Turkish Red

Turkish Red

Textiel Museum Tilburg, 2013

In 2013, the Textiel Museum1 in Tilburg commissioned five designers to create a new body of work inspired by the collection of the Museum.
№ – BTMM 0474 Receipt and sample book cov, Driessen Collection.
№ – BTMM 0156 Receipt and sample book, Driessen Collection.
Exploring the archive, Formafantasma was drawn to the so – called Driessen collection. This collection was donated by one of the members of the Driessen family to the Textiel Museum following the end of the cotton printing company LKM2 (Leidsche Katoen Maatschappij). The collection consists of a large series of textile – related books, notebooks, material samples, and printing experimentations collected by various generations of Driessen family members and colourists working for the company. The vast number of collected colour tests and recipes testify to the transition between the use of natural pigments and synthetic ones.
№ – BTMM 0156 Receipt and sample book, Driessen Collection.
№ – Rubia Books.
In this respect, the investigation into Turkish or madder Red by Felix Driessen is particularly relevant. The so – called Turkish Red is a vibrant tone of red sourced from madder roots and is one of the most researched colours in the history of textile. First developed in India and expanding later to Greece and Turkey, its bright tones have intrigued different cultures, thus becoming one of the first examples of globalization. Drawing inspiration both from the Driessen collection and the history of Turkish Red, Formafantasma designed a series of seventeen silk textiles that are dyed with madder roots, in collaboration with a German colourist.
№ – Portrait of Paquio Proculo and wife.
№ – Portrait of Paquio Proculo and wife.
№ – Napoléon Bonaparte.
№ – Portrait of a man.
The silks feature patterns derived from Driessen’s books and other visual elements as a reference to the history of Turkish Red. Traditional design elements such as colour and texture are used as tools to both testify to the work of the Driessen family and to evoke the symbolic, economic and social impact of Turkish Red in history: from the Roman Empire through the French Revolution until the chemical synthesis of alizarin, one of the main dyes obtainable from madder roots. The title of the project, BTMM1514, refers to how books are numbered in the Museum’s archive: the 17 silks are indeed designed as the pages of a book with a front and a back cover.
№ – Driessen Collection - fabric sample, BTMM 0156.
№ – Armenian man.
№ – St. Theophano the Empress.
№ – Driessen Collection - fabric sample, BTMM 0156.

Notes, References and External Links

1. The TextielMuseum is a dynamic and creative working museum located in a former textile factory in Tilburg. It is the only place in the world where textile design, art, fashion, industrial heritage and innovation come together.

2. Leidse Katoenmaatschappij
The Leiden Cotton Company was established from 1836 to 1936 on a site between the Herengracht and the Zijlsingel in the Dutch city of Leiden.

– Turkish red & The Textile Museum. The Textile Museum Tilburg invited five designers to draw inspiration from the museum archives and collections and to create new pieces.


CONCEPT, DESIGN Andrea Trimarchi, Simone Farresin
DEVELOPMENT Andrea Trimarchi, Simone Farresin, Francesco Zorzi, Jenny Hier, Livia Rossi, David Seidlitz, Brit Van Nerven
PHOTO CREDITS Federico Floriani


DomusFormafantasma: Turkish Red
Blogazine, Turkish Red by Formafantasma
Yatzer, Turkish Red by Studio Formafantasma
Frame, Turkish Red by Formafantasma
Designo daily, BTMM1514 (Turkish Red) by Formafantasma
Stylus, Studio Formafantasma: BTMM1514 (Turkish Red)
WGSN, TN Formafantasma Turkish Red 2013
The New York Times, Preindustrial Design meets Politics 
ICON, Icon Award Winner: Formafantasma, Emerging designer of the year