The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum has accepted seven Designtex textile designs into their remarkable collection: Clerkenwell, Myddleton, Chiyogami, Radar, Loop to Loop, Shibori Stripe, and Hint. Each reflect Designtex’s consistent interest in textile innovation regarding techniques of construction for sustainable products.
Matilda McQuaid, the deputy director of curatorial and head of textiles at the Cooper Hewitt, notes the Smithsonian rarely accepts such an extensive number of textiles from an individual company. “One of the greatest challenges in designing commercial textiles has been creating durable, cleanable, affordable, and aesthetically pleasing fabrics for highly trafficked and 24/7 environments like healthcare facilities, theaters, and airports,” she explained. “In addition, there is more demand for textiles with sustainable manufacturing practices, and companies like Designtex are taking on this responsibility and producing some very innovative fabrics.”
Clerkenwell and Myddleto were developed in collaboration with UK textile designers, as well as expert weavers Emma Sewell and Harriet Wallace-Jones. The collection features wool, one of the oldest materials used in textile production. Chiyogami designed by Tobias Batria utilizes the loom, creating three-dimensional designs with their striking textiles. Radar continues a long-running collaboration between Designtex and designer Nancy Guay Giesberger, reaching back to 1994 with the launch of Hardwear, an innovative, extreme-performance wallcovering. Loop to Loop utilizes waste cut from Steelcase furniture, most of which was recycled fabric made from PET water bottles. This waste is recycled into polyester yarn used to weave Loop to Loop textiles. Shibori Stripe takes its inspiration from “nui shibori,” a form of the ancient Japanese shibori tie-dyeing technique in which sections of cloth are gathered together with a running stitch before being dyed. Hint utilizes specially engineered yarns to create durable yet appealing fabric that combines a soft hand and complex colors with the robust performance required for bustling environments, such as healthcare settings.