Hans Maier-Aichen

Curator for Germany, Austria and Switzerland

As a curator the most immediately fascinating aspect of this project was the openness of the brief. With practically no limitations posed to the designers, and a single strong focus point – a classic textile material developed more than 45 years ago – the starting point was one that spoke of freedom and potential for exciting new creations and design transformations.

Today’s up and coming new talents in design make up a strong group of personalities who cross borders and disciplines alike, do not follow typical industrial design mentalities, refuse short term briefings and instead search for a new thinking and ethic. 

Against the background of a dramatic overproduction of lifestyle products all over the world, rooted in a deep financial, political and cultural crisis, we are seeing a strong paradigm shift in design. In this context, this is an opportunity to reactivate and work with a textile known best for its longevity and durability, and in doing so to cultivate a better understanding for sustainable qualities in design.

One of Kvadrat’s major strengths is its culture of experimentation, and it is partly through this that the company has succeeded in expanding the use of textile in spacial and architectural dimensions. Special projects such as this one meanwhile create an important platform for emerging designers to confront and test ideas with a realistic feasibility for a prospective market. 

The chosen projects for this region all show a great deal of narrative quality in their design. The Carcanapé by Bless, and Framed by the Austrian design duo Studio mischer'traxler, both encourage a reassess-ment of the textile and propose entirely new interior elements in doing so. Certainly Nanna Ditzel’s Hallingdal textile makes an impressive comeback that is linked with a new climate of freedom in most of the final projects. In all we are shown how, even in a jaded market, creative resources and valuable potential can be exposed.