The Dutch design firm Demakersvan was challenged by the University of Philadelphia’s Design Center, in 2009, to create fencing based on their collection of historic Quaker lace.
Philadelphia was the largest American lace producers through the 1930’s. Quaker lace was machine loomed and became a product for the middle classes.
The challenge was to use the original lace design drawings and transform them. One of the design firm owners even took lace making classes to better understand the mechanics of the craft.
This was the outcome.
It now houses the center itself. The fence is 6’ tall and 160’ long. It wraps around the drive way leading to the center. Cars are known to pull up and stop to admire the fence.
Demakersvan states it clearly, “Like brambles fences are rising rampantly around us. What would happen if a patch of embroidered wire would meet with and continue as an industrial fence? Hostility versus kindness, industrial versus craft.”
From this idea came a unique and charming way to contain the many protected spaces in our cities today. I hope we see this spread in the future.
Lace has been a fascination for centuries. It’s detail and beauty still enchant us. Lace is now available to all but was in history for the rich and luxurious only. These historic philosophies are ingrained somewhere in our minds. We all recognize lace as a finery and a special item to be cherished.
The lace chain link fence shows how a detailed, old fashioned item can be placed in use today with a gentle effect. All it takes is determination and design ability. I love it!
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