Drawn Thread Work

To celebrate the launch of Selvedge 82, The Lace Issue, we're publishing an excerpt of Bradley Quinn's fascinating article about the influence of lace on architecture...

Textiles and architecture are coming together in new and innovative ways, but the relationship between the two has existed for millennia. Few would guess that textiles have a long history as an architectural material, sparking a tradition of portable habitations and porous buildings inhabited by civilisations on the move.As these early textile structures afforded protection from the elements, they were also embroidered with symbols and woven with patterns that identified groups, individuals and communities. Fabrics and textile techniques disappeared as wood, stone, metal and glass began to characterise the new era, but recent developments in material technologies have revealed their relevance to architecture today.

Fabric patterns and textile techniques are loaded with meaning, and their presence in architecture can endow structures and objects with familiar second skins. Textiles are more tactile than conventional materials, and their colours, textures and finishes imbue them with stylistic references uncharacteristic of traditional surfaces. Lace, in particular, has emerged as a source of inspiration for architects. Shrugging off its frilly, feminine connotations, lace is no longer associated with fashion alone. From buildings and bridges, to lighting and luxury products, the imprint of lace has become an inspiration for surface decoration and structural design.

Regarded today as an icon of architectural lace, the ‘Lace Fence’ created by identical twins Jeroen and Joep Verhoeven and designer Judith de Graauw transformed a conventional chain link fence into a one-of-a-kind outdoor barrier. Their initial designs manipulated the metal wiring to create patterns inspired by lace, ushering in a new approach to how public space architectural panels could be created. By translating classic lace patterns into grey tone vector drawings, the designers pioneered a method of upsizing lace samples and reproducing them on an industrial scale. Today, the Verhoevens and de Graauw offer clients a selection of classic lace patterns to choose from, but can also create custom designs or recreate drawings and imagery if required...

You can read this article in full in Selvedge 82, The Lace Issue.

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