Alissa + Nienke will be at the Dutch Design Week (DDW) this year with two exhibitions. They will be exhibiting a series of paneled drapes, currently on display at the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, along with their research into 3D weaving techniques.
Threads, threads, threads. There are strands of yarn all over the place in Alissa + Nienke’s design studio. “People think that we have always worked with textiles, but in fact this is actually our first time,” says Alissa as she plucks a scrap of yarn off something.
In recent months, the two material designers have been exploring the potential of 3D weaving technology together with EE Exclusive, the family-owned business from Heeze that makes jacquard woven fabrics for haute couture and interior design. Jacquard is a technique for weaving complex, colorful designs into fabrics.
“The project is supported by the Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie (Creative Industry Stimulation Fund),” says Alissa. It’s a collaboration that really suits us: “EE Exclusive has the facilities to carry out tests and experiments, as well as the capacity to do production on a large scale”.
They will present the results of their research at the DDW. They conducted at least three hundred tests in order to produce 3D woven textiles which can be used as wall coverings, room dividers or acoustic wall coverings. They work with trimmings, loose threads, folds and layering so as to create three-dimensional surfaces, e.g. large cloths that bring softness to a room.
Precisely what will follow up the research is something that A+N don’t know as yet. “The Dutch Design Week is always a good test environment,” says Alissa. “There will be so many people coming to our studio, often visitors without any prior information. Conversations we then have are very refreshing and also helps us to sharpen up our work. We have done plenty of ‘wallpaper projects’ in the past, where we created designs for specific locations. This time we might want to work on a much larger scale. Something sophisticated, yet also with wide-ranging applications.”
Alissa + Nienke is a studio that is part of the NUL ZES designer collective. At the building site that the NRE site has been at in the past year, NUL ZES has since expanded to seventeen members. Amidst jazz club Fifth, cycling café Cyklist and other new residents on the site, the group managed to keep its own building. Last year they refurbished the interior of the building. “Initially it was one large, open space, but this proved not to work so well with the growing number of members. Now there are separate workspaces, places to brainstorm and, of course, to make things. We have our own ceramics, wood and metal workshop.
Alissa looks outside and points to the apartments that have rapidly risen up from the ground in recent months. “All of a sudden chickens and children are walking around here, it’s pretty sociable,” she laughs. “On Fridays an oven is often brought outdoors to bake pizzas. And on the left, a group of people 50 and over has converted the nr. 2 monumental building into accommodation. They call it ‘‘Wonen voor gevorderden‘ (Living for the advanced’).”
Hidden behind their studio is a smaller building. The Fringes & Floats textile collection is on display in this building during DDW. In their own design studio inside the main NUL ZES building, Alissa and Nienke are exhibiting their other project – “The Sun Show is our materials vision on awnings.”
This also gives you a glimpse into the design duo’s kitchen of the research and projects on materials that they have already completed. Such as the paneled drapes made of woven textile with pop-out patterns that regulate how much light shines in. A project that A+N developed for the chamber of the Minister of Education, Culture and Science.”
“The starting point of all our work is a flat surface,” Alissa concludes, “we find it interesting to manipulate it in such a way that new properties and applications are created”.
The Dutch Design Week is the largest design festival in Northern Europe. Each year, we pick out ten designers from a huge selection that we consider to be this year’s Hidden Gems. You can read all about their stories there.
This series was created in collaboration with Dutch Design Daily and curator Katja Lucas from DDW. Would you like to visit the DDW hidden gems yourself? Every day, Brandstore Eindhoven/VVV is organizing a bicycle tour along the selected designers. More info can be found here.