Old Lace - New Trick

Published
13.04.2015

By Birgitte Wulff, Design School Kolding

Camilla Skøtt is a textile designer. She does not sew or knit, but she does know how to find inspiration, and currently she is drawing inspiration from a craft that is so proud and steeped in tradition that it is being exhibited at Designmuseum Danmark. The craft is lacemaking.

Although Camilla Skøtt is no lacemaker herself, she is fascinated with the sheer amount of time that goes into the process, and she has translated this fascination into the design of a table that is featured in Design School Kolding’s exhibition The Tube, which is presented as part of the design week Salone del Mobile in Milan.

“No one makes lace any longer, but it’s an incredibly beautiful craft, and there is great inherent value in the sheer number of hours and the care that go into lace-making. Lace tablecloths were only used on special occasions, and I find it fascinating to combine this traditional craft with contemporary technology”, says Camilla Skøtt, who graduated from Design School Kolding in summer 2014.

Although Camilla Skøtt trained as a textile designer, she chose to focus on furniture design in her master’s studies, and her graduation project was a dining table with a tabletop in the highly sophisticated intarsia technique, which in Denmark is only performed by Intarsia on the island of Funen.

Carved with … water

This time, the 29-year-old designer worked with the company Forbo Flooring, and the process has been nerve-racking, she explains.

The table was produced in the Netherlands, and while she personally did the design and drawings, the tabletop was carved by the skilled craftspeople at Forbo Flooring. The cut-outs were created using an aqua jet, a high-powered water jet – a technique that Forbo Flooring specializes in. Camilla Skøtt only saw photos of the process as it unfolded, but the result makes her proud.

“I had butterflies in my stomach when it was time to see the finished tabletop for the first time, but it’s just perfect”, says Camilla Skøtt.

The lace is carved in linoleum, a material that Camilla Skøtt has not worked with before, but which she has come to appreciate.

“Linoleum is a natural, warm and sustainable material, and it’s very pleasant to touch. The table is for exhibition use, not for daily use, because the perforations in the pattern are not filled in. We want to show the different layers in the material, so all we did was sand the edges down to make them smooth”, says Camilla Skøtt, who looks forward to presenting the table in Milan.

“Our collaboration began in December, and the process has been incredibly exciting. I have learned a lot about different materials and new techniques, but it has also been a good experience to work with such a big company”, says Camilla Skøtt.

The title of this year’s The Tube is ‘Honey, we need to talk’. The theme is ‘the table’, and the exhibition consists of seven shipping containers. Eight designers are involved.

The Tube opens on Wednesday, 15 April in Milan