Designed by Folkform in collaboration with Louis De Poortere, The Monochromes explores the craft of machine weaving in a range of woven rugs.
Founded in 2005, Stockholm-based art and design studio, Folkform, is run by designers Chandra Ahlsell and Anna Lovisa Holmquist. One of Sweden’s leading design studios, it was given the 2019 Bruno Mathsson Award and 2023 Scandinavian Design Award and has work represented in the collections of the Swedish National Museum and Oslo’s National Museum. In its collaboration with Louis De Poortere, the studio has used colour as a material to reveal the explorations of machine weaving in a rug series, The Monochromes.
The Monochromes 2411 FF Blue, Louis De Poortere + FolkForm collaboration from £1799 (90 x 400cm), Louis De Poortere, louisdepoortere.com.
The textile research project is inspired by the 1961 book of colour theorist Johannes Itten, who was fascinated by colour’s application and appreciation across art and design. Within The Monochromes Collection, colour plays a crucial role in revealing the secrets and intricacies of industrial weaving. Working with Louis De Poortere, Chandra and Anna became fascinated with its Wilton rugs. This 18th Century weaving technique features a short pile and jute backing. Folkform believed the pure form of this technique held unique aesthetic potential – all that was required was the addition of colour.
The Monochromes Louis De Poortere + FolkForm collaboration from £1799 (90 x 400cm), Louis De Poortere, louisdepoortere.com.
The Monochromes reverses the face of the rug, so that the jute backing takes front and centre, the textile’s Wilton structure highlighted by brightly coloured wool wefts. As the wool weft weaves its path through the jute warp, colour is allowed to build up or fall away depending on the density of the weave – different shades of the same colour emerge through the treatment of a single thread.
left to right – 4101 Yellow, 3304 Green, 5503 Burgundy, 2411 FF Blue, all from £1799 (90 x 400cm) Louis De Poortere louisdepoortere.com
The collection began life as a Folkform study of the colour blue, The Blue Tapestries (2022), but has now been expanded into a range of 13 colours, each available in eight sizes, with Folkform designing a series of patchwork forms to minimise waste. The coloured wool not only brings beauty to the rugs, but also explains and illuminates three centuries of weaving construction. For those who follow the passage of colour through The Monochromes Collection, deeper mysteries about the creation of textiles become apparent.
left Chandra Ahlsell and right Anna Lovisa Holmquist, Folkform
Folkform says, “Machine weaving was not a manufacturing process that we had ever worked with before, but there was something we found fascinating about the material and history of the technology. The mechanisation of weaving was a significant driving force in early industrialisation, but manual weaving techniques are ancient. Today, the Louis De Poortere mill is one of the few remaining in Europe where this type of industrial weaving technology is still in use.
The Monochromes 4101 Yellow, Louis De Poortere + FolkForm collaboration from £1799 (90 x 400cm), Louis De Poortere, louisdepoortere.com.
Folkform explains: “As we moved between the modern parts of the mill and the large room where the older machines stood, we found a small fragment of carpet discarded in a waste bin. It was raw and unfinished, the beige jute threads visible on its back. But we found this unfinished back to be so beautiful, its state of incompletion rendering the natural jute threads. It turned out that the fragment was the backside of a Wilton carpet. Our idea was to use that beautiful jute back as the rug’s front instead. In this way, we wanted to challenge the aesthetic expression of the carpet’s backside, using it as the front to overturn traditional material hierarchies.”
The Monochromes will be exhibited at Stockholm Furniture Fair, 6-10 February 2024.
left 4101 Yellow right: 2411 FF Blue, both Louis De Poortere + FolkForm collaboration from £1799 (90 x 400cm), Louis De Poortere, louisdepoortere.com.