One of Peter Saville’s recent projects with perhaps less cult appeal than his seminal record covers, but definitely no less verve for anyone with an eye for design, is his consultancy for Danish textile giants Kvadrat. Over the last five years he’s tweaked the graphic identity of the family-run company, gently and always appropriately updating the brand for a new generation of fabric fanatics.
Now though there’s a more concrete expression, quite literally, of Saville’s involvement – a collaborative effort with the architect David Adjaye – in the shape of a new London showroom.
The two-storey space is quite an extraordinary creation. Though essentially a raised ground floor and basement, Saville and Adjaye have managed to flood the concrete space with natural light. Upstairs is Kvadrat’s HQ whilst downstairs is the showroom space, which has been kept bare with ‘cells’ that pull out from the walls displaying the Kvadrat catalogue of fabrics. The only furniture is a long concrete table with benches and stools, intended to be a meeting and dining place for clients.
It’s the staircase though that is the main feature, running the entire length of the space. Deep steps (slightly long for one step and maybe a bit short for two) are framed by panels of coloured glass like a 3-dimensional realisation of Saville’s design for the New Order single Blue Monday. More than just a gimmick, the surprisingly subtle feature saves the space from being overwhelmingly industrial, refracting – in sunlight – vivid splashes of changing colour onto the concrete walls.
Kvadrat CEO Anders Byriel said of the project: ‘a Kvadrat showroom is like a public institution where art works are presented and discussed’. This showroom is certainly an artwork worthy of discussion in itself.
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