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Shelter by Henny van Nistelrooy

Henny van Nistelrooy’s Shelter series of screens provide a bold geometric display at London tailor Hayward’s of Mount Street.

By Katie Dominy /asdf 15-12-2011

Hayward’s of Mount Street is a recently re-established business continuing the traditions of Doug Hayward, a modern tailor to the Hollywood stars of the 1960s. Henny van Nistelrooy’s vibrant oversized geometric shapes sit perfectly with the decade’s values of overturning conventions.

The screens were originally made as a commission by the JJAM Curators Collective for the London Design Festival and from its new exhibition at Hayward’s, van Nistelrooy has been inspired to make new pieces that will be added to the collection in the coming months. There are currently five screens, four of which hang from the ceiling and one is a floor standing piece – there will be more floor standing pieces shortly.

The designs were inspired by trip that van Nistelrooy had made to China, where the geometric forms of the architectural features stood out. “When I started this collection I was in China, in and around Beijing mostly. There is an incredible wealth of historical sites remaining from imperial periods. The architectural features, detailing and use of imagery and colour amazed me."

"You can see some direct references to these in the textile screens; the variety of window shapes seen in the Summer Palace for example, circles, squares, octagons, pentagons, inspired the shapes of the screens. The black lacquered wooden frames reference furniture finishes I came across in China. And the use of colours, red and yellow of course have strong cultural significance in China."

The screens are made from fabrics provided by the Scottish textile manufacturer Bute Fabrics. We asked van Nistelrooy about the fabrics used. “They are all wool fabrics. Though they are all made up of different types of yarns and weaves. I made a selection from the vast collection, partly based on how the fabrics were constructed. I wanted a variety of structures to work with."

“The red octagon shape for example is a very straightforward weave in a single yarn type and colour. I reacted to this weave by creating a new
design within this structure. This means that I have to count the yarn and make sure I work on the balance of removing without taking the whole fabric apart. I’ve taken the yarn out in two different directions; from the weft and the warp, working back towards the centre from the screen."

“The yellow circular disc has a complete different composition; it’s a fabric composed of thick yellow wool yarn and very fine brown cotton. How this weave is made up meant I could take out complete sections of wool yarn, which in the red piece was impossible, because of the support of the brown threads. They are hardly visible, yet they keep everything together."

“The green and grey screens are both composed of three different colours
of yarn. From a distance these colours blend in to one, though close up, you can see how the composition is made up. The interesting thing about these pieces is that as soon you start to extract one colour of yarn it has a great effect on how you understand the fabric, you suddenly become aware of how they are composed.”

Unthreading the fabrics by hand - how do you do this to create such a perfect effect?

‘Determination. It takes a lot of time.”

Shelter by Henny van Nistelrooy continues at Hayward’s of Mount Street, London until January 05 2012.

Hayward’s of Mount Street images Man Kit Au Yeung; studio images Henny van Nistelrooy.

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