirational, decorative design. Last year we also presented our innovative decorative treatments at multiple Architect@Work events: the EnoWave and EnoScala nishes add a touch of lightness, delicacy, and elegance to the walls with their fluid and wavy lines, while EnoCranto and EnoWood display force, character, and robustness, bringing out the natural and rugged beauty of the stone. In 2017, Carrières du Hainaut will continue to challenge itself in order to pre- sent the Blue Limestone of Hainaut in a new way at the Batibouw fair in February.”
ELMO / Swedish tannery Elmo has invested hugely in order to enable the nitrogen output in its cleaning facility to be reduced by 94%. “The water used in our tanning process is taken from the nearby river and is later poured back into the river cleaner than before”, says Jimmy Ahlgren, marketing director at Elmo. “Downstream, a regional cleaning facility is turning river water into drinking water, supplying cities on the west coast of Sweden with a drinking supply. Our goal goes beyond producing the best leather in the world; we also aim to generate the cleanest wastewater in the world. We proudly see this as having a minimum impact on the environment, a great leap in becoming one with nature. A tannery should not only be assessed by the chemicals in the leather but also by the chemicals in the wastewater.” Elmo leather is manufactured from Scandinavian cowhides. These are among the most expensive hides in the world and are apt to be transformed into some of the best raw, natural leather upholstery. Elmo’s aniline, semi-aniline, and technical leathers are all through-dyed and full-grain: natural irregularities in the finished piece, such as occasional traces of healed minor cuts and scratches, insect bites, and lovers’ tiffs, are regarded as proof of authenticity and quality. The animals were well treated and had good lives.
WOLF GORDON / American design company Wolf Gordon introduced Level, a collection of eight surfacing products for the interior created in collaboration with Amsterdam-based textile designer Mae Engelgeer. The series comprises four upholsteries, one drapery textile, and three digital-print wall coverings, and was previewed at Spazio Rossana Orlandi during the Salone del Mobile in Milan last year. Wolf Gordon collaborated closely with Engelgeer to design a cohesive collection characterised by repetitive geometries of varying scales. The graphic elements and diverse explorations of texture evoke the craftsmanship and authenticity of Dutch Modernism.
BOTTEGANOVE / Traditional Italian ceramic manufacturing is the basis on which Christian Pegoraro started his work as a young entrepreneur. Having grown up amongst pottery, plaster moulds, and kilns, he is now the founder of BottegaNove, a company specialised in the production of one of the greatest Italian excellences, ceramic and porcelain mosaic, and he has developed a dynamic approach to the design process. The standardisation of shapes and the lack of personality in many artisan products is the reason Pegoraro has decided to experiment with new procedures, creating brand-new collections. Presented during Milan Design Week 2016, the Plumage series is designed in collaboration with art director Cristina Celestino.
MATTEO BRIONI / Matteo Brioni developed an expertise in clay and bricks based on the specialist knowledge and passion gathered by the family over four generations. This family business and factory was established in 1920 in Italy, with the Matteo Brioni brand founded in 2010 to devote itself exclusively to earthenware products. “All our products are sustainable and eco-friendly, with natural clay surface finishing, and are suitable as wall, floor, ceiling, and furniture coverings", says founder Matteo Brioni. "We use raw earth as a contemporary building material, designing and producing cutting-edge living concepts by creating the perfect balance between beauty, harmony, and well-being in the environment. The basic material is natural clay from different regions; these clays are carefully selected and then blended together to create the suitable chromatic, tactile, and functional qualities to perfectly t the particular construction, architecture, or interior project.” The company manufactures under the European standards and distributes its own wide range of product lines with the Matteo Brioni label, all of which are Made in Italy. Multi Terra, stairs, project designed by MORQ architectsVilla QDC project designed by Meyer Architecte, 2016Terra Evoca boiserie, Matteo Brioni stand Downtown Design Dubai, 2015
MUTINA / Mutina’s latest collections by Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby, Puzzle and Mistral, mix block colours and multi-coloured graphic patterns. CEO Massimo Orsini: “Mutina had already worked with Barber & Osgerby in the past. In 2016, we wanted to present new collections able to demonstrate our expertise in transforming simple ceramic coatings into essential elements of interior design, and to provide products that can be used in the overall planning of the space, both indoor and outdoor, due to the aesthetic and material features of the coatings, which act jointly as well as independently, to recreate spaces, details, and partitions. Puzzle is a tile collection characterised by geometry, colour, and pattern, giving way to endless combinations. Mistral is a three-dimensional sculptural series. Both of these are greatly appreciated by customers and the media alike.”
MADE A MANO / A series of lava stone tiles called Magma has been produced by Made a Mano, designed in collaboration with Faye Toogood in London. The solid lava stone, extracted from Sicily’s Mount Etna, is covered with a glaze consisting of 10 different colours and a thick layer of glass powder. The colour has fused with the natural metals in the stone to lend an expression of raw but reworked lava. “Lava stone is the most durable natural stone in the world, and though it’s well known, it has yet to be discovered by architects and interior designers”, says NanaKi Bonfires, creative director at Made a Mano. “It creates a unique pattern and becomes an artwork.”
PERONDA NUC is a new mosaic created by MUT Design for high-end décor brand Harmony by Peronda. Meaning ‘knot’ in Catalan, NUC consists of a meshed mosaic composed of square glass tiles 4.5 centimetres thick. Like the famous Rubin’s vase, it is inspired by the principles of Gestalt psychology. This new design, officially launched during the recent edition of Cersaie, is based on the principle of figure-ground organisation.
EGE CARPETS /ege carpets is one of Europe’s leading companies in the design, development, and manufacture of custom, high-quality carpets with a focus on sustainability. Based in Denmark, it has developed a strong tradition for designer and artist collaborations that can be traced back to founder Mads Eg Damgaard, who stated: “The industry and the artists need one another. Artists are capable of increasing the quality of the creations and the industry has the ability to provide jobs for the artists, thus contributing to a better livelihood.” Christian Lacroix, Jean Paul Gaultier, and John Kørner are only a few examples of prominent names from the international sphere of designers and artists with whom ege carpets has teamed up. “Uniting with such creative design spirits inspires us to think differently whilst allowing us to push the limits, to produce carpets with effortless comfort and stunning designs.”Designer Karen Nybo has accompanied Christian Lacroix’s creative process ever since he first collaborated with the Danish company. This year, the collaboration was taken to a higher level. “We have worked with Lacroix for more than eight years, including his interior design projects for exhibitions, hotels, and operas. Now he has decided to start a collaboration with us on a proper collection of carpets inspired by the work we have done together. With two or three projects per year over eight years, this has resulted a library of designs that we have added to Monsieur Lacroix’s own archive in France. He works with thousands of embroidered pieces, graphic designs, ancient prints, assembling these with photoshop and revising them. It is extremely impressive — he has a gift for interpretation, twisting proportions and colours, mixing and blending references. As a designer at ege, my contribution is to adapt and verify the feasibility of these creations, as well as to frame them as a commercial asset. From a design point of view, we need to verify that the same good quality of the item remains stable; so many parameters have to come together — design, technical, visual, as well as determining the limits of the machines and of the industrial project. We work closely with the machine operators: suggestions come often from them, as they know how the process will react and what will result.”
SCALA, A NEW EGE COLLECTION LAUNCHING AT THE STOCKHOLM FURNITURE FAIR 2017 The Scala collection is a unique carpet solution combining the minimalistic but artisan texture of a flat-woven construction with different patterns of various scales. It offers a basic rawness while still bringing the acoustic and practical advantages of carpet to the design of the interior. With a distinct feel and material quality, Scala features three design stories that celebrate well-known textiles used in fashion and in different cultures throughout the years. All Scala patterns have their own individual appearance relating to the fabric’s texture and weaving details, which reinforces their expression: the basic and linear look of denim / the classic stitch of a gentleman’s suit / the folded and pleated fabrics with interesting reflections of light and dark / the melange of motifs that offer a soft, practical touch / the beautiful, worn, vintage textiles with a unique story and a beautiful play of colours.... Made of regenerated ECONYL® yarns from used fishing nets, Scala is also a green choice.
ZUZUNAGA / Back in 2009, artist and designer Cristian Zuzunaga gathered an eclectic group of people together to start a brand of timeless, non-gender-specific, sustainable home and fashion accessories, as well as limited edition furniture. It involves a synthesis of the old and new, natural and manmade, digital and analogue. “Our products lie at the crosswords of art and design. At their visual core, they are based on the pixel, the icon of our time. Colour is at the heart of everything we do, and we use it to positively affect human emotion. We utilise high quality, organic, traceable materials, traditional manufacturing techniques, and sustainable processes, and work with local craftsmen wherever possible.” The Zuzunaga brand has two main collections: Analogue and Digital, each of these is divided into sub-collections. “The Inca collection is inspired by a trip I took to my native Peru in 2015, after nearly two decades of absence. There I realised that the patterns that we had been developing over the last 10 years seemed almost like contemporary interpretations of ancient patterns from the Incan and Mayan Empires. Lastly, we have our Bitmap collection. A bitmap is a way of storing a digital image by com- pressing its elements. The prints in this series derive from that process of compression. The name is also a play on words: if one were to zoom-out hundreds of times on each print, one would find a photograph of an urban landscape.”
MONUMENT OF STITCHES / In 2015, artist Isabel Berglund created Monument of Stitches in Denmark, together with 650 local knitters, demonstrating her unique ability to make works of art with hundreds of participants knitting according to a concept she has developed. The result is a series of six monumental artworks where Berglund’s aesthetically unified whole meets the individually-knitted contributions of the participants on equal terms. “As a textile artist, my project is to create form out of mass. My works are about identity and surfaces. In my collective art projects, the participants bring an identity to the work through their hand-knitted surfaces”, she informs. The Monument of Stitches installation was assembled at the Trapholt museum in 2016, after each one of the individual pieces had been presented in each of the six cities in the Trekantområdet region of Denmark the previous year.
AMINI / Joe Colombo, famed Italian designer of the 1960s, is the protagonist in the newest Amini collection of great collaborations that debuted at the Salone del Mobile in 2016. This was made possible by the active participation of Studio Joe Colombo, which currently operates in Milan under the directorship of architect Ignazio Favata. These new carpets are part of Amini’s continuous search for a greater synthesis between famous Italian design and prestigious manufacturing that has been undertaken by the company since 2014.
BI YUU / Bi Yuu was founded in Mexico in 2012 by textile designer Marisol Centeno, her goal being to create a brand specialising in woven rugs and textile design accessories with a strong vision regarding quality, cutting-edge design, local production, and social commitment. “To understand the panorama of artisan textile production in Mexico”, says the designer, “it is necessary to look beyond technical virtuosity or beauty: textiles carry traditional stories and cosmologies within their patterns and designs as well.”
G.T.DESIGN / G.T.DESIGN is preparing to celebrate 40 years of history. Since 1977, the company has been designing items and accessories originating from different cultures and crafts. A selection of these creations was given a contemporary design twist, ultimately channeling the creative energy of art director Deanna Comellini. As she explains, “For us, the rug has taken shape through careful meditation and styling, and through brainstorming with specialists who offer their knowledge and interior design vision. The rug is an archetype that mankind in every civilisation and culture has used to create a home, an environment. The rug is archaic yet simple, and it humanises the space”.
GOLRAN / After the launch of its Carpet Reloaded collection in 2008, which features an innovative process of decolorisation and re-dyeing of vintage carpets, Golran has brought out a new contemporary series, informed by creative design director Francesca Avossa. Faithful to the brand’s Persian roots, Golran has consolidated its status over the last few years, with a dedicated range harnessing luxury craftsmanship and decorative merit in a modern key. This has paved the way for carpets that are no longer simply vehicles for fashion and taste, but for the technical refinement and great aesthetic comfort dictated by increasingly sophisticated interior schemes. The Paralleli collection brings together different materials and inspirations. Baroque allusions of embroidery, edgings, frames, and ornamental motifs, as well as personalised revisitations of Persian and Indian patterns, contrast with the simplicity of exquisite monochromes and contemporary-art inserts. Geometric shapes and lines reference minimalism and American postpictorial abstractionism.
THE ALFRED COLLECTION / Marie Mees and Cathérine Biasino have worked together as fabric designers for many years and have their own label, The Alfred Collection, with products ranging from bed and table linen to carpets and curtains, all in natural materials such as linen and wool. Lee is a new rug from the series of handwoven rugs — these are vegetable-dyed and available in indigo, turmeric, and black. Production takes place in Nepal, (by Van Caster) with attention to fair-trade and the use of sustainable, ecological materials. The designer-duo regularly works with architects, and their rugs are adaptable in size to suit whatever space they are assigned to.
LAEND / Lænd is the signature for projects and objects conceived by Diane Steverlynck, Anne Masson, and Eric Chevalier. These exclusive textile pieces, such as bedspreads, rugs, cushions, and blankets, are defined by their unusual graphic features. The rhythms, colours, and textures are the result of the development of special yarns, the fruit of a close partnership between the Belgium-based designers and manufacturers. This is expressed through both the carefully selected primary materials and the highly specialised production methods.
NILUFAR / Nilufar has presented a unique carpet collection designed by Jorge Lizarazo, woven at his Colombian atelier Hechizoo. The pieces are precious creations where metals such as copper, silver, bronze, and pewter, combined with nylon, cotton thread, and natural fibres obtained from exotic woods like yaré and cumare, seem to be having an unusual yet harmonious conversation. The results are exclusive compositions characterised by the peculiar beauty that arises from such unexpected blends.
DANSKINA / Landscape by Danskina is inspired by artists’ attempts to render vistas of the natural world in paint. Designer Hella Jongerius has incorporated different yarns, pile heights, and special edges in the wool to evoke the feeling of a stroke of paint on a canvas. The rug combines organic expanses with patterned swathes in an abstract simulation of an unfolding terrain. The melange of yarn used to create the rug is spun from natural linen and wool, and tufted into a deep pile by craftsmen in India. This depth allows the melange to float, accentuating its intriguing texture and supreme tactility.
LIMITED EDITION / Rik Wouters & The Private Utopia is a project carried out in Antwerp, initiated jointly by the MoMu (Fashion Museum) and the Royal Museum of Fine Arts to commemorate Rik Wouters, who died 100 years ago. The exhibition, which runs until February 2017, displays more than 60 pieces under the same roof, flanked by contemporary fashion, applied design, and art installations. Craftsmanship and natural materials are the common thread running through the show. Fashion designer Dirk Van Saene, a member of the Antwerp Six, took up the challenge to translate his own picturesque visual language into a rug design. Like Wouters, he painted elements from his own private world and surroundings: the cats on the neighbour’s lawn, pigeons building their nests, and his own flower garden. The rug is five metres in diameter and is presented as a seating element in the installation created by Van Saene for this exhibition. It was produced by family-owned company Limited Edition, maker of high-quality rugs in artistic editions. The colours of the hand-dyed yarn were created especially for this unique piece at the firm’s own dye-works.
CARPET DESIGN AWARDS / The finalists for the 2017 Carpet Design Awards were chosen in November 2016: a jury of design and carpet industry experts shortlisted a total of 24 carpet creations in eight categories. These awards are a coveted international badge of excellence in quality of execution and uniqueness of design in modern handmade carpets. This year, the winners in each category will receive their award at a ceremony held on 15 January 2017 at the Innovations@ DOMOTEX fair.
KATRINETORP LANDERI / In autumn 2016, an exhibition at Katrinetorp Landeri, just outside Malmö, Sweden presented the work of dozens of Scandinavian designers, in collaboration with Svenskt Tenn (image), Kasthall, Asplund, Ogeborg, Handarbetets Vänner, Vandra Rugs, Streco, and Olsson & Gerthel. With this show, the focus was set on the carpet as an art and design object. Featured were 18 new carpets, among which were those of Lena Bergström, Claesson/Koivisto/Rune, Carin Ellberg, Nina Gerthel, Josefin Gäfvert, Lukas Göthman, Gunnar Kaj, Ami Katz, and Kristoffer Nilson.
JAN KATH / For this newest collection, Heiter Bis Wolkig, Jan Kath was inspired by the works of the Baroque painters of the 16th and 17th centuries, bringing the sky to the living room floor. As Kath says, “Artists captured a piece of idealised sky in the domes of magnificent churches. The Dutch masters and their archaic sea battles in oil influenced this collection. Always in motion, clouds are impressive snapshots in time.” In Heiter Bis Wolkig, the featured weather conditions are as dramatically opulent as they are powerful; in the carpets, they have calming effect on eyes.Yarns of wool, silk, and stinging nettles form a range of over 1,200 colours in Jan Kath’s carpet collections. The modern designs first take shape on computers in the creative centre in Bochum, in the Ruhr District of Germany. They are then sent electronically to Nepal, Thailand, India, or Morocco, to be made. Nevertheless, Kath relies on long-established production methods for the realisation of his ideas. Whether in the Himalayas, Agra, the ancient Mogul capital of India, or the Atlas mountains of Morocco, the carpets are handwoven in line with centuries- old traditions and at manufacturing sites that are often still run as small family businesses.Jan Kath is an autodidact. The matrix for his innovative designs is formed by a deeply-rooted relationship to carpets, being from the third generation of a family of carpet dealers who have branches in the Ruhr District and Berlin. In order to find his own way, Kath travelled through Asia and the Middle East when he was 20 years old. With his interpretation of the contemporary carpet, Kath has developed an unmistakable signature that defines style. He is one of the most important carpet designers on the international stage today. His concepts have earned numerous accolades, including the Red Dot award and the Carpet Design Award. More and more of his work is also now appearing in museums and at events that showcase art and design, such as the Frankfurt Museum of Applied Art, the Beijing International Design Triennial, Art Museum Riga Bourse, and the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich.
SAHCO / The SAHCO 2017 Collection is an invitation to travel, with style and relaxed nonchalance. This year’s Ulf Moritz’s series of textiles features pastel tones, displaying an innovative colour palette. Along with the new colourings, the spotlight is on unusual fabric blends: bast and lurex woven into an upholstery fabric, and all-over patterns and colour gradients with metallic effects. Subtle, technical double fabrics with bouclé ribbons merge together naturally. These are complemented by new accessories like tie-backs and trimmings, united with the finest craftsmanship and an eclectic look. The design language of this collection is extravagant, interpreted in a very contemporary way. As formal as it is colourful and as simple as it is elegant, every single piece possesses sophisticated ornament features.
MATERIALS Take a look at how waste can contribute to the research in new materials. From patterns found in nature to hyper-natural conglomerates and along to neglected yet highly meaningful matter.
FORM US WITH LOVE / Pun h (an ancient term in Sanskrit that means again) is an initiative of Godrej & Boyce, one of India’s major manufacturing conglomerates. Led by Shubhi Sachan, it focuses on re-thinking the use of industrial waste materials. This year, Form Us With Love was invited to design the first ever Pun h exhibition, which was shown at the London Design Festival in September. About a year ago, Swedish design studio Form Us With Love met with the Chief Executive Director and Chief Design Officer representing the Godrej Group. “The two gentlemen casually visited our studio at Sankt Eriksplan in Stockholm”, recalls Allon Libermann, “to talk about strategic design and operations in aerospace, real-estate, safety, food, and furniture, among many other things. Six months later, Hemmant Jha, Chief Design Officer at Godrej, invited us to Mumbai to explore Indian daily life and Godrej Industries, with special attention to the newly developed Innovation Center. This experimentation hub is built to challenge the boundaries of contemporary design in India, a stance that resonated well with Form Us With Love’s ethos.”The Pun h exhibition in London, designed by Form Us With Love, presented the explored materials in a narrative way. The project was brought to life in response to the various types and amounts of industrial waste generated by Godrej & Boyce’s manufacturing facilities. For 10 months, starting in February 2015, the Pun h team did extensive field research, visiting as many as 25 factories and accumulating a database of over 600 waste materials. The explorative journey from these neglected materials to potential applications is being carried out in collaboration with various Indian designers, such as 11.11. By using the assembled materials archive as a communication tool, Godrej is creating a platform for both designers and employees, in order to unleash the full potential of the materials at hand.
CAESARSTONE / Leading manufacturer of high-quality quartz surfaces, Caesarstone has now released the latest additions to its Supernatural range, inspired by the forms, colours, and patterns found in nature. Emulating the texture of natural stone, Georgian Bluffs and White Attica, present two very different classic designs. The former is timeless, de ned by soft-grey tonalities and delicate veining, presenting a striking yet re ned natural texture. The latter is characterised by deep, dramatic black veins juxtaposed with a vivid white background and finished with subtle hints of grey. Head of Product Design Mor Krisher commented on these new creations, which were launched in 2016: “Spanning from time-enduring colours like white, to daring, boldly veined surfaces, the new designs were produced with a view to upcoming trends and with our vision of consistently meeting and anticipating different interior design schemes and palates.”
COMPAC / At Design Miami this year, Arik Levy released ICE, an installation created from Levy’s Genesis collection for Compac, the leading company in Spain marketing fine decorative surfaces. Compac transforms premium-quality raw quartz and marble, improving technical performance and creating unique surfaces, using innovative processes to achieve ecological and sustainable benefits. For the display, Levy applied his artistic approach to architecture and design in order to show the beauty and versatility of Genesis and to demonstrate how the elements can be used in different applications. Inspired by the great frozen lakes of ice that can be found in the Arctic, Genesis reveals visual fragments similar to those found in natural stone and provokes the eye to delve into the ethereal qualities and surprising transparency of the material. In the words of Levy, “These slabs are as beautiful as a painting on the wall and as powerful as an ancient stone.”
CLEAF / Cleaf is an Italian company producing surfaces for the furniture and interior design industry. Thanks to the expertise it has built up over time and to a meticulous approach to research, both artistic and technological, the company has achieved direct control over the entire production chain. Reflex is part of the range of TSS (Thermo Structured Surface) panels made using a press with thermosetting resins. With a bright finish that shines like brushed aluminium, Reflex has an elegant appearance, perfect for use with metallic designs or on solid colours. Alessandro Carrara, General Manager of Cleaf, comments: “Observation and contact with the surrounding world generates unique sensory experiences for people. This awareness gave us the idea of transferring the tactile and visual sensations of the natural elements to chipboard and MDF panels coated with melamine decorative papers.”
VAN DEN WEGHE / Founded more than 60 years ago, Van den Weghe has become a specialist in the sourcing, finishing, and installation of the world’s most luxurious stone. From its main headquarters in Belgium, it ships stone around the world. Working with architects and designers to realise made-to-measure projects, owner of Van den Weghe Tanguy Van Quickenborne says, “Van Den Weghe is one of world’s premier natural stone companies. Driven by innovation, we are dedicated to the symbiosis of technology, aesthetics, and artisanship. In close collaboration with skilled architects and designers, we bring the allure of our luxury stonework to residences and businesses across the globe. Natural stone has been shaped by the earth’s most fundamental natural processes over aeons. As a building material, it has the potential to completely transform a space. Stone influences our moods and inspires our thoughts. Even though it can be used to generate a diverse range of aesthetic effects, there is a common thread: timeless sophistication.” The highest-quality materials come from locations including Italy, India, Iran, Brazil, Norway, and Switzerland. “We bring these premium stone slabs into our atelier, where clients and architects can select the perfect pieces for their projects. Our artisans cut the slabs according to the client’s specifications, and finish them with the highest precision. An example of our innovative product development is Lapris, Van den Weghe’s proprietary plugsockets and switches. Fusing the beauty of stone with electronics, we transform the practicalities of everyday life into aesthetic points of interest."
ÉMAILLERIE BELGE / Created in 1923, Emaillerie Belge is one of the leading suppliers of vitreous enamel. Nowadays, it is the only enamelling company still active in the Benelux. Even though it’s mainly known for the production of signage, it is focusing more and more on innovation by exploring new markets such as art, design, and architecture. Working together with artists and designers who are eager to use vitreous enamel creates new ideas, with enamel representing added value.“Just a few weeks before CEO Tanguy van Quickenborne purchased Emaillerie Belge in June 2016, he asked me if I would be interested in working together with him. My first visit there was overwhelming. Not only was I impressed by the industrial-looking building but the artisanal way of working and the beauty of the enamelled panels is incredible. The two of us knew that there was a lot of work to do in terms of innovating and exploring new markets, which was considered a must, so we immediately decided which markets we would set our focus on: design, art, and architecture. We are now realising different works for and by artists such as Kasper Bosmans, Christian Dotremont, and Michaël Borremans. Different design projects are also taking shape, and for those we are working along with designers like Damien O’Sullivan, muller van severen, Ben Storms, and Maarten De Ceulaer. Last but not least, there’s architecture. Glenn Sestig has become a big fan of realising projects in enamel, and we’re also making our way towards cladding façades, tunnels, metro stations, and kitchen countertops.”
KTH ROYAL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY / In the future, windows and solar panels could be made from one of the best — and cheapest — construction materials known to man: wood. Researchers at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm have developed a transparent wood that’s suitable for mass production. It was presented in March 2016. Lars Berglund, professor at the Wallenberg Wood Science Centre in KTH, says that while optically transparent wood had been developed in microscopic samples during the study of wood anatomy, the new KTH project introduces a way to use the material on a large scale. “Transparent wood is good for solar cells, since it’s a low cost, readily available, renewable resource”, Berglund says. “This becomes particularly important when it comes to covering big surfaces with solar cells.”
MATHIEU LEHANNEUR / As part of London Design Festival 2016, designer Mathieu Lehanneur presented his spectacular work Liquid Marble at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Manufactured by MCM – Mármores Centrais do Minho, the piece evokes a surreal vision of the sea, mimicking the look and feel of rippling water. Made of a large, single piece of hand- polished black marble and designed using advanced 3D movie-making software, it reproduces the visual effect of an ocean surface gently ruffled by the wind. The structure reflects and distorts itself, and the intense black of the marble accentuates the colour of the sea, as if it has been fossilised in stone. Liquid Marble was presented on a 30cm-high pedestal, offering viewers a close-up experience of the enigmatic effect of contrasting materials – both liquid and solid at the same time – and encouraging contemplation. This installation was a variation of Lehanneur’s on-going series exploring the materiality of marble, in which the designer combines his passion for design, science, technology, and art, and introduces an alchemic combination of science and a metaphysical approach.
THESIZE SURFACES / Neolith is a product created using TheSize Surfaces’ proprietary sinterisation technology, exposing minerals and other raw materials to extremely high pressure and temperatures of over 1200°C, thereby mimicking the way that natural stone forms over thousands of years, in just hours. The process gives the product outstanding physical and mechanical properties regarding compaction, resistance, and durability. As head of design Carlos García attests, “The Neolith brand is the outcome of the latest research in the industry. The product is 100 percent natural, composed of raw material — clays, feldspar, silica, and mineral oxides — and it’s recyclable. Neolith has near-zero porosity, making the product hygienic, stain resistant, easy to clean, and impervious to chemicals. It is also resistant to wear, scratching, and heat, and its colours, being natural, do not vary on exposure to UV rays. Additionally, it is lightweight and simple to install, meaning that Neolith is suitable for virtually every indoor and outdoor surface.”
AIRLITE / A coating surface for indoor and outdoor use, Airlite is a patented formulation that is able to produce cleaner air. Created by researchers Massimo Bernardoni and Antonio Cianci, it harnesses the power of light to reduce air pollution: by generating an oxidisation reaction, the contaminants present in the air are neutralised. Airlite actually absorbs pollutants on the painted surface. As air circulates throughout the building, the whole internal environment is improved, making it healthier and more pleasant to breathe.If used on a building exterior, Airlite helps to reduce air pollution in the city. For example, if 100 square metres of surface area is painted with Airlite, this can reduce air pollution as effectively as the same size area of fully grown trees. Thanks to the technology, it creates and maintains fresh, healthy environments without the use of air filtration systems, thus reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions, the major cause of the greenhouse effect. The photocatalytic action of Airlite, on the one hand, decomposes oily substances deposited on the surface, thus preventing dirt particles from adhering to the wall. On the other hand, Airlite creates a thin film of water on the surface, thanks to a hydrophilic reaction, which also prevents dust and other particles from adhering.
OFFICINA CORPUSCOLI / The Growing Lab is an on-going design-research project exploring methodologies for the implementation of mycelium [the vegetative part of a fungus or fungus-like bacterial colony] as a main agent for the development of novel materials and processes that are capable of minimising energy consumption, carbon emissions, and the production of waste, while reducing production costs. The project, Mycelium-based Materials for Product Design, is the result of a collaboration between Officina Corpuscoli and knowledge institutes such as the Utrecht Universities and Design Academy Eindhoven, and includes the involvement of industrial partners as part of its users’ committee. These project studies analyse the mechanisms underlying the structural and decorative properties of mycelium as well as its improvement, while exploring and assessing natural variations, environmental growth conditions, and genetic qualities of the selected mycelia. This, in order to identify tailor-made mycelia for use as alternatives to traditional oil-based plastics. Across the duration of the project, the parties concerned cooperated to jointly develop a palette of mycelium-based materials with diverse properties, which will then be characterised not only technically but also experientially, before being embedded in specific applications and products. Maurizio Montalti, creative director at Officina Corpuscoli, has been implementing the project in his role as Research Associate at Design Academy Eindhoven.
HILDA HELLSTRÖM / Hilda Hellström is a Swedish artist dealing with on our perception and understanding of reality as purely subjective, and investigating the sensuous aspects of life as opposed to the rational. Working with materials often unfamiliar, she plays with undefinable hierarchies, value systems, and definitions. This has involved studies about what we classify as ‘natural’ in contrast to the manmade or artificial. Her tiles are made on commission and out of a polymer-plaster material mixed with pigments.
DESIGN DISPLAY / Julia Lohmann and Petra Blaisse have transferred scientific examination to the world of design through objects and systems. Design Display’s new exhibition in the KonzernForum at Autostadt in Wolfsburg (Germany) focuses on the subject of material research, presenting the two designers’ investigations and their distinct outcomes. Until February 2017, Lohmann’s Seaweed objects and Blaisse’s Solar Curtain initiate a dialogue inside the prismatic 20-meter-long vitrine. Each of the designers represents different methods in contemporary design research: Lohmann aims to stimulate the discourse on the use of resources and to question the purpose of design, while Blaisse develops solution-oriented products.While seeking an alternative to fossil fuels, Lohmann discovered the potential of seaweed. In her mobile research station, Department of Seaweed, she develops new methods for seaweed to be pressed, cut, sewn, and processed into new objects. At the core of Blaisse’s work lies a coalition of interior design and landscape architecture. Design Display shows the development of a curtain equipped with solar cells that can produce electricity. Still at the prototype stage, this Solar Curtain represents the interim results of a long-term research project and demonstrates that one can discover and harness previously unexploited materials and resources.
CREATIVE MATTERS / Canadian producer Creative Matters was at Maison&Objet this year for the first time, an occasion to present its 360° approach to wool flooring. The majority of Creative Matters’ floor coverings are made of wool and suitable for boardrooms and bedrooms alike. A flame retardant rating is non-negotiable in corporate interiors, and because wool is naturally flame resistant, it does not require chemical fire-retardant treatment and therefore easily meets those stringent requirements. According to the Campaign for Wool in the UK, sound absorption is one of the primary reasons wool carpet is used most often in aircraft, casinos, and hotels. In dining spaces, for example, a wool floor covering can maintain its appearance in the face of frequent spills. The scales on the outside of the fibre as well as the natural oils, mean that food and drink do not penetrate and can be easily cleaned up.When creating customised carpets, Creative Matters president Carol Sebert informs, “We often select New Zealand wool. However, if we are looking for some additional character in a hand-knotted rug, we consider using Tibetan yarn. The lanolin in mountain sheep living at high altitudes creates a special aspect in the wool that is unmatched worldwide. Because this wool is also hand-spun, variations in the dernier [the width of the fibre] adds more personality. This variation is then further enhanced by dyeing, as the dye takes differently to the yarn due to its density. The effect is subtle, but so beautiful.”
SWINE / SWINE (Super Wide Interdisciplinary New Explorers) is a collaboration between Japanese architect Azusa Murakami and British artist Alexander Groves. Creating works that span the disciplines of art, design, and film, SWINE explores themes of regional identity and the future of resources in the context of globalisation. The work of the practice manifests a deep research into materials and modern industrialisation. SWINE was the recipient of the Designer of the Future Award by Swarovski at Design Miami/ Basel 2015, in recognition of outstanding young talent. Work by the duo also features in the permanent collection of the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
This article appeared in DAM60. Order your personal copy.