Fabric as therapy
by Martina Metzner | 1/15/2016
The name ‘Xanadu' refers to the fairy-like and luxurious summer residence of Kublai Khan (1215-1294), in what is today Mongolia (China). It was said of it that it was ‘a dream place', ‘full of luxury and magnificence'. Arte's namesake collection is alread
y equally special. The production process whereby this collection came into existence is unique and a clever specimen of craftsmanship.
Texture and relief are clearly capable of being seen and felt. The material which was chosen here is abacá. Abacá i
s a fine but very strong grass fibre originating from a fruitless banana plant. The material feels slightly stiff and is somewhere between hemp and sisal. For this product, the fibre is first dyed manually and then woven by artisans. This needs to be done
with great care and is thus very time-consuming.
The plaited fabric is applied with a laminating technique to a shiny or matte printed background. Sometimes this has an exclusive print or an exotic leaf motif. Since the fabric has a fairly loose s
tructure - which is indeed the intention - the underlying shiny layer filters through and peeps out from behind the woven pattern. Looking at this wall covering from a distance, you see a very subtle shine. This appears or disappears with every play of li
ght. The whole has something of Eastern mystery about it. As regards the choice of colour, the designer chose to work with a number of ‘colour groups'. So there is the ‘jungle group' with a gamut of colours which lean towards green, khaki and brown. Then
there is the ‘gold story', the ‘silver and white' theme and a couple of strikingly daring combinations of red and green, deep blue, gray and black. The Xanadu collection also has a couple of special references. The peak of elegance, you could say. So the
re are variants that have been woven with two different shades of abacá strands. By using a couple of contrasting fibres, one gets magnificent ‘trompe l'oeil' effects in 3D. You can carry on looking at it and you would think that there is actually depth t
o it. A room covered with Xanadu immediately gains an air of grace and refinement.