“An area rug is a space within a space,” says Hella Jongerius, the Dutch industrial designer who starts every project by designing the yarn. “Even if you’re designing something that doesn’t use yarn, like a chair, you have to begin with the basics. You have to allow the hands to come up with the solution because you can’t fully imagine it with your head in advance.”
Material research chiefly determines the design direction of everything Jongerius creates, whether it’s a rug, textile, chair or porcelain spoon. Her portfolio is vast, including single pieces exhibited at galleries, mass-produced products sold at retail stores, design of airliner interiors and even the redesign of the North Delegates’ Lounge at the UN Headquarters in New York.
Jongerius was just beginning her career when she was approached by the textile company Maharam and invited to work on a project for its 100th anniversary. Today Maharam produces 29 different Jongerius textiles, many of which are in the permanent collections at the Art Institute Chicago, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum and MoMA. In addition to conceiving textiles for Maharam, the designer creates innovative works for clients of her own company, Jongeriuslab, and she also serves as the design director at Danskina, a Kvadrat Maharam company for which she dreams up rugs.
Jongerius thinks of rugs as 2-D objects that are expressions of yarn and color, whereas textiles belong to “a completely different species since a textile becomes a product only when it is used to upholster something else.” The common thread between the two is Jongerius’ genius eye for color. When asked why her colors look so beautiful together, she replies, “That is the secret of the color-cooking chef.”
DWR is proud to introduce new rugs and pillows by Hella Jongerius.
HELLA JONGERIUS 15-SECOND Q&A
Idea of happiness:
Swimming in a lake.
Favorite subject in school:
Intelligent hands know more than the head could imagine.