Designing with fabrics

Not just cushions, carpets or upholstery. Fabric becomes an integral part of design, lending itself to uses that go beyond the merely decorative

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Designing with fabrics
12/05/2022 - Fabrics have always played a fundamental role in interior projects. Curtains, cushions, carpets and fabric upholstery have always complemented and completed any design.
 
Before choosing a fabric (natural or artificial fibres), weave and colour (cold or warm), which can adapt a room to personal taste, it is crucial to identify how the textile will be used. The most common use is purely decorative, like cushions and carpets. But that's not all. Today, fabric is an architectural element that has become an integral part of design, transcending the purely decorative.

Fabrics as wall coverings

The use of textiles as coverings for walls, ceilings, partitions or closet doors helps soften the perception of a room.
 
In the Chinese Apartment in Shanghai, diff.studio modulates a living room wall with a velvet panel that harmonises with the soft beanbag chairs. Chinese Apartment_ diff.studio 2

Chinese Apartment_ diff.studio

 
In the Parah Boutique in Verona, FORO Studio focuses on the exclusivity and luxury of the all-female clientele. At the heart of the project are the furnishings and accessories that enhance these characteristics. For example, wardrobe doors upholstered in soft and sophisticated powder-coloured velvet contrast the surfaces of the shelves and floors. Parah Boutique, Verona_ FORO Studio_ Foto ©Francesco Romeo 3

Parah Boutique, Verona_ FORO Studio_ Foto ©Francesco Romeo

 
Fabric can also enclose a volume. Lago offers a wardrobe system with a large stretched fabric surface that transforms classic doors into a textile wall. Sistema Et Voilà by Lago 4

Sistema Et Voilà by Lago

Textile doors: fabric meets technology

With the support of technology, fabric can be seamlessly integrated into a system to become a textile door. Created in the 1950s, the textile door is an accessory that can, if necessary, extend, define or screen interior spaces, resulting in an architectural device that connects contiguous areas.
 
The opening systems of dooor textile doors, selected by Archiproducts Milano for its showroom in Via Tortona 31, can have different mechanisms. In some cases, new technologies allow the connection of several modules for a potentially infinite length and  precise alignment that gives fluidity to door movement. dooor, porta tessile con apertura centrale centrata. A destra: porta tessile dooor ad Archiproducts Milano 5

dooor, porta tessile con apertura centrale centrata. A destra: porta tessile dooor ad Archiproducts Milano

Curtains: furnishing accessory or soft wall?

Curtains are quintessential fabric elements originating from the need to provide privacy and protection from sunlight. A sinistra: High Desert Retreat_Aidlin Darling Design_ Foto ©Joe Fletcher. A destra: Xinyi Joint Service, Hochu interior design studio 6

A sinistra: High Desert Retreat_Aidlin Darling Design_ Foto ©Joe Fletcher. A destra: Xinyi Joint Service, Hochu interior design studio

 
For some years now, the use of fabrics in interior design has responded to different needs, allowing the creation of genuine domestic "stage sets" or, increasingly, the separation of a single room.
 
Curtains have become furnishing accessories that organise space by decorating it.
 
They are used in homes, offices, shops and hotels to define rooms and create 'temporary' spaces or private corners.
 
In the North London House project, architect Annabel Karim Kassar uses a simple curtain to create a sleeping area within an ample open space. North London House_Annabel Karim Kassar Architects_Foto ©Georges Fessy / David Brook) 7

North London House_Annabel Karim Kassar Architects_Foto ©Georges Fessy / David Brook)

 
In the Cromatica project, Studiotamat deploys a 'contemporary' distribution scheme with original solutions that modulate privacy and amplify the possible uses of the different spaces. Here the guest room is conceived as a blue alcove, camouflaged behind soft plum-coloured curtains that pick up on the colour of the surrounding walls. Cromatica_Studiotamat_Foto © Serena Eller Vainicher 8

Cromatica_Studiotamat_Foto © Serena Eller Vainicher

 
The same approach - aimed at defining spaces more fluidly and dynamically - characterises the Artchimboldi Menorca project by Anna Truyol and Emma Martí. The designers' goal was a minimal and non-invasive intervention, preserving the place's history and soul to create spaces that would be as diaphanous as possible. Artchimboldi Menorca_Anna Truyol ed Emma Martí_Foto © Pol Viladoms 9

Artchimboldi Menorca_Anna Truyol ed Emma Martí_Foto © Pol Viladoms

 
The theme of flexibility and adaptability is at the heart of BDR Bureau's House with Domestic Device project. The home is understood as an open system which reduces common spaces and expands private ones as needed. An independent element transforms domestic space, making it flexible and adaptable to needs that can change over time. The service block is defined by a colourful curtain - an ephemeral boundary that distinguishes hidden private space. Casa con dispositivo domestico_BDR Bureau_Foto ©Beppe Giardino 10

Casa con dispositivo domestico_BDR Bureau_Foto ©Beppe Giardino

 
In the renovation project in Barcelona's Poblenou district by studio Six N. Five, Isern Serra transforms a former factory into a multidisciplinary space open to the city. It is conceived as a vast "architectural sanctuary" in which the imprint of craft is prominently featured.
The need for a diversified set of spaces and the imposing height made it possible to create a mezzanine for the office and warehouse, which can be closed off by high or low curtains, dividing the space and allowing varying degrees of privacy. Six N. Five Studio Renovation_Isern Serra Studio_Foto ©Salva Lopez 11

Six N. Five Studio Renovation_Isern Serra Studio_Foto ©Salva Lopez


One of the goals of BONBA studio's NEXO 2.0 project in Barcelona was to design a comfortable workspace that could foster collaboration, productivity, and well-being. To provide the comfort of home without losing the functionality of the office, they decided to use large blue velvet curtains to define space and promote acoustic comfort. NEXO 2.0_ BONBA studio_Foto © José Hevia 12

NEXO 2.0_ BONBA studio_Foto © José Hevia

 
In the Impress Madrid Teens clinic project, Raúl Sánchez uses soft blue and red curtains that create a dialectical, chromatic and material contrast with the huge granite ashlars. Impress Madrid Teens, Raúl Sánchez_Foto ©Luis Asin 13

Impress Madrid Teens, Raúl Sánchez_Foto ©Luis Asin

 
In Robert Vattilana's forte_forte Los Angeles boutique, space expresses a desire for simplification: "light and matter, curves and straight lines, solidity and transparency interpenetrate". Here, full-height white muslin curtains act as immaterial, permeable partitions whose impalpable lightness is balanced by the angular, metallic geometry of the brass back wall. forte_forte Los Angeles_Robert Vattilana_Foto ©Danilo Scarpati 14

forte_forte Los Angeles_Robert Vattilana_Foto ©Danilo Scarpati

 
In the post-pandemic Rosenthaler 69 restaurant in Berlin, VAUST Studio places two sinuous concrete tables with seats made of Norwegian granite and wood logs in the centre. The space is defined by linen curtains that hang delicately from an aluminium suspension system. Rosenthaler 69_ VAUST Studio_Foto © Robert Rieger 15

Rosenthaler 69_ VAUST Studio_Foto © Robert Rieger

 
Initially born from the functional and decorative need for an indoor/outdoor filter, curtains have become intriguing and valuable "immaterial" backdrops that, by simply opening and closing them, modulate space or separate rooms.

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