Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/exhibitions/35350777/

Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance

Technical textiles are among the most innovative examples of design today. These highly engineered fabrics are everywhere, yet they are often concealed under roadways, behind walls, and even within our bodies. They can lift hundreds of tons, weigh a fraction of their metal counterpart, enable users to reach speeds of over two hundred miles per hour, and protect against extreme cold and heat. Pure function is their purpose, and success is determined by their ultimate performance. Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance is the first major museum exhibition to present technical textiles and their applications. It showcases some of the most inventive uses of these high-performance fabrics in a broad range of areas, including aeronautics, medicine, apparel, sports, agriculture, transportation, and civil engineering. Some of the extraordinary textile accomplishments featured in this show include the fabric chosen for the wing section in the first controlled flight by man, textile-based robots designed to explore the Martian surface, and a garment that can monitor vital signs and provide live communication with a soldier on the battlefield. All exemplify the highest standards of performance—stronger, lighter, faster, smarter or safer. These are the criteria used to evaluate products within the technical textiles industry, and also the exhibition categories used to highlight particular applications. Textiles form the infrastructure of all the objects on display here. The diversity of techniques reflects Cooper-Hewitt’s own outstanding textile collection, which includes thousands of historical examples of weaving, knitting, embroidery, and braiding. These textile structures provide a historic continuum, from the first evidence of plain weaving, at least 10,000 years ago, to the present. It is appropriate, then, that the first mark made by man in the soil of Mars—an impression left by the Pathfinder’s airbags when they bounced on the planet’s surface—was that of a plain-woven fabric, and that sixteenth-century metallic embroidery is the inspiration for some of the most compelling current research in electronic textiles. The primary difference between past and present textiles is that traditional techniques are now being used with new fibers in unconventional disciplines—biotechnology, chemistry and information science—to develop technological solutions unimaginable even a century ago. The future of design lies with these models of innovation as textiles push boundaries, eliminate borders between traditional disciplines, and continue to be a foundation of our physical world.

Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18132135/

  • warp; s-spun linen. wefts; z-spun linen, z-spun wool
  • Gift of John Pierpont Morgan

Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18132327/

  • warp; s-spun linen. wefts; s-spun linen, s-spun wool
  • Gift of John Pierpont Morgan

Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18132675/

  • warp; s-spun linen. weft: z-spun linen, z-spun wool
  • Gift of John Pierpont Morgan

Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18386595/

  • silk
  • Gift of Richard C. Greenleaf
  • leisure
  • hats
  • tassels
  • accessories
  • headcovering
  • diamonds
  • stars
  • men's fashion accessories
  • warmth
  • lozenge
  • hat
  • ribbed
  • knit
  • monochromatic

Eighteenth-century Spanish paintings and prints suggest that men and women alike wore red knitted caps on celebratory occasions. Francisco de Goya (1746–1828), known for capturing the essence of Spanish daily life, portrayed lively scenes of people in knitted caps and other forms of traditional Spanish dress.

Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18387217/

  • wool weft
  • Museum purchase through gift of Agnes M. O'Donnell

Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18387219/

  • wool
  • Museum purchase through gift of Agnes M. O'Donnell

Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18394253/

  • silk, metallic beads
  • Gift of Mrs. Albert Blum

Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18394283/

  • silk, metallic beads
  • Gift of Mrs. Albert Blum

Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18394297/

  • silk, metallic beads
  • Gift of Mrs. Albert Blum

Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18412099/

  • linen
  • Gift of Roxa Wright

Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18444995/

  • linen
  • Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma Greenleaf

Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18445157/

  • linen, metal-wrapped silk-core threads, metal strip, metal spangles
  • Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma Greenleaf

Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18452559/

  • linen warp, wool weft
  • Gift of Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18472963/

  • cardboard, linen, silk, metallic
  • Gift of The George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum

Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18474615/

  • linen
  • Bequest of Marian Hague

Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18603195/

  • wool
  • Museum purchase through gift of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt

Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18616501/

  • silk embroidery on linen foundation
  • Bequest of Gertrude M. Oppenheimer
  • instruction
  • multicolored
  • girls
  • education
  • eyelets
  • crowns
  • buttonholes

Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18696059/

  • Manufactured by Sakase Adtech Co., Ltd.
  • carbon fiber
  • Gift of The Museum of Modern Art, courtesy of the designer
  • personal
  • overlapping
  • sports
  • woven
  • industrial design
  • flexible
  • geometric
  • interwoven
  • lightweight
  • hexagonal
  • innovative
  • mesh
  • prosthetic

Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18697343/

  • silk embroidery on wool foundation
  • Gift of Myra and William H. Mathers
  • instruction
  • children
  • recording
  • numbers
  • inscriptions
  • grid
  • girls
  • education
  • calculation
  • mathematics

Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18698061/

  • Manufactured by Laird Technologies
  • copper and polyester
  • Gift of Laird Technologies

Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18698907/

  • Manufactured by Toray Industries, Inc
  • polyester
  • Gift of Toray Industries, Inc.
  • food preparation
  • collapsible
  • fishing
  • flexible
  • net
  • mesh