Dezeen Magazine

Ross Lovegrove installs 21-metre-long fabric snake in V&A tapestry room

British designer Ross Lovegrove has used suede-like fabric to create a huge serpentine sculpture in one of the V&A's tapestry galleries, as part of this year's London Design Festival.

Lovegrove drew inspiration from the Devonshire Hunting Tapestries, a series of four huge artworks created in the 15th century, to create his 21.3-metre-long installation, called Transmission.

The winding sculpture, which could also be likened to an intestine, was designed to exactly match the colours of the medieval tapestries.

"These tapestries were begun in 1425, the time of the Renaissance in Europe, when incredible things were made, and all through mainly craft-based skills," Lovegrove told Dezeen.

"I think this is a forgotten art form," he continued. "So, in respect to these tapestries that I really love, I haven't come in here with all guns blazing, to do something modern or alien. I've tried to do something that fits not only the room but the tapestries."

Lovegrove worked with Alcantara, a suede-like fabric produced from a combination of polyester and polyurethane, to create the form.

Using digital scanning software, his team were able to exactly match the colours of the fabric to those of the tapestries. They also used gold and silver threads to add over two million points of embroidery, so the sculpture glistens as it catches the light.

"These tapestries have been reduced to just two main colours through the pigmentation that they used in their day – they are not the authentic colours," said Lovegrove. "But I love the colours you get when things age."

"We scanned and captured these exact colours, then used different technologies to add them to this installation. So the colours you see here are not guesswork, they are exact identical facsimiles of the colour palette. That's an amazing thing."

Lovegrove often creates large-scale designs and installations, from a solar-powered street light to an aluminium spaceship. And although Transmission appears to be more delicate than these projects, the designer says he doesn't mind if people touch it.

"I don't want to stop things that happen naturally," he added.

Transmission will be on show at the V&A throughout London Design Festival 2017, which starts today and continues until 24 September 2017. Other installations at the museum this week include a colourful hall of light by Australian designer Flynn Talbot.

Photography is by Edmund Sumner.