"Fashioning Felt" Exhibit Opens in New York
An inherently sustainable resource, felt is made by the matting together of wool fibers.
Laurel Petriello -- Interior Design, 3/6/2009 12:00:00 AM
Little Field of Flowers Carpet by Studio Tord Boontje. Photo by Albert Font.
When pressed for their ideas of uses for felt, many Americans would no doubt reminisce about brightly-colored childhood crafts. Unbeknownst to many, the textile offers an unparalleled number of uses from home furnishings to fashion to architectural elements. “Fashioning Felt,” a new exhibit opening today at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York, sheds light on the applications of felt across the globe, which far exceed hobbies and crafting.
Central Library, Amsterdam, Architect: Jo-Coenen & Co. Architecten. Felt walls designed and made by Claudy Jongstra. Photo by Peter Cuypers; Wosk Theater, Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance, Designed by Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design, Mehrdad Yazdani, Paul Gonzales, Jessica Yi, Hansol Park, Jeremy Whitener, and Kathryn Walter of FELT Studio. Photo by Anne Garrison of Hewitt Garrison Photography.
Felt, an inherently sustainable resource, is made by the matting together of wool fibers. Unlike its sister fabrics which employ looms or forms of knitting, felt has no internal structure and is formed by a process of pressing, agitating, and molding the fibers. The versatile material is known to apply to numerous industrial uses, and even acts as a temporary dwelling textile for some Central Asian nomadic tribes.
"Bless You" chair by Louise Campbell. Photo by Erik Brahl.
“Felt has played an important role in nomadic cultures for millennia and this exhibition will explore its origins and bring the material fully up to the present,” said museum director Paul Warwick Thompson. “By examining both the conventional and nontraditional uses of felt over time, the exhibition will spotlight its unique characteristics and provide an extensive look at this ancient material with modern appeal.”
Cell carpet by Yvonne Laurysen, and Erik Mantel, and LAMA Concept. Photo by LAMA Concept.
“Fashioning Felt” celebrates the material by displaying its function in array of media. Highlighting the material’s density and structural integrity, the exhibit features home furnishings and architectural elements by Gaetano Pesce, Tom Dixon, Louise Campbell, Tord Boontje, Jean Nouvel, and more. The display also showcases design newcomers like Ben K. Mickus and his “Relief Chair,” as well as LAMA Concept’s “Cell LED” carpet, which features LEDs inserted behind the felt nodes in the carpet to provide a long-lasting, low-energy light source.
"Relief Chair" by Ben K. Mickus. Photo courtesy of Mickus Projects.
The installation, designed by Toshiko Mori Architects and sponsored by Maharam, runs through September 7.