Milan 2011: London designer Philippe Malouin will present a rug made of chain mail in Milan next week.
Called The Yachiyo metal rug, the piece is handmade from galvanised steel wire rings in a Japanese chain mail design with twelve loops attached to every two central rings.
The piece took 3000 hours to make and is named after one of the makers.
Photographs below are by Ivan Jones
The rug will be on show at via Gaetano Sbodio 30, Milan from 12-17 April. See all our stories about Milan »
The information below is from the designer:
The Yachiyo metal rug
This year I have been doing quite a lot of research on, and work using, metal - the Yachiyo metal rug is a result of this research. It is a piece designed to last many lifetimes, it is virtually indestructible and it involves thousands of hand-manufacturing hours, since it is impossible to make by machine.
The Yachiyo metal rug is made using a very intricate form of chain mail. Having investigated various types of chain mail, ranging from traditional/medieval manufacturing techniques to more contemporary, machine-made chain mail patterns, we chose to draw from the Japanese '12-in-2' chain mail method. Not only did we find this type of chain mail to be virtually indestructible, but it also created a very stable membrane - structural yet flexible - not dissimilar to a tight hand tufted rug.
Having explored ideas for a range of furniture made using this technique, we chose to create a rug because the attention is focussed solely on the 2D object itself, the craftsmanship can be better admired this way.
The metal rug is completely handmade from galvanised steel wire, the same type of wire that is used to make animal pen fencing in farms. The looped wire is taken and, using a metal rod connected to a power drill in a timber frame jig, wound into a tight coil. This coil is then removed from the metal rod and hand cut into small rings. These are riveted together one-by-one in the Japanese '12-in-2' pattern, which consists of 2 central rings with 12 perpendicular rings connected around. This process is painstakingly repeated to create the rug.
The final piece presents an isometric rectangular prism which we created, through playing with ideas of perspective, so that a two dimensional object like a rug could visually spring into the 3D realm. Each of the three colours within the rug is a metallic coating, which is industrially electroplated onto the three distinct parts before they are assembled together by connecting rings one-by-one.
One of my amazing interns Yachiyo Kawana has worked on this project from the beginning, which is why the piece is named after her. It is also very fitting as, like the chain mail method, Yachiyo is Japanese.
The entire rug was handmade in London by Yachiyo Kawana, Greg Austin, Carlo Cialli, Anna Perugini, Vic Margevich, Maria Kuzmenko, Midea Diomideia Kolani, Xue Dong, Khadija Durbar, Jade Blair, Zahra Rajaei, and it required more than 3000 hours to make it.
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