Wallpaper|May 2021
Hella Jongerius’ new exhibition adds contemporary twists to the age-old story of weaving
Hella Jongerius

Sustainable innovation, craft, responsible production, and how we relate to objects and nature are recurring themes in the work of Dutch designer Hella Jongerius. A new series of textile experiments and an exhibition at Berlin’s Gropius Bau, ‘Woven Cosmos’, presents a panoramic take on her thinking.

‘I have always worked on the relationship between objects and human beings; objects are silent partners, there is a lot of healing in them,’ says Jongerius, whose work over the past three decades has touched upon industrial design, furniture, craft, material explorations and chromatic research. Her ongoing work with colour has led her to collaborate with textile manufacturers Maharam and Kvadrat; to leave her mark on classic Vitra furniture by Jean Prouvé, and Charles and Ray Eames; and to design the North Delegates’ Lounge for the United Nations’ New York headquarters. These experiences, alongside more in-depth research, culminated in exhibitions such as ‘Colour Machine’ at Milan Design Week in 2016 and ‘Breathing Colour’ at London’s Design Museum in 2017.

The newest chapter of her work focuses on weaving, a medium that allows Jongerius to explore some of those recurring themes, particularly sustainability, social responsibility, spirituality and ‘the healing function of objects’. The idea for the Gropius Bau exhibition developed after Jongerius spent time working on a digital loom, leaving her keen to investigate more experimental and performative weaving techniques. ‘Weaving is such a huge topic,’ she notes. ‘And I wantedto do it in a bigger realm, so I called the show “Woven Cosmos”: I wanted to work with metaphors, diving deeper into the future of weaving.’

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