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One Designer’s Inspiring Rope Tricks

Young Scottish designer Angharad McLaren turns climbing rope and sailing gear into phenomenal textiles.

Angharad McLaren Textiles

Windsurfing, sea corals, Japanese weaving, and contemporary design: They don’t have much in common–unless you’re Angharad McLaren.

A recent graduate of the Royal College of Art’s textile-design program, McLaren designs textiles, and for inspiration, she taps both the gear-head aesthetic of windsurfing and boating gear, and the extravagant patterns naturally found in coral.

The finished pieces are intended for use in interiors (upholstery and drapes, for example). Of course, they utilize materials that otherwise would never meet–such as the high-tech yarns used in climbers ropes, and high-end silks. In September, McLaren will show off her work at 100% Futures–an offshoot of London’s 100% Design trade show.

Below, a side by side comparison of some of her research images–and how these get translated into the end design.

Here’s one example high-tech yarns, which in this case have been pressed into a permanent pleat–a Japanese technique called Shibori which recalls origami. The end product is meant to add three dimensionality, to what’s usually a strictly flat discipline:

Angharad McLaren Textiles


In the two pictures below are some of McLaren’s major inspirations: The sails and rigging used on windsurfing boards:

Angharad McLaren Textiles

Angharad McLaren Textiles

Where the sails and rigging are garish and functional, the textiles Mclaren produces have a surprising graphic elegance:

 AngharadMcLaren Textiles

Another big inspiration source: Coral.

Angharad McLaren Textiles

McLaren translates the contrasts of the corals–between the sand below and the structures above:

Angharad McLaren Textiles

Squint hard, and you can easily imagine a sea cucumber worming itself through this design:

Angharad McLaren Textiles

Another texture from the sea…

Angharad McLaren Textiles

…whose serene waviness is eventually combined with bright neon yarns:

 ngharad McLaren Textiles

[Hat tip to Moco Loco]

About the author

Cliff is director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.



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