Presented by: Igor Siddiqui
Millefleur – a French term for ‘a thousand flowers’ – refers to stylized surfaces crafted from densely arranged floral patterns, commonly seen in medieval European decorative artworks. Exemplary works produced in the millefleur style combine a high resolution of detail at the scale of the individual motif with intricate patterns of arrangement across the whole field, accentuating the beauty, intensity, and painstaking nature of pre-industrial craftsmanship. This project, named after the style in question, recalls this tradition and explores its potential within the context of contemporary design. The Millefleur installation focuses on the emergence of floral geometries through digitally driven design processes, while addressing the impact of human agency and group participation throughout fabrication and assembly.
The aim is to explore the disconnects between the digital and the physical as productive sites for the articulation of robust design strategies, while forging new connections between decoration’s historical legacy and its innovative potential today. While the project aesthetically references the canonical work of contemporary figures such as Tord Boontje and Sheila Hicks, it is nonetheless conceptually grounded primarily by the desire to bring together technological innovation and participatory practice in a new and meaningful way. Constructed from silver Tyvek fabric and multi-color cotton thread, the curtain-like installation features over 300 uniquely shaped floral forms, generated through a digital script and hand-cut. The fabrication of the curtain was conducted through a workshop with nearly two dozen participants who shaped its final design resolution through group decision-making, person-to-person negotiation and improvisation. Each floral form within the overall pattern is visible as both a cutout in the textile and as an applique stitched onto the silver surface with colored thread. The array of 22 colors of thread references the individuals that fabricated the installation. The resulting floor-to-ceiling fringe – cascading across the textile’s surface - is a colorful representation of the community that participated in the making of the piece. The multilayered installation produces visual, textural and spatial effects that contribute to the overall atmosphere of the gallery. Moreover, the project serves as a critical case study in decorative practice – one in which digital tools are used to stimulate, rather than suppress, the social aspects of fabrication processes that often go unnoticed.