June 2023: Multi award-winning linen at the Design Parade

In June 2023, linen featured prominently at the Design Parade Toulon – the 7th International Festival of Interior Design. Two designer duos and a prize winner tell us about their interest in linen.

 Toulon Design Parade 2023

The Alliance for European Flax-Linen & Hemp supports young designers

As part of its mission to support young talent, the Alliance for European Flax-Linen & Hemp became the official partner of Design Parade Toulon and of the International Festival of Fashion, Photography, and Accessories, Hyères, France.
As such the Alliance offered a selection of fabrics to the finalists of the Design Parade Toulon interior design contest. They used the fabrics in their projects for the competition, which will be displayed throughout the Festival and at exhibitions.
Today, European flax embodies the entire spectrum of environmental and creative ambitions and remains a source of inspiration for new generations of designers. This year, the winners of Design Parade Toulon had to use their imaginations to create a living room in a Mediterranean villa.

Lauréats lin Design Parade Toulon

The technical properties of sustainable fibre is at the heart of the Lou Cabanon project

NATIONAL MOBILIER PRIZE - Emily Chakhtakhtinsky and Marisol Santana - Lou Cabanoun project

Young designers, enlightened to environmental issues, enjoy working with natural materials and flax-linen in particular. With the support of the Alliance’s partners, the winners were able to tour their showrooms in March, where they were presented with different fabrics and learned about their potential uses.

Thanks to technical progress and the research of artisans, linen is wrinkle-free. It regulates temperature and is an ideal fabric for interiors.

Emily Chakhtakhtinsky and Marisol Santana met at the Parisian design school Ecole Boulle. Emily is an architect, and Marisol is a textile and interior designer. From the start, they had wanted to use linen in their Lou Cabanoun project; a beehive-hut made of dry stone, a refuge for bees and people.

“My mother used to work in the flax industry,” says Marisol. “I have always used linen at home and slept on linen bed sheets. Thanks to technical progress and the research of artisans, linen is wrinkle-free. It regulates temperature and is an ideal fabric for interiors. Not only is it odour resistant, but it also has a natural and modest elegance. We were looking for a natural material that was suitable for dyeing.”

She continues: “At the Linen Dream Lab [the Alliance’s resource centre, open to all designers] we were able to carry out tests and specify our needs, because we were aiming for a particular look that we wanted to achieve through dyeing. We decided to opt for an airy linen voile, soft and velvety to the touch, which would diffuse light through its weft in a very graphic way, and a linen fabric. We are also going to dye double twill ribbons, which absorb dyes differently.”

The duo’s project is inspired by the architectural style of Provençal apiès or bee walls (walls with naturally occurring holes for bees) and asks questions about the viability of spaces in the context of a warming planet, while paying homage to the black carpenter bee of Provence.

Natural fibre and artisanal expertise

The designers are naturally drawn to flax plant fibre as part of their interest in raw materials - wax, stone, basketry, enamels, soil - for this installation, envisioned as an environmental experience, and to pay tribute to craftsmanship and artisanal expertise (muralists, basket makers, ceramists using Armenian techniques, etc.).

The installation highlights these crafts, that draw materials from the surrounding environment and value their life cycle, while respecting ancestral techniques.

Linen, a versatile fabric which lends itself to being dyed4

GRAND PRIX DESIGN PARADE TOULON VAN CLEEF & ARPELS - Clément Rosenberg - Chambre tapissée pour cigale en hive(Upholstered  bedroom for cicadas in winter)

Lin Design Parade Toulon 2023

If Clément Rosenberg could have pushed the boundaries of creation even further, he would have only used linen. His installation Chambre tapissée pour cigale en hiver [covered room for a cicada in winter] consists of a room upholstered with fabrics, a metaphor for the winter refuge of a cicada that spends six years underground in the larval stage. The designer created a coat of arms reminiscent of the French coastline featuring this insect, commonly found in the Southern Mediterranean.

Working with colours is a key aspect of this piece, and Clément Rosenberg used natural dyes. Linen plays a central role in the scene, which showcases a reimagined modern version of an upholstered interior, questioning the link between aesthetics and comfort.

Just like other designers from his generation, Clément Rosenberg’s sensitivity to natural materials and dyes led him to use a lot of linen. Linen is present in the form of fabric drapes, thanks to the support of the Alliance’s partner, the Belgian company Libeco, and padding for upholstered mattresses, which gives the installation a mediaeval feel. I appreciate its technical properties, its dry folds characterised by a kind of lightness,” he explains. The 31-year-old designer who graduated from the Ecole Duperré school of applied arts in Paris with a major in textile design and also the industrial design school ENSCI, also teaches design.

But what also interests this design laureate is in the famous dyeability of linen, “which itself modulates the colour, while regulating the humidity of the room”.

The appeal of linen in the context of climate change

 PUBLIC PRIZE - Hadrien Krief and Théophile Chatelais - Les Heures Chaudes (The hot hours)

Architects duo Hadrien Krief and Théophile Chatelais Design Parade Toulon 2023

What role does interior architecture play against the backdrop of climate change? Linen in the shape of a mainsail represents a metaphor for the possible responses to the climate emergency.
Thanks to its technical properties, this large seamless sail can also be placed before a window to modulate airflow, and why not spray it with water to keep the room cool

The architectural duo of Hadrien Krief and Théophile Chatelais were looking for a capillary fabric with cooling properties for their project. The entire room is designed around a large thermometer, 80cm-high, which is supposed to be “the object guiding our use, inviting us to move towards the window to go and smell the fresh air, the pool, the cool stones or this linen with its temperature regulating properties”. With its virtuous properties, flax-linen, made from a European plant fibre, shows that anything is possible.