borders by hella jongerius

by Grace Bonney

Looking back on my first jobs out of college there are things I do and don’t miss about both of them (I only had two jobs before starting D*S). One of the things I miss most about my job in PR was getting to interact with designers from some of the companies the firm represented. Mainly I miss getting to (briefly) chat with people who worked with Vitra and KnollTextiles, two companies that had a seriously impressive, and innovative, rosters of contemporary designers with whom they collaborated. While I didn’t do a lot of work with Maharam, I did meet people there as a result of our work with Knoll and I really miss getting to hear about the collaborations they were doing, because they were particularly exciting. Yesterday I got a press release about their upcoming collaboration with designer Hella Jongerius, someone I’ve looked up to for years*. Hella has really blazed a path for contemporary female designers and I love how she manages to feel so forward-thinking without losing those elements that recall her Dutch design roots. Hella has a new collection called “Borders” with Maharam that explores her continued interest in embroidery. Using traditional Mayan backstrap weaving, this new collection may not seem like something I might initially be wowed by, but upon closer inspection, has such an interesting (slightly random feeling) pattern that I find myself itching to see it used in a large scale project so I can get the full effect. I think the linen/red combo (below) would be especially beautiful on a settee or some sort of sofa with more refined lines that would contrast nicely with the geometric feel in the pattern.

The collection came out late last month, but you can see more of Hella’s amazing work right here and see Maharam’s current fabric collections (including Borders) here.

*Out of curiosity, who are the women in design you all look up to? I’ve always been inspired by Hella, Patricia Urqiola, Angela Adams, Dorothy Draper, Donna Hay and Kelly Wearstler for their commitment to quality and their ability to really hone in on a style that’s their own and pursue it fiercely. But I love being introduced to other strong women in the field- do you have any favorites that we/I should know?

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  • I would like to say I admire Sera Hersham Loftus! She is true to herself regardless of current trends or designs. I can always spot her work it is very inspiring.

  • I love your list of women designers who you look up to!
    I really admire industrial and ceramics designer Eva Zeisel. She has a commitment to design that is both beautiful and useful and one of the most incredible life stories!

  • These are all really beautiful!

    I studied fashion design in college and was always drawn to Art Deco textiles. Anni Albers and Sonia Delaunay are two of my favorite textile designers from that era.

  • Love Hella, love these textiles.

    The list of women (and men) in textile design that I look up to is truly endless, but the first ones that come to mind not mentioned in your post are Ray Eames, Pia Wallén and Lucienne Day.

  • As a recent graphic design graduate, still trying to feel my way around the field and what my place could be in it, I am very inspired by Jessica Hische. She is young yet extremely accomplished, enormously talented, and her personality is warm and approachable. I see that she’s recently revamped her website- she offers “normal mode” and “teen girl mode” for viewing purposes now :)


    PS. Those textiles are beautiful- I love the tender and intricate details.

  • beautiful…it reminds me of a woollen shawl hand-embroidered by my grandmother over 50 years back..it hangs framed in my dining room..love it’s simple slightly imperfect pattern..just like the samples you have featured…xx meenal

  • It’s also worth mentioning that Ikea sells a couple of pieces by Hella Jongerius: 3 vases as well as some beautiful wall hangings!

  • I love Hella! I saw her work originally in Beijing, then Shanghai at the World Expo, then at Vitra Haus in Germany (http://wp.me/pKRFS-ux) and then finally in her native Holland. I’m…a bit obsessed. I also love Kelly Weartsler, though

  • I am confused about the Maya backstrap reference.

    Backstraps are for weaving. While one can create those types of decorative shapes that are shown as embroidered in the pictures, embroidery is an entirely different process than weaving.

    And I hardly think a huge woven goods company is going to use backstraps for production.

    So how are backstraps related to the embroidered linen/fabric?

  • Hella’s a big source on inspiration for me : I even wrote a paper on her for my art Masters!
    Others would be Constance Spry, Edna Walling, Lianne Rossler & Louise Olsen, Armi Ratia…
    Great post!

  • Oh yes she is amazing! As an interior designer, I’ve been fortunate enough to have access to her fabrics through Maharam and whenever I get close to them I start to get fever pitch! I wrote a little bit about her is a recent blog posting http://bit.ly/e1Pw5J.

  • Thank you so much for this post! I have always adored her and mean to get some of this fabric! Other women designers I especially love off the top of my head:
    Charlotte Perriand
    Eva Zeisel
    Ruth Adler Schnee
    Natalie du Pasquier
    Vera Neumann
    Ray Eames

  • Great post! As for other inspiring women designers, I’d also say Vera Neuman, as well as Marian Mahler, Jaqueline Groag, Lucienne Day and Susan Collier and Sarah Campbell (Collier Campbell) among others!

  • So beautiful!!

    As for the inspiring women in design… What a wonderful discussion! We’re so lucky to have so many talented ladies to choose from at the moment. Definitely Hella and Patricia Urquiola, but also:

    Inga Sempé (loooove)
    Matali Crasset
    Paola Navone
    Louise Campbell
    Eileen Gray

    And we musn’t forget the ladies that are part of great design duos & groups, like:

    Carole Baijings of Scholten & Baijing
    Stine Gam, one half of GamFratesi
    Nipa Doshi from Doshi Levien
    And Front, the women-only design powerhouse out of Sweden! Love them!