In a few days, the Milan 2015 Universal Exhibition will come to an end. Its theme, ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’, looked at innovation and creativity around food. It is in this context that the French Pavilion, together with Lille Europe, put on an original exhibition called ‘Textifood’ displaying various textile creations incorporating food elements.
Among the pieces selected, one of them is exhibited in the French Pavilion – a dress called ‘La Bonne Fée’. This dress, made with new materials incorporating eggshells and polylactic acid [PLA] from maize and beetroot, is designed and produced by studio A+ZDesign® led by artistic director Geneviève Levivier.
This award-winning studio from Belgium is specialised in the design and production of creative and innovative textiles and other related materials. If Belgium is well known for its influential fashion scene, which became internationally famous with the Antwerp Six including designers such as Ann Demeulemeester and Dries Van Noten, innovative and technical textiles is another area of excellence.
We recently met the couple behind A+ZDesign® in their two-floor studio located in the Waterloo region. Levivier, a journalist turned textile designer, collaborates with her husband, Pierre-Yves Herzé, a researcher in chemistry and expert in polymer and pigments processing. Together, they develop innovative and sustainable products combining art, craft and technology. Most of their creations take years of R&D to develop. In 2008, they won the award of the Liege Design Biennale for the development of “polymer lace”, a product that has been sought after by the most influential fashion houses in Parisian Haute Couture as well as by interior design companies. The studio is constantly developing new techniques and designs, producing hundreds of samples and prototypes of precious and refined textiles to be shown to their clients. As Levivier points out: “In Haute Couture, you can never just do the same thing twice.”
The studio is also using its knowhow and technology to create decorative products such as polymer tapestries designed in a variety of colours, combinations and shapes. Levivier, who is looking at each single detail, loves to play with various layers and degrees of transparencies. An installation of polymer tapestries mounted on wooden barrels’ rings is exhibited permanently at the Hotel Be Manos in Brussels.
“The combination of sustainable handcraft with advanced technology is our niche”, says Levivier. The team has been nominated as finalists at the prestigious Theophile Legrand International Prize for Innovative Textile 2015 (Institut de France) for their laser lace development.
“We look at innovation at various levels and do not limit ourselves anymore to textile,” adds the artistic director. This led the couple to experiment with wood, treating the material almost like textile. One of their recent creations using their well-developed laser technology is the wood lace. Each panel is custom made from various wood types and can have various applications in interior design. Extremely fine in appearance, they play with light intensity, shadows and space, offering intimacy and sun protection. The warm and refined wood lace material can also be associated with glass creating contemporary stained glass with a range of design from classic to minimalist ones, all developed first-hand by Levivier.
The studio’s new developments can be followed on their website: http://www.apluszdesign.eu.
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