Danish designer Astrid Krogh has been working with light and fabrics for many years. She has made power generating curtains, wooden tapistries with interwoven fibreoptics, neon sculptures and installations. Her work, that marries technology with a soft, craftmanship-based design approach, has raised interest also beyond the interiors industry: “one of the most exciting moments of my career”, Astrid tells me, “was when I was walking down a small street in Firenze on my way to the Emilio Pucci palace where I met Laudomia Pucci to show her my work”. Today, a show about her work premieres in Paris at Galerie Maria Wettergren.
It is an interesting project, featuring lit up textiles that change through time but that are pleasing to the eye and the touch because they were hand woven. As a matter of fact, for some pieces of her collection, Astrid used the ancient Indonesian Ikat dyeing technique: this consists in creating patterns by using bindings that resist dye penetration on the threads that are later woven into cloth.
You interpret technology through an ancient technique. Can you explain how this works? The Ikat technique is characterized by detailed colouring and immense precision in weaving. This is exactly what I needed in my fabrics: in order to have a human feel I needed to obtain smooth transitions between patterns and to allow light to create its own shapes in indefinable flows. My Ikat series are light tapistries made of paper yarn with organic patterns created in optical fibers: all is handwoven and light has replaced what in traditional Ikat was colour.
To most people all this will look as extremely experimental. Do you think there will soon be some developments for such technologies in homes? Yes I think that it is a way to renew tapestries, and to innovate the tradition of “decorative arts”. Besides that is a huge interest to integrate lightning in alternative ways into our homes.
In which way do you reckon such technologies, when articulated through design, could actually enhance the way we live in our homes? I love the way these fabrics change the atmosphere in a room. It gives it a very meditative look. For me, quality of life is to be left wondering rather than having readymade answers. So yes, I feel that these tapistries do make my way of experiencing the domestic space better.
The risk is obviously to make techy looking solutions. I think the solutions lies in the middle. My works is always something between very high and very low tech. If I didn’t weave the fibres by hand, they would not have the personal signs, all those little imperfections that make each tapistry unique.