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Folded fabric sculpture

Projects | February 1, 2018 | By:

Transmission connected a very modern design with 15th-century tapestries, challenging visitors to view the Renaissance artwork in a new way. Photos: Edmund Sumner.

The London Design Festival is an annual event that promotes London as the design capital of the world. It showcases the exciting and often cutting-edge work of artists, architects and designers at exhibits and installations in locations around the city.

The Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design, was the setting for Transmission, an installation by artist and designer Ross Lovegrove. Known for a visionary aesthetic that combines technology, materials science and organic form, Lovegrove created a 69-foot sculpture of folded material.

He was inspired by the museum’s Tapestry Room, a step back to a more tranquil time with aristocratic ladies and gentlemen in an intricate natural world. Transmission’s undulating folds are a nod to one of the scenes on display, which features a lady in a red gown lined with white fur.

The sculpture was created using Alcantara®, a suede-like material made of polyurethane and polyester. It’s pliable and sound absorbent, ideal for graphic printing and embroidery. Lovegrove was able to match the exact colors in the tapestries using digital scanning software, perfectly capturing a color palette that had faded with age.

The fabric was embroidered with gold and silver threads that created an ornamental pattern of more than 2 million flecks running along the edge of the sculpture. They glimmered in the light of the gallery and drew an organic connection to the scenes of wealth and fashion depicted in the tapestries. The installation was on view September through October 2017. For more information, visit

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