You can always count on the exceptional fabrics from Maharam to breathe some life into NeoCon's mostly commercial and contract offerings. This year the company debuted an eye-catching line up of brand new patterns from fashion designer Paul Smith, experimental Antwerp-based Studio Job, artist/designer Hella Jongerius and conceptual artist Liam Gillick.
Gillick displayed his patterns at NeoCon in an installation called Directed Expansion System that's "reminiscent of a production line or supply system [and] expresses Gillick's interest in sites of production as opposed to consumption." That's all very well, but no matter what Gillick meant to say with the way he designed his display, I was too enthralled with his lively, intricate patterns to notice. Perhaps it's the dawn of digital printing (admittedly, a technology that's been around for a while now but only seems to just be entering the commercial market now) that's inspiring designers to get smaller and more precise. Certainly Maraham Digital Products has put out some wonderfully minute, illustrative patterns in recent years.
However, Studio Job's new patterns for Maharam, Bavaria and Bavaria Stripe, are just as intricate but are woven—not digitally printed—in a jacquard construction so complex that if you turn the fabric over there are so many different colored threads running one on top of another it's practically another pattern altogether. From Maharam:
Depicting traditional farmland scenery in a complex woven jacquard construction, this complementary pair of dense, narrative patterns is an ode to rural heritage. Using a flattened perspective, Farm presents an assemblage of livestock, crops, implements, and rural transport, while Farm Stripe features repeating ribbons of farm iconography—pitchforks, apples, split-rail fences, sheaths of wheat, and life-sized horseflies all make appearances. Aided by a highly detailed, fine denier cotton-and-polyester construction, Farm and Farm Stripe combine intricate illustrations with bouts of bright color. Studio Job continues to collaborate with Maharam, having previously completed Ruins, a Maharam Digital Project that depicts post-WWII Dresden.