The expression “you make a better door than a window” is predicated on the idea that the two things are totally distinct. One you see through, the other you don’t. And going by those criteria, walls exist squarely in the “door” category–unlike windows, they block, hide, and obscure. But Wies Preijde’s thread screens defy such easy categorization. They’re part window, part wall, and they’d be a beautiful, low-impact way to divvy up your tiny studio apartment.
Preijde is a recent graduate of the Textile Design Department of the Royal Academy of Arts, in the Hague, and she debuted her hand-woven partitions at the school’s degree show in 2011. Some of the screens bear images of windows and hallways, creating a sort of illusory new dimension in the space the screens occupy. But others are simply blocks of pattern and color, dividing up the floor plan of the room they’re in and shading the light filtering through it.
Preijde says the screens offer the viewer a sense of “walking through a transparent home,” offering “the impression of a three dimensional expansion.” But even more exciting than that invented space, I think, is their unique ability to carve up the physical space that does exist. The semi-transparent partitions offer some privacy, like Japanese shoji screens, though due to their scale and shape, they feel more like walls than curtains. And with their colors and materials, they become something less strictly utilitarian and a little more playful, encouraging observers to “discover and experience the different color combinations and patterns which make up the space,” Preijde says.
Granted, unlike freestanding screens, Preijde’s ceiling-hung walls require a little bit of legwork (and additional hardware) to install. And for now, they remain an art project, not a real, buyable home-decor solution. But for those of us who have become adept at making the most of our less-than-palatial living spaces, they offer some exciting possibilities.