Productive Draping: The Making of and Research Behind The Performative Curtaining Project

2019-09-13T09:20:48Z (GMT) by Deborah Schneiderman Annie Coggan
The Productive Drapery project is a multidisciplinary investigation intended to correct architecture and create better interiors. Historically drapery has been utilized to block and filter light, provide privacy, and mend construction to minimize drafts.1 Picture windows, popular in American mid-century tract homes, caused drapery to be utilized to further “right” architecture. They were situated for exterior symmetry, but generated difficult to inhabit imbalanced interiors, wall to wall curtaining was implemented as a correction.2 Contemporary urban glass towers, with floor to ceiling glazing, have further exacerbated this problem. The task of Productive Drapery, unlike Petra Blaisse’s spatial curtaining for the site-specific and spectacle,3 is to address and rectify quotidian interior issues in multiple conditions. Those caused by large expanses of glass as well as obstructions created by HVAC elements found in more typical construction. We continue to develop a taxonomy of conditions that address the pragmatics of drapery via analogue and digital methods. This praxis research is an extension of the theoretical inquiries found in the expanding body of knowledge for Interior Design.4 Through the manipulation of prototypes, we test pedestrian ideas of domesticity and create new textile based interiors. Fabrication methods encompass, hand sewing, machine sewing, smocking, folding, pleating, and embroidery. Materials include, various textiles including, woven, knit, and felted as well as conductive thread, thin film photovoltaic and smart textile assemblies. The Productive Drapery prototypes provide context for window treatment beyond the decorative, adapting to frame views, compressing and expanding to meet changing spatial and climatic conditions. Illuminating Curtaining’s historically performative role also questions issues of home goods consumption. In combining the tasks of decorative objects; lights/curtains, picture frames/curtains, these prototypes provide an edited cohesive environment extending the definition of interiority and human habitation. 1. Grier, K. Culture and Comfort: Parlor Making and Middle-Class Identity 1850-1930, Smithsonian, Washington DC, 2010. 2. Petty, M.M. “Curtains and the Soft Architecture of the American Postwar Domestic Environment,” Home Cultures Vol. 9, issue 1(2012): 35-56. 3. Blaisse, P. “Curtain as Architecture: Casa Da Musica, Porto,” in Inside Outside Reveiling, Nai Publishers, Rotterdam 4. For further research in this area see volumes from Lois Weinthal, Graeme Brooker, Mark Taylor and Julianna Preston, and Deborah Schneiderman and Alexa Griffith-Winton.