Fabricating the Future

We Sift Through Some of Kvadrats's Superlative Swatches

Since 1968, Danish textiles maker Kvadrat has been the go-to brand for designers, architects, interiors gurus and furniture fanatics, consistently offering the best in quality and technological innovation for upholstery, curtains and more. Developing new weaves, colors and textures in parallel with the pioneering designers and manufacturers of the 20th century—such as Charles and Ray Eames, Isamu Noguchi and Arne Jacobsen—the company has become synonymous with high modernism, but remains a driving force in the field through its partnerships with contemporary designers and artists. Below we profile some of our favorite Kvadrat collaborations.

Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec—Clouds (pictured)

The Paris-based sibling design duo created more than just a fabric for their project with Kvadrat, producing a set of unpredictably interlocking tiles, made of thermo-compressed foam and ingeniously held together with rubber bands. When linked, the tiles create an uneven surface that can be used as room divider, wallpaper or even just as decoration. 

Roman Signer

Kvadrat textiles may be renowned for covering some of the design classics of the 20th century, but this association often takes attention away from the products themselves. In recent years the brand has got around this problem by partnering with artists including Liam Gillick, Thomas Demand and Olafur Eliasson to create artworks that utilize the texture, weight and sculptural qualities of Kvadrat fabrics to dramatic effect. One of the most recent of these projects was with Roman Signer, who created two site-specific “action sculptures” using Kvadrat products in 2009. In Bogen, Signer attached 100 meters of Kvadrat’s Air 4 fabric to a rocket that zig-zagged across a beach in Ebeltoft, Denmark, where the company was founded. In Tuch, he worked with a curtain-sized swatch of the same material, which momentarily flew across the horizon as it was propelled skywards by four air canisters. 

Tord Boontje—Happy Ever After

At the 2004 Salon del Mobile in Milan, the Dutch London-based designer Tord Boontje produced an extravagant installation entitled Happy Ever After, in which he cut his characteristically intricate floral motifs into Kvadrat fabrics, draping them over rocking chairs and loungers and hanging ivy-like, organic-looking creepers of the textiles from the ceiling. This resulted in a long-running relationship with the Danish brand, for whom Boontje has designed a range of upholstery fabrics and curtains. The most eye-catching of these is “Eternal Summer,” a curtain in which winding flowers, leaves and branches are cut out of the material, creating a vivid pattern when light shines through. 

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