Building with Textiles, the exhibition

Building with Textiles, the exhibition

27 September 2014 till 25 January 2015

In BUILDING WITH TEXTILES, the TextielMuseum presents work by internationally renowned architects as well as interior projects that put textiles in the spotlight. Building with textiles and flexible materials has aesthetic, functional and environmental advantages. That is why textiles are now seen as the fifth key building material alongside steel, stone, concrete and wood. The development of interior textiles with special functions – from air purification to integrated light, images and sound – offers new possibilities to design smart and interactive interiors.

The exhibition is part of a larger, long-term project initiated by the TextielMuseum and the TextielLab. It comprises an extended research and development plan spanning several years, special commissions for the museum collection and expert meetings.


The exhibition presents a historical overview of the type of tent-like structures that provided shelter for early nomadic tribes. A life-sized Mongolian yurt forms the heart of this section, in addition to photos and films of various types of tents and their construction.
In the 20th century, visionary engineers and architects such as Richard Buckminster Fuller, Frei Otto and Haus Rucker & Co, put lightweight constructions back on the architectural agenda. The exhibition features highlights of their work in a series of images.

In addition, the museum brings together five visionary projects by international architects. These projects reveal the great potential of textile materials and techniques in building.

Taking pride of place is Prada Transformer (2008) by renowned Dutch agency OMA. Commissioned by Italian fashion label Prada, the structure is made up of a steel frame covered with an elastic PVC membrane. It can be positioned in four different ways, with the help of a crane. Each position serves a different purpose, encompassing everything from an exhibition space for fashion to a cinema. The remaining four projects are by Kennedy & Violich Architecture, DO|SU Studio Architecture, SL Rasch and SOMA.

By integrating different functions, textiles can improve the quality of the interior space, both visually and functionally. The exhibition offers a platform to projects with smart solutions for light, acoustics and flexible floor plans. Textiles by Philips are included, as well as more artistic projects such as a light installation by Danish designer Astrid Krogh.

Finally, in the exhibition and test lab, visitors are invited to experiment with textiles for themselves. Through fabrics that provide heat, light or emit a scent, visitors can experience the vast potential of textiles.

Exhibition design by Studio Maarten Kolk & Guus Kusters. Graphic design by Raw Color.

BUILDING WITH TEXTILES – collection commissions

Interior designs by studio Inside Outside by designer Petra Blaisse, and Studio Samira Boon are a work-in-progress during the course of the project. Studio Inside Out is designing a curtain with solar cells, while Studio Samira Boon is developing SUPER FOLDS: woven folded structures that form flexible room dividers. The TextielLab has initiated a research programme for these two collection commissions with support from external technical experts. Both projects have been commissioned by the TextielMuseum.

‘BUILDING WITH TEXTILES’ is on show from 27 September 2014 to 25 January 2015. Follow us for the entire programme:

BUILDING WITH TEXTILES is possible with support from the Creative Industries Fund NL and BKKC.