Curator Yves Marbrier

Divina! The name itself says it all and it works in most languages – it is truly great. As a felted fabric, if it’s cut precisely, there is no need even to make a stitch in it, not to mention the huge choice of different colours. Most established designers have used it already, and so we set out to find what the new generation could do with it.

I have chosen two talented designers: the Brit Peter Marigold, and Philippe Nigro from France, both in their late thirties. I felt the challenge suited them because it is very open-ended, like their talents. The pieces they created are not ‘homemade’, even though they were not produced with the help of industry; they’re more like prototypes.

Peter Marigold wants objects to look playful and dynamic, and he took advantage of the full colour potential of Divina. His project is called Jib, after the mainsail on a boat. Each element has one colour and can be assembled as you feel inspired. For example, it takes four elements to make up a stool or a bench and so you can choose to make them up in just one colour, or with up to four. “The objects are decently simple, clean, and just how I wanted them,” Marigold told me. “But I had to learn some tricks for the fabric to work with the wood. There are little relief channels running inside the wood that allow the fabric to lie completely flat.” This slow process is what I call the ‘secret de fabrication’ – his piece was made with the patience of a lot of trial and error.

Philippe Nigro was inspired by the relative stability and weight of the fabric. He played on the sensation we experience in a tailor shop, when the worker sews together layers of material to make up a pair of trousers. As Philippe lives in Italy, the name Lasagne, was a clue to what he made. He layered up the fabric to give the sense of comfort to his piece, and used 108 layers of fabric.

The versatility of Divina is endless, and evidently, so is the talent of our designers.