The New Foundation at Arc-Com: Innovation with Historic Roots

New from the Arc-Com Design Studio, the award-winning Foundation Collection featuring INCASE Crypton Technology is an example of the kinds of thoughtful, conceptual performance textiles we’re seeing for 2018. We’re calling the trend “full circle architecture,” where concepts from historical architecture are transformed into fabric that in turn get installed inside new architecture. Imaginative design minds take fascinating and timeless ideas from antiquity and re-scale, recolor, reconfigure and re-imagine them in new ways. These patterns draw from the tools, techniques, methodology and geometry that were used to craft and build Europe’s magnificent cathedrals. Beyond the forms, the new Arc-Com collection is also inspired by the human spirit that went into these structures. Amanda Eaton, VP of Design at Arc-Com, sat down with us to offer our readers the inside scoop on how the Arc-Com design team created this bold, textural new contract fabric option.

Certainly people were meant to be awed by these immense and elaborate structures. Upon entering into these vast spaces, one can’t help but wonder how on earth people were able to build these immense, towering structures when mechanization was so limited. Ms. Eaton, upon first seeing Notre Dame as a teenager, wondered, “How were they able to construct these incredible buildings at a time when there was no electricity or automated power source or even running water?” Her fascination with these inspiring structures stayed with her, and now she has deftly explored it with her team in a collection that delves into both process and craft. In researching the methods and techniques used, the Arc-Com design studio found these to be not only technically fascinating but also visually inspiring. The Foundation Collection is the beautifully edited, gracefully interpreted expression of their findings.

Windlass pattern
Windlass inspiration

A windlass was a cathedral builder’s tool that was used to lift heavy stones and building materials. It was powered by a worker positioned inside a giant wooden wheel. That person’s job was to tread the wheel around, so ropes that wound around the axle on one end and were attached to heavy items on the other moved the heavy things up to the desired position. Graphic and modern, the Windlass fabric pattern shows the parallel planking of the wheel punctuated with fine lines of light in various configurations.

Vault pattern
Vault inspiration

Who among us hasn’t stared up in wide-eyed wonder at the ancient vaulted ceiling of a great cathedral? How can it not inspire something? The Vault patterns sleek interpretation of the arched forms or rib-vaulting used in cathedral ceilings also has an intricate background pattern, which returns on its own as a direct coordinate in Oculus.

Oculus pattern
Oculus inspiration

Inspired by classical rose windows, Oculus is the direct coordinate fabric to the Vault pattern. Its lace-like framework is is a finely scaled repeat of rose window layouts. It gets its name from the oculus, or round opening, in a wall inside which the familiar rose fretwork is found.

Lunette pattern
Lunette inspiration

Lunette, from the French, meaning “little moon,” celebrates the many crescent-shaped spaces and forms found in cathedrals. The textile pattern exuberantly tosses these smiley crescents across a solid field in an all-over pattern with just enough randomness to move the eye, but configured so that each one touches the tip of a neighboring crescent at both ends. Nothing is left hanging in this charming, modern-feeling design.

Centring pattern
Centring inspiration

A centring was a wooden structure used in construction to hold an arch in place, supporting the stones as the build progressed. The fabric pattern Centring Stripe offers a truly unique stripe option for designers. Its strings of elongated diamond shapes re-tell the story of these humble wooden scaffolds, unsung heroes of architecture like the men who made them. They were split from virgin timber and painstakingly sawn into slender spans that were set at angles with hand-forged nails, only to be cast aside once a perfect stone arch was achieved.

Mason Stripe pattern
Mason Stripe inspiration

Mason Stripe is a versatile, small-scale stripe with a hand-drawn quality, thanks to its nod to the precise yet granular masonry of stone cathedrals. Along with Windlass and Lunette, Mason Stripe is woven in a beautiful, textural bouclé, so not only does the pattern offer a virtual texture, but also the fabric itself has a touchable, soft dimensionality that adds an inviting richness to the upholstery.

The Arc-Com Foundation Collection was recently honored with the prestigious the Best of the Year Award (BoY) from Interior Design Magazine. BoY is a global design award dedicated to the year’s best products and projects. Arc-Com’s Foundation Collection was recognized as the winner in the Healthcare Textile space for its design innovation and inspiration. The award was announced in December, 2017.

With Foundation, Ms. Eaton and her team at the Arc-Com design studio have delivered a collection firmly rooted in architectural and human history. It speaks to the enduring nature of design and the triumph of the human spirit. Simultaneously it delivers a universal design message with a modern appeal that will surely be at home inside the great buildings of tomorrow. Plus, thanks to its INCASE Crypton Technology, it will last long into that future and help keep the furniture it adorns in good shape, too. How will you use it? Please let us know. We’d love to feature your installations in this space.

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