Since 1846, Dutch textile manufacturer Vlisco has exemplified a multicultural melting pot of beauty and craftsmanship with its specially crafted fabrics inspired by Africa, made with a technique derived from Indonesian batik and designed in the Netherlands. To celebrate its 170 years of design, the Museum Helmond showcased an overview of Vlisco’s history in the exhibition Vlisco1:1 Un à Un in the spring of 2017.
“The exhibition gave an insight to the production process that inspires the designs and vice versa,” Frank Verkade from installation design studio Harm Rensink told ArchiExpo e-Magazine. Upon entering, an installation by artist Daniel de Bruin references the construction of Vlisco factories.
“The production process of the Vlisco textiles is kept secret from the public. The exhibition gave a glimpse into this process, yet still left enough mystery and imagination.”
Harm Rensink worked with former director of Vlisco, Michiel Schuurman, to create the space like a psychedelic skip through time and visual material.
“The brand has existed for so many decades, yet is still highly relevant and innovative. The Vlisco archives are huge, filled with untold stories that would make any exhibition designer as enthusiastic as I am.”
“a gut feel for the future of print design”
Rensink explained that Schuurman has produced many print designs for Vlisco throughout the years and has “a gut feel for the future of print design.” He believes the combination made for the exhibition is a hint at what’s to come from Vlisco.
“What I loved about Michiel’s design is the fact that he understood the experience it would create in the museum. The visitors literally stepped into a mind-blowing visual experience telling the Vlisco story.”
The impact of Vlisco fabrics runs deep. One example is the powerful group of women, Nana Benz, which achieved immense success selling Vlisco fabrics in Togo. They were seen in a five-screen film in the exhibition. Read the story here.