Swatches at an Exhibition
Mark McMenamin -- Interior Design, 3/1/2007 12:00:00 AM
Licensing designs from an arts institution can be a tricky proposition. Confronted with an embarrassment of riches, where do you start? That's why, in rolling out a textile series that translates the art and architecture overseen by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Designtex chose the installment plan.
The debut collection, Singular Forms, was inspired by minimalist neutrals. In the follow-up line, Abstract Matters, earth tones mingled with deeper ones. The newest launch, Material Matters, comprises eight groups. Predominantly a pattern story, it reflects the "museums' spirit of marrying art with visionary architecture," says Designtex's research-and-development director, Carol Derby, who oversaw a design effort led by Kimberle Frost—as with the previous Guggenheim collections.
Iconic buildings set the tone for several patterns. Thumbnail Sketch turns Frank Gehry drawings for Spain's Guggenheim Museum Bilbao into a series of fabrics utilizing metallic yarns in each of 12 colors. A nod to the Bilbao museum's skin, reflective Titanium is made from Trevira CS polyester in 10 metallics; use it to upholster furniture or wrap panels. Ziggurat travels back to New York to put a shimmering spin on Frank Lloyd Wright's spiral as rendered in polyethylene tape, also with 10 color options. Referencing Wright's rotunda, embossing and die-cutting produce the lightweight three-dimensionality of Die-Cut Ingeo, a biodegradable nonwoven drapery fabric incorporating polylactic-acid polymer.
Innovative materials make a statement, too. With sustainable bamboo woven on a polyester warp that's offered in 10 colorways, Bamboo Epingle recalls the temporary, recyclable hall that Shigeru Ban built for the Guggenheim in Tokyo in 2001. Timeless Tibetan prayer flags inspired Sonic Fabric, which is 49 percent recycled audio tape that can actually be heard. Just run a tape head over the surface.
Kensho could hardly be more subtle. This embossed Trevira CS polyester, adhered to a nonwoven backing, mimics the cracks and imperfections of poured concrete. And the very simplest pattern is Artist's Canvas, a cotton duck. It's finished with Nano-Tex to resist spills—including paint, for that matter.
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