Raf Simons and Kvadrat launch a collection of Shaker-inspired accessories
Launched on August 10, 2022, Raf Simons’ new accessories collection for Kvadrat includes cushions, throws, bags, as well as a tray, box, magazine rack, cap and two key rings including the design is focused on functionality
In the eight years since Kvadrat and Raf Simons joined forces to develop a range of upholstery fabrics, their luxurious fabrics have achieved near-mythical status. New launches at Salone del Mobile and the 3 Days of Design are always greeted enthusiastically, and tote bags made from the fabrics and given away to a select few on those occasions have become collector’s items among insiders. Thus the arrival of a complete collection of Kvadrat/Raf Simons accessories in August 2022 is destined to be welcomed with open arms: the Danish textile brand is so confident in the success of this collection that it is breaking with tradition to open a shop dedicated to accessories in Copenhagen.
Launch of Kvadrat Raf Simons accessories
Vidar key ring, pink, £152
The collection includes cushions, throws, a tote bag and a shopping bag, as well as a small tray, an accessory box, a magazine rack, a cap and two key rings: the last two marking a break with Kvadrat’s long-standing goal. on the House. Most of them are made from Vidar 4, a tightly woven fabric from the Kvadrat/Raf Simons range with a soft satin surface finish (it “gives an artistic feel that doesn’t feel industrial,” Simons describes) , while a handle incorporates leather. The union of these elements is what Kvadrat and Simons call a “Shaker system”: a horizontal bar based on the peg rail used by Shakers, a Protestant religious group known for its distinctive design and architectural style.
“The collection consists of a unified series, storage system and accessory edition honoring utility, function and materiality. While living in the United States, I developed a deep appreciation of Shaker culture, his orderly homes and simple functional furniture are considered the first modern American design,” says Simons.
The appearance of the wall system is striking: according to Simons, the choice of material – powder-coated aluminium, covered with Vidar 4 – nods both to the minimalist sculptures of John McCracken and to the work of the French designer decorative arts Jacques Adnet, who made leather furniture upholstery his profession. “It’s a major throwback to my beginnings as a graduate industrial designer. Whatever it is in terms of design, it has to serve the human being and it has to be placed in the context of the environment in that people live in. We created the Shaker system to be visually appealing, but the main focus was functionality.
Double-sided wool blanket with logo, pink, €1,063.00
Functionality is also the driving force behind the individual accessories, which have clean shapes, limited ornamentation and a strict color palette, allowing their materials to really shine. “If the product is pure and simple, you have to pay special attention to your quality – sometimes you hide flaws with complicated things and a lot of dots and other things, but there was nothing to hide here”, he said. Still, Simons doesn’t insist too much on perfection, and he’s particularly enthusiastic about the leather’s ability to patinate over time. “A lot of things here will patina because you’ll have them in your hands all the time. That’s the beauty, when you feel like it’s a living piece.
The collection is available in four colours: black, off-white, dark green and pink. Where the materials vary, Simons has gone to great lengths to ensure they have the same tone: the cap’s Vidar exterior is carefully matched to its satin interior lining, as are the Vidar body and handles in leather and the front pocket of the tote bag blend seamlessly together. The visual effect of having multiple accessories in a cohesive color is impressive, although Simons thinks the colors (particularly dark green and pink) combine well and is happy for consumers to mix and match. He even designed two of the double-sided throws, in contrasting colors.
Hanging bar with leather strap, pink, £266
Apart from these throws, ostensibly printed with the Kvadrat/Raf Simons logo, the designer has kept the branding subtle: a small monogram engraved on the metal buckle of the cap, an embossed logo on the front leather pocket of the Vidar tote bag, engravings on the individual rings of the key chain. Unusually, the lambswool throw and cushion feature the original 1968 Kvadrat label, a detail that excites Simons: “This period of cultural and political revolution of May 68 and its aftermath was an extremely interesting, where social principles have also found their place”. path to the arts, architecture, urban planning and design”, he observes. “It was more about serving people, about functionality rather than purely aesthetic goals. This attitude of the 60s is still perceptible in Kvadrat: there is this feeling of total freedom, of total experimentation, reflecting a hippie attitude.
To present the new collection, Simons is staging Shaker System accessories alongside furniture by Swedish designer Axel Einar Hjorth, who was particularly active in the 1920s and 1930s. “You can immediately see his pragmatic interest in simplicity and functionality as well than its formal connection to the aesthetics of the Shakers,” he explains. True to Kvadrat’s Danish roots, the dedicated store will be in Copenhagen, but the brand is also collaborating with 48 retail partners around the world for special pop-ups, including Dover Street Market in London, Andreas Murkudis in Berlin and 10 Corso Como in Milano. Here, “people can really immerse themselves in the world of Kvadrat/Raf Simons and feel and see how Raf envisioned home accessories and understand the Shaker concept,” says Njusja de Gier, senior vice president of marketing and digital at Kvadrat.
Ultimately, Simons wants his collection to encourage users to approach accessories with the same care and consideration they give to larger pieces of furniture: “I hope this inspires people to buy small items with the same spirit as when they buy a chair, to put in the context of their environment.’ §