For the Graphic Detour exhibition at the Graphic Design Museum in Breda, Vlisco – designer and manufacturer of colourful fashion fabrics for African women – developed a unique design in collaboration with graphic designer Tod Hanson (London).
Graphic Detour brings together artists and companies that would not normally find themselves in the same room. Thanks to today’s technology, designing is a possibility for more and more people, not so much in terms of craftsmanship, but the use of unique ideas, of thinking outside the box. And because it has become increasingly easier to create things, it has become more difficult to find an original approach. To further stimulate this new development in graphic design, Graphic Detour, under the direction of curator Erik Kessels, asked a number of companies to participate in a ‘blind date’ with a creative thinker, resulting in surprisingly unexpected encounters.
Vlisco was set up on a ‘blind date’ with graphic designer Tod Hanson of London. The meeting of the two resulted in a unique collaboration that was inspiring for both parties.
Tod Hanson (1963) lives and works in London. His work represents various disciplines, from public and street art to gallery decoration. Hanson’s installations address the functionality of architectural spaces and their ability to seal us off from the outside world. By combining experimental architectural spaces and decorative graphic design, Hanson creates both installations and analogous play areas.
The pattern design developed by Tod Hanson for this unique collaboration was inspired by the impressions he gained during his visit to Vlisco. Not only the design department and ‘Vlisco story’ made an impression on Hanson, but also, surprisingly, the factory. The continuous movement of designs in an industrial space inspired him to create an installation to be displayed in the Graphic Design Museum. Part of this installation is a unique pattern design produced by Vlisco. This fabric will also be available in limited edition in the museum shop during the exhibition. The pattern will also be incorporated into a collection of new designs called ‘Delicate Shades’ and will be launched on 1 November 2011 in different colour combinations than shown in the exhibition. The fashion and accessories collection in the same theme will also be introduced parallel to this launching, accompanied by large-scale media campaigns and marketing activities.
An intensive collaboration between Tod Hanson and Vlisco’s design department was the result of the unanticipated ‘blind date’. Together with designer Teun Wittenboer and with the necessary technical support, Hanson succeeded in translating his pattern design according to the Vlisco techniques and possibilities. The result is a unique fusion of Hanson’s signature and Vlisco’s unique style. Vlisco’s design image is based on the diversity of unique styles found in its design department and, thanks to this encounter, a foray has now been made into a different and equally powerful signature. After all, Hanson’s design language is unique, as is that of Vlisco. This collaboration has brought the two together.
Vlisco attracts considerable interest from the worlds of art, culture and design. Projects like Graphic Detour make it possible to hold up a mirror to the design value of Vlisco, and it is precisely this dialogue that is experienced as refreshing, inspiring and challenging. The Vlisco design department and product are unique in the world, also in the eyes of other designers and artists. Vlisco aspires to share its uniqueness on occasion with the outside world as an inspiration to others.
Since 1846 Vlisco has been designing and producing colourful fashion fabrics in Helmond, which form an essential part of the spirited West and Central African culture. Vlisco has an innate sense of the expressive and creative strength of African consumers and, for generations, has succeeded in surprising and inspiring its passionate clientele with unique designs. As the sole authentic designer and manufacturer of such fabrics as ‘Wax Hollandais’, Vlisco is unparalleled when it comes to quality, professional skill and innovation. Although the Vlisco reputation is particularly strong in Central and West Africa, Vlisco fabrics are also gaining in popularity among the African Diaspora elsewhere in the world, including Europe and the United States.
The Graphic Detour exhibition runs from 11 June to 27 November 2011. Admission tickets costs €7.50 and include entry into the other current exhibitions. The exhibition presents both the results of the ‘blind dates’ and the individual works of art by participating artists.
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