How can a fabric change a room? Can textiles be used as a means of communication? Sharon Kisser asked herself these questions during her degree course at the University of Applied Sciences in Mainz. “Textiles are not just to be looked at, they need to be experienced too”, this is the motto of the budding interior architect. It also led to the collaboration with drapilux, the Emsdetten-based textile company, in designing the trade fair stand according to the concept “material creates space”. Indeed, it is clearly “more than just a fabric”.
“Let’s imagine being in a hospital ward where there are no curtains or bed linen, or in a lounge without cushions, rugs or drapes. Do you prefer sitting on a hard chair during an event or on one that is upholstered? What would you say to watching the world go by on a snowy winter's day with a mug of hot chocolate but without your favourite blanket to snuggle under. All this is possible, but don’t you feel there’s something missing, like cosiness?” This is the idea that inspired Sharon Kisser. After all, she is passionate about textiles. The junior interior architect knows how fabrics have an effect on the way we perceive things: textiles are part and parcel of our everyday life. They convey a sense of identity to a room, create atmosphere and give us the feeling of being safe and secure. These attributes are becoming ever-more important in the world of today.
Beautiful and smart
This very thought set the wheels in motion for Sharon Kisser’s “material creates space” project. The former student from the University of Mainz showed that textiles have much more to offer than simply their look when she designed a trade fair stand which enabled drapilux fabrics to be experienced in a completely different way. Suspended on metal arches, fabric panels swing freely in the room, forming small tents ready to be entered. Once inside, they then reveal their secret: the intelligent added functions from drapilux. These offset odours (drapilux air), mitigate noise levels (drapilux akustik) and even lead to a 99 per cent reduction in harmful bacteria on the fabric’s surface (drapilux bioaktiv). The specially treated fabrics also safeguard people in the event of a fire because all fabrics produced by the German-based manufacturer are fire-retardant (drapilux flammstop). It is a skilful interplay of design and function that directly addresses all the senses. “It was my goal to create a world of experience for the visitor, which they are keen to explore and understand”, was how Kisser described her project. This concept can be carried across into everyday life – it is not enough just to have a pretty design, textiles need to be able to perform and adapt to our individual and modern lifestyles. In short: they have to be more than just a fabric. “I came across drapilux whilst looking for extraordinary textiles for my project. This opened up a completely new area for me because, until then, I did not know much about fabrics with intelligent functions”, Kisser recalls.
Materials for the future
Lots of people are either at home or working from home due to the current situation. “Especially in times of crisis, people yearn for an atmosphere in which they can unwind – a safe haven”, is how Kirstin Herrmann, head of the drapilux design studio, put it. “Textiles create an atmosphere that is perfectly tailored to and complements individual work and space requirements. The well-being factor plays a crucial role, both at home as well as in the workplace.” The use of textiles is, of course, also essential in rooms within retirement or a nursing homes as well as in hospitals. The desire to feel safe and sound is ever-present in a strange environment; textiles seize these requirements and communicate them. Colours, textures and design help to give the atmosphere of a room a positive impact, as do invisible intelligent added functions such as the air-purifying properties which support the climate of a room or the harmonisation of a room’s acoustics. “It is paramount that there is a perfect interplay between design and function”, emphasised Herrmann.
Kisser also recommends: “Whilst studying, I learnt that you sometimes have to be bold when choosing textiles. It does not always have to consist of a cautious combination of grey and beige. When combined, specific patterns and colours are true eye-catchers and visually enhance the space.” The feel, too, also plays a major role. “It goes without saying that the fabric needs to be of the right quality, textiles have to be durable and robust. At the same time, it is important that the fabrics that we surround ourselves with are pleasant to touch. The correct use of fabrics can completely change the feeling and the statement made by a room.”
© Photos: Sharon Kisser