Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind, Oscar Niemeyer or MVRDV are just few designers and design studios who have experimented with fabrics, creating inspiring textile projects in the public space. Time for Poznań – the audience of Malta Festival 2017 not only had the opportunity to admire, but also enter the fabric labyrinth located in Malta Generator in Plac Wolności (Freedom Square). The installation created with Dekoma fabrics was designed by Starzak Strebicki Atelier.
Fabrics in the architecture of freedom
For a few years now, Malta Generator has been the artistic Heart of the Festival. It is here that panels, plays, and creative workshops take place. Egalitarian, open hotspot has nurtured dialogue and theatrical performances, at the same time making for a great place to relax and hang out in the afternoon. In the cosy, fabric “labyrinth”, with municipal furniture and live plants designed especially for this occasion, the concrete square was transformed into a homelike spot – Malta Generator. Warming up the space, the fabrics made the square a perfect place for friendly get-togethers.
– The project, aiming to incorporate Plac Wolności in the Malta Festival, was meant to make this large urban space more inhabitant-friendly. In winter and summer, the square is mostly empty, as its concrete surface and lack of greenery do not make it an attractive place for Poznanians’ spontaneous activities. Dividing this spacious area (more than 3 000 m2) into smaller parcels, and designing places with particular activities in mind, was like a breath of fresh air, making the space accessible and friendly for everyone. As a result, Plac Wolności is turning into a prototype of a people-friendly urban interior – Jola Starzak, the co-author of the installation, says.
Designers used as much as 370 m of delicate fabrics from the Organza and Pat collections to create the fabric labyrinth. In Malta Generator, set in Poznań’s Plac Wolności, the fabrics were the markers of cosy areas where various activities were encouraged. The labyrinth was a haven from the hustle and bustle, place where people could go to see their friends, or just sit to enjoy another play or participate in a panel.
Together with the Kuluza Studio, Dekoma created official festival gadgets: a backpack and bumbag made of Oxide leatherette, used by participants throughout the event.
Thin need-driven boundary
The outdoor use of fabrics during this year’s Malta Festival was a declaration of abandoning rigid and obvious, fossilized divisions by introducing small differences and separating festival’s zones. The fabric “dividing” the Generator showed that the “participants”, citizens of the world (i.e. of the Generator) create and modify particular zones. Boundaries should stem from the understanding and interpretation of needs, not from arbitrary, authoritarian orders.
The symbolism, mobility, and interactivity of transparent fabrics were an allusion to the five-part motto of this year’s edition: “We, the nation; We, the Balkans; We, the East; We, Europe; We, the Others”. There are two ways these words might be interpreted. The first meaning highlights unity and homogeneity of the subject mentioned; the second, in contrast, juxtaposes two subjects, suggesting their polarity. The convention of the boundaries, their unobvious nature, and the possibility of challenging them were all reflected in the fabric labyrinth, which, although it did mark particular zones, was a place where all participants of the festival socialised.