Strips of felt rolled into cones and cornets form the basis of design studio Raw-Edges’ new Coiling Collection. By treating these coils with jesmonite, an acrylic resin, and attaching simple wooden struts, Raw-Edges’ Yael Mer and Shay Alkalay have created a playful range of chairs, carpets and tables. Underpinning the project is a single, bold idea – material as both upholstery and structure.
“Coiling is not about stretching the felt, but more like when you play with a tailor’s tape measure, when you coil it and then push the centre into a cone,” explains Mer.
The collection is something of a curio: it takes felt’s familiarity as upholstery and adds the novelty of it acting as a frame. The coils seem like they might unravel at any moment or flatten when compressed under weight; that they do not is owed to the jesmonite. The resin soaks through the surface of the felt, congealing into a hybrid material with a rigid and permanent form.
“We like the contrast. The appearance of the felt as a simple, warm, soft, natural and old material and on the other side the silicon, which is more technical, futuristic, glossy, sophisticated material,” explains Mer. “We also think that there is something direct and naive about the project.” The Coiling Collection’s simple colours and soft, undulating curves create a strange sense of nostalgia – the primary school furniture you’ve always dreamed of.
The project is also reminiscent of Raw-Edges earlier works. The concentric felt rings remember the interlapping paper sheets of its 2009 Grove – Revolving Trees, a limited-edition art piece. And the collection’s tricking of non-supporting material to act structurally is the kind of irreverent move rehearsed in 2008’s Tailored Wood – chairs created by piping expanding foam into veneer husks. But Mer cautions that the resemblance is not intentional: “Usually we don’t try to find one style or language that will group our designs together,” she says. “We focus on the principle of each individual project.”
The collection has been exhibited at the FAT Galerie in Paris, but Mer is careful to emphasise that the duo would like to continue to refine and expand the concept. “We are thinking of making tableware, so after using them you can choose whether to clean them in the dishwasher or in the washing machine. And we hope to get the chance to take it into a bigger project. Maybe interiors … or a coiled building?”
The Coiling Collection