Textile designer Elisa Strozyk creates delicate, perfectly proportioned works of usable art from a surprising medium – wood.
German textile designer Elisa Strozyk has a MA in Future Textile Design from the revered Central Saint Martins in London. Her work has attracted attention not only for her unique designs but also her medium of choice – wood.
With a solid education in textile designing behind her, Strozyk researches ways to “provide wood with textile properties.” This involves experimenting with various woods to make them soft and flexible so they can be interwoven with textile. The ‘half-wood, half-textile’ product has an intriguing texture; hard yet soft, rigid yet flexible. “It looks and smells familiar, but feels strange, as it is able to move and form shapes in unexpected ways,” says Strozyk.
Strozyk first designs a flexible wooden surface which is deconstructed into pieces, which are then attached to a textile base. Depending on the weight and stiffness, each surface shows a different behaviour. The wood is cut by laser, and all the tiles so formed are stuck by hand to compose a textile-like surface.
The beauty of this is evident in her designs for ‘Wooden Carpet’. Made from veneer off-cuts, each triangular piece has been laser-cut and then bonded onto fabric. It is a painstaking process and the finished product is a mind-blowing amalgamation of futuristic design, environmental sensitivity and playfulness.
The carpet can lie flat on the floor like a traditional rug or it can be folded, twisted, turned or even used as a blanket. The wooden carpets are now produced by Boewer and are available in a variety of shades and sizes.
Similarly, the coloured ‘Wooden Rug’ is a wool rug with coloured wooden pieces. The addition of the elegant plum and navy hues makes this design timeless and a classic. Continuing with the wood-textile combination are the ‘Wooden Runners’ and the ‘Plaid’ collection with melancholy fading colours.
Strozyk’s furniture collection is equally brilliant. The Accordion Collection has cabinets, pendant lights and textiles created in collaboration with artist Sebastian Neeb. “The cabinet consists of a shelf on long legs which is surrounded by a flexible skin. This is made of a combination of veneer wood and textile and can be opened and closed by folding much like an accordion. Using this wooden textile allows for a free and sculptural form.”
The Accordion Cabinet changes its appearance and volume depending on whether it is open or closed. Also in collaboration with Sebastian Neeb is the Septagon Bar Cabinet. Made from Beech, Palisander (Brazilian rosewood) and Padouk (a reddish wood from the genus Pterocarpus) on a viscose base, the cabinet has a three-dimensional surface and resembles a wooden crystal. “The inside of the cabinet is covered with a light-sensitive Padouk veneer, whose luminous red colour will fade out with each opening of the cabinet.”
Strozyk’s Ceramic Tables, on the other hand, have a different texture altogether. Made from Cordierite, ceramic glaze on a steel/copper base, each table is unique thanks to the spontaneous pooling of the glazes as they solidify. Strozyk’s experiments with lighting have led to the utterly beautiful Miss Maple pendant lamp, made, again, from her wood-textile.
The unique material makes the lampshade flexible and it can be transformed manually into 3D shapes. “While the lamp generates warm light at night the surface outside becomes more evident with daylight and turns the lamp into a sculptural beauty.”
The Woven Glass Pendant Lamp is a shimmering bohemian object of desire.
“Weaving normally requires a material that is flexible, like yarn which can bend easily. To reach the same effect coloured glass stripes need to be pre-formed in the kiln to allow the process of interweaving different layers of glass. Transparent colour gradients overlap and mix under the influence of light to form a textured glass surface.
Strozyk’s philosophy stems from believing that “giving importance to surfaces that are desirable to touch can reconnect us with the material world and enhance the emotional value of an object.” Each one of her designs challenges our notions of texture and expectations of what an object must look and feel like.
“In the future we will have to deal with more waste and less resources. Therefore it is fundamental to be fully aware about the lifecycles of objects. For me, that means we must use material that is able to grow old beautifully.” Isn’t there a good lesson in there for us all?
Text By Chryselle D’Silva Dias
Photographs Courtesy The Designer