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Sunbrella Shines at the DDW

Two projects by Charles Pétillon, Michiel de Greef and Dries van Wagenberg on view during the Dutch Design Week highlight the possibilities of Sunbrella fabrics

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Text by Blaire Dessent
Photography by Charles Pétillon

Continuing its successful program of collaborating with artists and designers, the fabric and textile manufacturer Sunbrella invited French photographer Charles Pétillon and Dutch designers Michiel de Greef and Dries van Wagenberg to develop individual projects in 2017 using their new collection of indoor and outdoor fabrics.

Pétillon –who for the last few years has developed an ongoing series of almost surreal photographs that show large white balloons that look like massive molecular structures squeezing out of abandoned buildings, architectural sites or suspended in nature– took this opportunity to use a variety of styles and patterns of new Sunbrella fabrics to cover the oversized balloons, which he then took out into the landscape, photographing it in various locations across France. The results are impressive and unusual, and a great way to show the durability and performance aspect of the fabrics themselves, something that the company underscores in its motto: Design + Performance.

Titled Connexions, Pétillon’s installation was previously exhibited during the 2017 editions of Milan Design Week and Maison et Objet. For Dutch Design Week, it has been installed in the VDMA exhibition space, which was beautifully curated by Dutch collective Envisions.

Meanwhile, at both VDMA and Kazerne, Dutch designers Michiel de Greef and Dries van Wagenberg showed the fabrics in a more functional way, with Leaf, their project that included two large outdoor parasols that were partly inspired by the natural protective canopy of trees. At VDMA, the parasol served as an inviting place to sit, with its circular bench and three overhead shades meant to protect from sun and rain, as the fabric is water repellant and resistant to fading. Leaf not only shows the potential of the Sunbrella fabrics, but the project itself would make excellent public street furniture. Cities take note!

A conceptual presentation of Connexions in the French countryside
Inside the installation
Fabric and color study for Leaf, an installation by Michiel de Greef and Dries van Wagenberg for Sunbrella (2017)

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