Design Daily: New Fabrics From Midcentury Textile Artist Anni Albers, by Christopher Farr

British designer Christopher Farr is best known for his mastery of contemporary rug design, but he’s branching out with a new textile collection based on the patterns of German textile artist Anni Albers (1899-1994). Her signature blocky patterns, which manifested in ink-washed textiles or textural weavings that combined jute, cotton and even cellophane, have been translated into five new fabrics launching this fall.

anni albers chris farr

Farr was on hand Thursday to present the collection during a small preview at the DeSousa Hughes showroom (they’re still a work in progress, but we got a sneak peek from Farr and collaborator Michal Silver). Featuring three prints and two weaves, they were produced in cooperation with the Josef & Anni Albers Foundation and will include one outdoor fabric (Silver searched high and low for a weave that could recreate the textural elements of Albers’ original work, and she nearly replicated it them with this outdoor material, below).

anni albers chris farr

The thick weave of an Italian firm's outdoor fabric has a similar hand-feel to Albers' original weavings.

As a design student, Silver idolized Anni Albers, she said. Some quick background: Anni and Josef Albers were avid Modernists who both studied at the Bauhaus school in Weimar, Germany. Anni, originally relegated to Josef’s glassworks class at Bauhaus because women weren’t allowed in a few of the other classes, quickly made a name for herself by designing functional and unique textiles. The couple immigrated to the United States during WWII (both Anni and Josef were Jewish) and landed at North Carolina’s Black Mountain College in 1933.

Silver relished the chance to bring Anni Albers’ work to life, and convinced Farr that launching a textile line was the right move. We're glad she did. The artist’s signature blocky prints are fully realized in Albers' original palette of rich, earthy colors. “She and Josef would disappear to Peru every summer and buy ancient art,” said Farr. “You can see that reflected in her work—modernism with a wonderful cocktail of pre-Columbianism.”

The Christopher Farr Anni Albers fabrics will be available through DeSousa Hughes in San Francisco beginning in October 2013.

Christopher Farr is also launching a new line of hand-printed wallpaper.

 

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