Q&A With the Design Duo Behind a Playful Textile Collection

Q&A With the Design Duo Behind a Playful Textile Collection

By Paige Alexus
As the Memphis design movement has once again picked up speed, a number of its founding members have been busy pursuing their own creative ventures.

Along with a paper goods collection that Nathalie Du Pasquier designed for Rubberband, she also recently co-designed CoopDPS, a textile collection that she and fellow founding member George Sowden have created for ZigZach Zurich. As a husband-and-wife team that had a tremendous impact on the Italian design movement of the 1980s, they’ve put their minds together again to bring a colorful and multi-patterned line of textiles to the Swiss lifestyle brand’s inventory. The collection consists of bedding, blankets, pillows, and throws—all featuring signature bold color combinations that are meant to be mixed and matched. They also created a line for ZigZag Zurich’s trade-focused brand, 4Spaces, which includes wallpaper, upholstery fabric, and drapery that’s sold by-the-yard.

Pasquier and Sowden’s collection for ZigZag Zurich offers a selection of ready-made wallcoverings with wild patterns that are digitally-printed onto a thin woven fleece material. Its transparent nature allows the wall behind the panels to play a part in the design. 

When we learned that Pasquier and Sowden would be collaborating together again after almost fifteen years, we knew we had to get the inside scoop. Read on to hear directly from the team about the inspiration that went into the collection.

Nathalie Du Pasquier and George Sowden are shown here holding a pair of wacky props that imitate a motif that can be found in the textiles. 

In your own words, how would you describe this collection?

We wanted it to represent the spirit of our time. We decided to name it "post-crisis" to reflect the shift in our consumption following the crash of 2008. Today, there’s an acute awareness of the damages caused by mass-production, waste, and pollution. We want to help create a new approach to manufactured goods with a higher sensitivity towards our planet and an effort to make more conscious decisions as consumers. The collection is an expression of these ideas using geometric and all-over prints.

One of the most interesting material treatments is found in the drapery fabric that’s appropriately titled, Plastic Fantastic. Pasquier and Sowden developed a special sheer material that’s made up of a woven Trevira, which creates a vitrage effect in a room when light shines through it. 

How did this project come about? 

A collaboration in the textiles arena has been something that we’ve wanted to do for a really long time. So, when ZigZagZurich reached out to us, the timing was perfect. They were big fans of our early work and wanted to create a collection that would appeal to a range of markets. This is our first time working together since the ‘80s, and the last time also involved designing textiles. In a sense, this project represents us coming full-circle. 

When you first got together to design the collection, did you have any main goals or visions? 

We’ve worked together in the past and were excited to recreate the magic. The teams at ZigZag Zurich and 4Spaces gave us complete freedom and encouraged us to push the boundaries.

The CoopDPS throws and blankets are made of 100 percent woven New Zealand jacquard wool. 

What makes the line unique? 

Our approach to design is what differentiates us. We appreciate how textiles can represent the essence of an era, like the Belle Époque, 17th century, Futurism, or Memphis—to name a few. This collection represents our idea of the times we live in today. 

What do you think makes ZigZach Zurich and 4Spaces special in terms of textile innovation? 

Their initial idea was to edit some of the original Memphis designs, but when we all sat down together, we decided to create a new label that had never been seen before. We were drawn to their commitment to quality, their technical abilities, and the way they work with independent artists. They also wanted to create products that are both accessible and high-quality. Thus, their local production in Italy played a major role in making this collection a success.

Their cushion line includes multiple patterns in two different sizes—all of which are made with black and white yarn that’s specially woven on a jacquard loom in ZigZag Zurich’s Italian mill. 

If you could see your textiles used anywhere, where would it be? 

We’d love to see a train or plane filled with the fabrics! 

Why do you call this work, "emotional design?" 

Decoration is purely an emotion—it’s like writing a song. For us, there’s a direct link between a design and the emotion that drives it. These products are inspired by matters that we feel passionate about, and the outcome is a result of that.

Also part of the CoopDPS collection are printed draperies that are made with an Italian woven tulle fabric. Shown here is the Provence curtain, which is inspired by the props that Pasquier and Sowden are waving in their portrait above. 

What can we expect to see next from the two of you? 

George: I’m working on my own brand, Sowden, which designs, produces, and distributes special products for brewing tea and coffee, as well as tableware products. Another research project I’m working on includes designing and engineering a new, second generation of energy-saving LED light bulbs, which will be manufactured in Europe. 

Nathalie: I’m working, as always.

The duvet covers and bed pillows are made of 100 percent percale cotton and come in multiple playful patterns. 


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