Pnit-Wearby Polly Leonard
The Rhode Island-based design collective Pneuhaus, known for creating inflatable structures, has created a large-scale knitted sculpture for the city of Providence, Rhode Island. “Pnit” was designed to pay homage to Providence’s textile manufacturing heritage. It is constructed from inflatable tubes that have been “knitted” together in a series of loops, then illuminated by multi-coloured LED lights. The building supporting this structure is a concrete parking garage.
Textile mills once dominated Rhode Island, as textiles became the most important industry to the Rhode Island economy in the late 19th century. The state’s plentiful water courses provided the power to drive the mills and Providence was one of the first cities in the United States to industrialise. Today, Rhode Island’s textile industry is much smaller, although a few mills continue to produce a limited supply of fabrics.
Since its inception, Pneuhaus has aimed to push the boundaries of textile-based construction and subvert expectations of the built environment. Made up of architects, designers, engineers and artists, the group has built up an expertise in materials and methods used to create spatial designs. They specialise in temporary structures and installations, designed to bring joy and inspiration to public space.
Pnit’s calligraphic curves speaks to the collective’s admiration for the world of textiles and the “strength of soft things”. Originally created for Providence’s PVDFest, which took place last June, Pnit will be on display for five-months, continuously introducing new colour patterns by way of the LED illuminations.