Gentle Textiles and the Ekstrem™ Chair

Posted on September 21. 2022

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Gentle Textiles and the Ekstrem™ Chair
We sat down with Jos Pelders, the founder behind the Febrik side of Kvadrat Febrik, in the middle of his habitual running between daunting large airports and client meetings to talk about all things textile and all things Ekstrem™. Varier has developed a tight-knit relationship with the innovative knit makers of Febrik during the last couple of years and has collaborated with them in the latest rendition of the iconic Ekstrem™ chair, the Ekstrem™ in Gentle. The classic Ekstrem™ has always been a statement piece, but this new version and its velvety, mustard-ochre-champagne-orange unique tone make it an even more seductive, unignorable, sophisticated Ekstrem™.

What is your absolute favorite object in your home? Your precious treasure.

It would have to be my outdoor woodstove. My life is quite hectic and I travel a lot. Coming back home to that woodstove helps me cool down and relax. Maybe it’s a boy’s thing, or maybe I am just a romantic. I like rituals, timeless, traditional rituals, like lighting a fire, the same way people have done for centuries. I love the chopping of the wood, the burning, the sitting beside it, the smell, the whole experience.

You design textiles for a living, how did you become fascinated by them?

Actually, I don’t design, I sell, my wife's designs. It was because of her I fell into the world of textiles. We met while we were both studying and created Febrik together before we joined Kvadrat 5 years later.

Textiles became such a big part of our lives and I became fascinated by all its possibilities. Once you start working with the textile you realize that it is everywhere around us and if you take it out of our daily lives then everything would be naked, undressed. Textile is an undervalued type of product, that like milk or water, we use every day. I think I will never quit the world of textiles, there is still so much to explore with it.

Gentle 2 fabric by Kvadrat Febrik
Gentle 2 fabric production details

 

At Kvadrat Febrik you do not only design textiles, but you also work with innovation. How does innovation play a role in the textiles you develop?

We are knitters, and knitting isn’t new. It is an old-school, ancient practice, with an unsexy reputation. We didn't invent knitting, but we have developed a way of using it for upholstery. Innovation is not only about creating something new or finding the fanciest new production technologies such as 3D printing but about reexploring something that already exists and giving it a small twist and the right application field.

Could you tell us how this new collaboration with Varier has developed in the last year? How would you like the collaboration to evolve in the future?

One of the biggest advantages of being part of Kvadrat is that they know everybody. They introduced us to Varier some years ago and started a dialogue between us. However, it took a while to find the right collaboration. Actually, it was with the Ekstrem™ chair where we could see the magic of our product when combined with this specific chair. Our textile brought a new layer which is what they needed to reinvent the Ekstrem™.

Thanks to this collaboration we have now developed a great relationship with Varier which I am certain can only turn into more success.

Could you describe in very specific detail the first time you sat on an Ekstrem™ chair? Please don’t leave out anything. We’re very curious to know.

When you first see the Ekstrem™, you see this very iconic object from the 80s. You immediately assume it won’t be that comfortable to sit on because it is there only to be beautiful and not to be used. But surprisingly, it is extremely comfortable. The best part is that it feels like a playground and you become like a kid when you sit on it. You instinctively begin to twist and turn and try different positions. I was pleasantly surprised when I first sat on it, it was unexpected and not what I thought it would be like. The Ekstrem™ is both iconic and comfortable.

Jos Pelders from Kvadrat Febrik on Ekstrem™

 

You’ve selected a decadent, hard-to-miss, flamboyant yet elegant fabric for this new rendition of the Ekstrem™ chair. How would you describe the Gentle 2 fabric to a reader who cannot touch it or feel it in person and who only has your words as a reference?

The name of this fabric already implies what it feels like. Gentle is a super soft woolen velvet textile. Velvet, just like knitting, connects to the idea of something old fashion for a lot of people, like thick curtains in an old cafe to keep the cold out, a baroque chair, or the seats at a cinema. But, the way people perceive Gentle is different, its delicate texture and unique color make it feel fresh, modern, and cool. It is a velvet that feels young, not old. With our fabrics, we always want to touch the next generation of designers and products, and this fabric has done just that.

The Ekstrem™ chair is quite special, unusual, asymmetrical, and curvacious even. How was the process of curating an upholstery textile for such a unique piece of furniture?

What makes Gentle and the Ekstrem™ a special combination is how the textile complements the shape of the chair so seamlessly.

The Ekstrem™ has such an extravagant shape that adding a layer of heavy texture to it would be too much. You need something more gentle, literally. This textile has a plain color with a subtle, enchanting glare over it. That is just what you need for this chair, not more. It’s about respecting the product as it is. About supporting it, not overwhelming it. Also, the stretch of the knit is very important here because it molds perfectly around the chair, leaving no distractions around small folds or seams.

Gentle 2 fabric color schemes
Gentle 2 fabric calm color schemes

 

The goal of Varier is to design objects that invite our bodies to move. What is your relationship to movement? Do you dance, walk, stump, do hot yoga or normal yoga, or do you prefer the pleasures of doing as little movement as possible?

In a way, if we talk about textiles, it is all about movement. Knit moves and lives its own life.

If I look at myself, however, I would not say that I am a big mover. Well, I am a big mover in terms of mileage as I am constantly crossing the world, but not in terms of sports or gymnastics. Once I arrive home after moving around the world, I’m always surprised at the number of steps I have to take at airports because some of them are simply too massive. That’s the only movement I do, airport transits and commuting in general. When I get home, all I want to do is relax by my beloved wood stove and do absolutely nothing. I find more pleasure in this lack of movement, in the stillness than in running. I love my woodstove what can I say? We end this conversation where it all began.

 

Discover Ekstrem™ in Gentle

Visit Kvadrat Febrik


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