What is this?
Length of printed cotton with a ground of narrow bands of triangles varying in tone from pale yellow to deep red to violet, but predominantly orange. Interrupted by deep bands of white with black and gray triangles, forming larger triangles, squares and diamonds.
Why is this important?
Like many architects of his generation, Swedish architect Sven Markelius was involved in both the exterior and interior decoration of the buildings he designed. He was very interested in textiles and created numerous designs for interior fabrics. Like this example, many feature repeating shapes in analogous colors dispersed within an even grid.
Hand screen-printed on a cotton linen blend, ‘Pythagoras’ combines wide bands of yellow, red, and violet triangles with narrower bands in white, black, and grey. Requiring eighteen unique screens to print, the pattern presents a challenge for even a skilled team of printers, as the narrow gaps between several of the triangles in this length reveal. Markelius incorporated it in several building designs in the early 1950s, including the Royal Institute of Technology Assembly Hall in Stockholm. An icon of Swedish design, it remains in production today.