Sustainable Textile Installations @ Milan Design Week


Every year, the city of Milan hosts over 300,000 designers, collectors and architectural aficionados to unveil the latest trends in furniture and design. Milan Furniture Week is the ultimate culmination of inspiration for all things sustainable, versatile and innovative in the design industry.

Sunbrella proudly joined the conversation this year by featuring two cutting-edge artists, Elise Fouin and Liz Collins, to lead the performance fabrics dialogue in Milan. Creating two separate installations connected by a central theme of energy and nature, both women masterfully composed textile exhibitions that celebrate the future of fabric.

Liz Collins installation in Milan for Sunbrella

Liz Collins’ installation at Galleria Rossana Orlandi, named the “Summit Suite,” utilized three separate rooms to mimic the summit of a mountain expedition. The Fur Room, Mountain Room and Light Room materialized each environmental element in an immersive textile experience.

“Sunbrella’s materials embody the energy that was manifested into the installations,” said Collins of the vibrating tones and exuberant color combinations.

Paying homage to Arte Povera, a traditional Italian art movement, and her techniques of fiber and textile media, Collins brought life to fabrics that lined the rooms “like palace walls.” The installation was not only a way to exhibit the variety and flexibility of Sunbrella’s textiles, but also to encourage visitors to play among the fur walls and foster inspiration throughout her experiential space.

“Texture and color are very powerful vehicles for creative self-expression,” said Collins of her creative process, “When materialized in a certain way, they connect people very quickly to association… fringe, fraying and decay personally tie back to my [association] of being a teenager in the 80’s through punk.”

Sunbrella is honored to be the medium in Collins’ innovative and invigorating space that earned Collins a nomination for the 2019 Archiproducts Awards.

Elise Fouin Pinwheel made from Sunbrella Fabric

Across the city at Salone, the topic of renewable energy and ecology are highlighted in a completely different interpretation in Elise Fouin’s “Wind-Flower” installation. Fouin generated a calm natural energy through her motion-based installation, channeling the essence of the wind.

Pastel fabric strips and ribbons were stretched, manipulated, and layered to resemble movement that we innately associate with energy and wind, rotating the windflowers.

“To me, Sunbrella represents a kind of cheerful, casual way of life, but also creates fabrics that are durable and practical. The wind roses fill a function, but also convey a kind of poetry and lightness,” said Fouin.

True to the Sunbrella mission of sustainable practices, Collins and Fouin expertly interpreted the innovation happening in the textile industry.  The installations mimic natural elements: wind and earth. Not only do they draw inspiration from natural elements, but they are also made out of material that is manufactured sustainably and repurposed for artistic value.  Just as we manufacture our fabrics with strength, to produce less waste, and to take many different forms, the energetic exhibitions in Milan created a story of the versatility and sustainability of Sunbrella.

Elise Fouin exhibit in Milan