The Story of Ruth: Textile Legend Ruth Adler Schnee
Across the anthology of textile luminaries, the legend of Ruth Adler Schnee is writ large. After fleeing Nazi Germany in 1938 for Detroit, she went on to earn a full scholarship from Rhode Island School of Design, intern with Raymond Loewy, study under Eliel Saarinen at Cranbrook Academy of Art, outfit Buckminster Fuller’s Ford Rotunda geodesic dome, specify interiors for Minoru Yamasaki Associates’s World Trade Center twin towers in New York, and be the subject of the 2010 documentary, The Radiant Sun: Designer Ruth Adler Schnee.
And she’s still going strong at 89. Knoll Textiles creative director Dorothy Cosonas recently commissioned Schnee to translate her modern-minded prints into woven privacy and window curtains for the health-care sector. First designed in 1949 as printed burlap wallpaper, then rendered as?curtain fabric in 1951, Strata, now in Trevira CS polyester, recalls layers of geographic formations, which Schnee first encountered on her 1948 honeymoon to the American West. The circles in Fission Chips, a 1957 horsehair curtain fabric now rendered in flame-retardant polyester, replicate the texture of cut logs. Both 72-inch-wide, Greenguard–certified fabrics are available in six colorways. 866-565-5858; knolltextiles.com.