Curator Constance Rubini

Two years ago, for the Kvadrat exhibition celebrating Nanna Ditzel’s Hallingdal 65, we selected a group of designers on the strength of their capacity to apprehend and transfigure the rich potential of the Hallingdal textile.

This year, young designers had to deal with a very different fabric, Divina, designed by Finn Sködt. And again, aside from their skill with form, their sense of fantasy and creative flair, we’ve been looking for designers ready to explore new ways of working with this very dense fabric.

Divina is a felt-like fabric that has a particular capacity to express colours very beautifully. This is a potential Martino Gamper understands very well, and he has translated it almost pictorially. He has designed a patchwork of contrasting colours to cover a kind of tatami, playing with a graphic way to explore the colourful qualities of Finn Sködt’s fabric.

The same causes lead to the same effects, and BIG-GAME’s answer was also very graphic. However, their central proposition is different. They used large stripes of Divina as a reinterpretation of traditional upholstery techniques. This play of covering and uncovering brings a feeling of immediacy and a very direct character to their product. It was a simple and efficient principle, which produced an elegant and singular design.

Muller van Severen have played with the material’s properties in a different way. Instead of a graphic pattern, they produced a sandwich. The whole daybed is only made of Divina; no other materials, no wood or metal, were used to build the structure. Solely using the soft layering of the fabric they produced warm and comfortable cushions, in unique shapes.

François Dumas found his inspiration in the aesthetic of rolled blankets that you might carry on your back or in a bag, where the simple gesture of rolling gives volume to a flat piece of fabric. Dumas has been rethinking the way we structure and build a seat, and took the Divina fabric as his starting point. He took the challenge to exploit the full potential of the fabric, producing a light and easy solution.

Max Lamb, meanwhile, looked at it from a different angle. His analysis of the Divina fabric – 100 per cent wool, water and flame resistant, offering excellent durability – drove him to see it as the perfectly engineered fabric to be used in demanding conditions. He decided to design workwear, which very often needs to offer high visibility and, therefore, use bright colour. His smocks are made, as they should be, to be worn as an over-garment, to protect one’s clothes underneath. Slightly oversized, each piece has a large neckhole, allowing it to be pulled over the head without needing a buttoned collar or zip. Though very simple and utilitarian, they’ve been designed with a lot of attention and with beautiful details. Lamb emphasises the beauty of workwear, a beauty that relies on their perfect efficiency and their economical spirit, where every detail is fitting to the piece.

All these propositions show a surprising and unconventional use of the Divina fabric and, next to the concepts of the other curators, we hope they will produce a delightful exhibition celebrating this iconic Kvadrat fabric.