Merel Karhof has been using the breeze as muse for years, finding new ways to spin airflow into creative gold. Most notable, perhaps, is the London-based designer’s Wind Knitting Machine, which united a metal mill and loom to make one-of-a-kind scarves. Her ongoing Energy Harvesters series (I, II, III, and IV) underscores her continued fascination with the invisible force. And her latest project, a furniture collection, is not only ingenious but it’s the most ambitious yet.
Karhof sited the project in the historic Zaanse Schans region of the Netherlands, an industrial milling hub dating back almost 300 years. These days, it provides a stark glimpse back at the traditions that helped establish the region. On-site, Karhos harnessed whooshing gales and used original, still-functioning machinery in a three-fold process to make the furniture: a sawmill cut the wood that provided the structure for each piece, a color mill ground the pigment used to dye the yarn, and Karhof’s own knitting machine transformed those colored fibers into mini pillows to upholster the stools, benches, and seats. And much like she did with the scarves, whose length corresponded to time it took to make, each cushion is sized relative to how long it took to produce.
The concept alone is enough to make this one of the coolest design endeavors in a while, not to mention a thoughtful approach to sustainability. But the pieces are, frankly, quite fine looking. They have nicely minimalist forms and soft hues. We hope she’ll make more soon.JK