Ready-made curtain by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec 20.03.13

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We wanted to make a curtain so easy that it could be made by your elderly mother," says Ronan Bouroullec. "Or young daughter," Erwan Bouroullec adds. "Our mother can actually sew very well." The French brothers and world-renowned designers are talking about their easy-to-hang domestic curtain for Kvadrat. The Danish textile company approached the Bouroullecs to find a solution for the inherently fiddly and inflexible process of hanging curtains. One that anyone who has had to stitch a long hem, fix a pole or find the correct type of fixings can testify to. "It's amazing that such a basic need to control light hasn't yet been solved in a basic way," Ronan says.

There's also something particularly anti-modern about the domestic curtain; in Britain at least, nothing irks an architect more than seeing their clean-lined facade populated by doily-like net curtains from within. Blinds are an option, but as the Bouroullecs argue, they mean sacrificing privacy when opened, and are incapable of diffusing light the way a quality fabric can.

The product comes as a kit of parts: a hanging cord, wall fixings, pegs and two types of Kvadrat textile – for winter and summer. The cord stretches across the top of the window, held in tension by two wall fixings either side. Inside each fixing is a winding mechanism – much like tuning a guitar string, turning a wooden peg tightens the cord so that it is able to take the weight of the curtain. A series of pegs fix to the fabric by clamping the material, which are then hooked on to the cord to hang the curtain.

"We chanced upon an old Japanese book with a picture of a guitar in it," Ronan explains. "Taking the mechanics of a guitar ... we identified a system and simplified it to work with wood." The designers were keen to avoid the use of necessary tools and fixings, so being able to turn the peg by hand was important. "You always end up losing the little tools and turning keys later," Erwan adds. A felt fabric in dark blue, red or cream is the winter option and the textile for summer is a translucent fabric of compressed fibres. Since neither material is woven, there's no need to create a hem and the material can be cut to the required size like a large sheet of paper. It also works as a room divider. Hung using the Bouroullecs' system, both fabrics make a neat solution to the problem of the modern curtain, although the summer fabric, which has a light blue hue and rustles like paper when moved, could prove too clinical for some tastes.

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Riya Patel

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It's amazing that such a basic need to control light hasn't yet been solved in a basic way

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