September 1, 2020

Jack Lenor Larsen Teams Up with Sunbrella to Create Textile Collection That Doubles as Art

Color and texture play equal roles in fabric design, a balance renowned textile designer Jack Lenor Larsen knows well—as does Sunbrella, a leading manufacturer of performance textiles. Though the two have a history of collaborating, the recently launched Larsen Performance Collection marks the latter’s first foray into designing a full collection with Sunbrella. The collection features a colorful selection of multi-use performance textiles that have the look and feel of luxury fabrics with inspired designs.

A pioneer of 20th century craftsmanship, Larsen’s inspiration comes from a desire to weave design—literally—into unexpected places, showcasing individuality and global ideas from his own travels. Larsen’s familiarity with performance fabrics stems from his work at LongHouse, the 16-acre nature reserve and sculpture garden he founded in East Hampton, New York. Striving to incorporate art in everyday settings, Larsen’s collection with Sunbrella offers rich, intricate patterns, which also are long-lasting, fade-proof and easy to clean.

Fabrics from bottom to top: Inscription, Hieroglyph, Palmetto, Inscription, and Chinoise. Photography courtesy of Cowtan & Tout, Inc. 

Using his extensive print archive, Larsen reinterprets multicolor statement floral and stripe prints into woven jacquard patterns with soft chenille textures, giving a new tactile comfort to indoor and outdoor living. “Midsummer [the floral] was my most popular print which we did in the 50s in many colors,” Larsen notes, “I’ve now revived the pattern as a jacquard woven.” 

As an avid and long-time basket collector, Larsen constantly refers back to fundamental basket weave patterns. The Interlacing pattern presents as a study in drawing out the essence of a basket’s construction into a woven textile. “We need fabrics to resist fading for all kinds of purposes, whether it’s for children’s spaces, work spaces, or living spaces,” Larsen says, noting that another significant connection between these textiles and a properly woven basket is the durability. 

The colors have a crispness, cleanliness, bright or not, which I think will work well in many places,” Larsen says about the potential that comes from this collection, creating cohesive motifs both indoors and out. Photography courtesy of Cowtan & Tout, Inc

The cornerstone of Hieroglyph’s design comes from its fabric pattern. The Sunbrella design team created the performance version of a “horsehair” yarn, with bi-colors mixing matte and shine that give luster and durability to the pattern. Similarly, the Chinoise fabric features an all-over matelassé pattern, providing a subtle yet eye-catching motif in a soft textural manner. “It has been a pleasure having jacquard facilities and abilities to use multicolors to create patterned fabrics which is what I’ve tended to do because they give pleasure,” Larsen says about his experience designing with Sunbrella.

“Fortunately today, we have fabrics that are resistant to fading in the sun, rot or mildew, rain and wear– and that is very special,” Larsen says, noting the rising importance of multi-use spaces . “From quite bold, to subtle, to crisp, we have great variety in this small collection,” he continues, “the colors have a crispness, cleanliness, bright or not, which I think will work well in many places.”  

“Entertaining outside is wonderful,” Larsen says about his desire to create quality outdoor style solutions. Photography courtesy of Cowtan & Tout, Inc

Available now through Larsen Fabrics

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