With their sleek silhouettes, minimalist motifs and textured surfaces, the fabrics designed by Anne Kyyrö Quinn are some of the most visionary expressions of interior textiles today. One of the first designers to rediscover felt and update it for the contemporary interior, Kyyrö Quinn broke fresh ground when she used the material to pioneer a new range of uniquely ‘structural’ textiles. Whereas most textile designers dye fabrics or embellish them with motifs, Kyyrö Quinn peels away such ornamentation and reveals the structural integrity that robust materials can have.
‘My starting point is to explore the fabric’s structure,’ Kyyrö Quinn explained, ‘to test how well it holds its shape, see whether or not it frays and watch how the fibres react to handling.’ Perhaps it was these factors that led her to felt, which Kyyrö Quinn describes as a ‘miracle material’. ‘Felt is environmentally-friendly, tactile, soft, durable and easy to work with,’ Kyyrö Quinn explained. ‘Refined lengths of felt work just like other interior textiles, and even out-perform them. Thicker densities of felt possess unrivalled structure and strength which makes them perfect for interior architecture. Because the fibres are so heavily compressed, felt is super strong, has incredible acoustic properties and can be fire-proofed like any other material.’
Kyyrö Quinn established her studio in 1999 with portfolio of just six core designs and a basic range of interior products. One of her first lighting designs was licensed to Innermost, and her interior textiles were purchased by retail outlets such as Roche Bobois, Liberty and the Conran Shop. Her production soon skyrocketed, necessitating a showroom where clients could view her entire product range and the retail public could shop for readymade designs. Since then, her collection has expanded to include blinds and window screens, wall panels, table accessories and upholstery fabrics.
Collaborations with architects and interior designers have resulted in some of her most ground-breaking projects. De Beers Diamonds invited Kyyrö Quinn to design textile installations for their London showroom, where her ‘designs echoed the facets of the cut gems, or created dramatic backdrops,’ she said. Her bespoke commissions cropped up in other showrooms and public spaces, famously at the Viva restaurant, where her wall panels set the scene for fine dining. ‘Working in an architectural way enables me to reveal other dimensions of my fabrics,’ Kyyrö Quinn explained. ‘Stretching textiles across huge surfaces softens the interior yet creates an incredibly rich backdrop. You’d be amazed at how much the acoustics soften, and how they can transform a big, noisy area into a cosy and relaxing environment. When a simple design is scaled up it can resemble an abstract painting, but when a repeating pattern is amplified it brings texture to the interior in a way that no other material can.’
Design critics often trace Kyyrö Quinn’s style back to her Finnish roots, attributing her clean lines and minimalist palate to her Nordic heritage. ‘Finland has a deep appreciation of its design history,’ she said, ‘so I was fortunate to grow up understanding that good designs are long-lasting and iconic, not just short-lived trends. As a designer, I challenge myself to transform the classical materials of the past into new products for the present. As I do that, I hope to design textiles inspiring enough to forge a fresh direction for the styles of tomorrow.