On Mae Engelgeer and the Dutch TextielLab

In recent years, the textile design scene in the Netherlands has flourished, and many new designers have decided to dedicate their time and energies to textile explorations. One of the main motors of this new textile renaissance is the textile museum in Tilburg and its impressive TextielLab, a research and production laboratory for textile designers and creators. The lab’s goal is to provide expert technical assistance for designers, architects and young craftsman who are interested in producing and designing unique textiles.
The textile lab is much more than a factory: it is a centre of creation combining archival knowledge, research expertise and innovative technology. So far, this unique institution has claimed many successes: young designers use it as their R&D centre and production site, students learn about various textile-making techniques and interdisciplinary artists discover the versatility of textile as a raw material and artistic medium.
One of the designers who uses TextielLab to produce textiles is the young Dutch Mae Engelgeer. Based in Amsterdam, Englegeer designs various textile products characterized by a unique graphic minimalism. Her latest creations, presented at the Salone del Mobile 2014 in Milan, include items for every-day household use.
Lil+Lila, a set of placemats and kitchen towels, was developed and designed in the TextielLab. The mixed cotton-linen fabric has a geometric irregular stripe pattern in a limited colour palette of greys and neon orange. The Flock series includes a table cloth and matching tea towel whith offer another variation on the same colour theme of grey and orange. Yet unlike the linear minimalism of Lil+Lila, this fabric’s design is inspired by the natural colouring and texture of the classic Italian marble.
This year Engelgeer has launched new collaborative projects which take her further away from her native Netherlands. One interesting example is her new series of wool rugs, called Yeah, and inspired by the global craft of traditional rug-making, from the North-African Berber style to the mountainside Nepal heritage. Engelgeer’s soft woollen rugs are hand-made in Nepal following traditional techniques. Their geometric design resonates with mid-20th century modernism, but the irregularity of the handmade rugs gives the minimalistic design the warmth and comfort of human touch.