The Secret Garden Project

Scholten & Baijings were commissioned by the TextielMuseum to design ‘The Secret Garden Project’. Inspiration for the collection was drawn from the Scandinavian design tradition, where high-quality workmanship, aesthetics and a close relationship with nature always played an important role. The garden surrounding the studio of Scholten & Baijings in Amsterdam, designed by the Netherlands’ most famous landscape designer Piet Oudolf, served as starting point for the assignment. The different layers in the garden, from the ground to the top of the trees, are each represented in a collection of eight textile designs, along with a 3D-printed lounge chair inspired by a woven textile fabric. The collection is presented as a colourful collage of materials and techniques, all carrying the unmistakable Scholten & Baijings signature.

Piet Oudolf Garden Textile
Piet Oudolf, the iconic Dutch landscape designer, created a beautiful garden for Scholten & Baijings’ new studio in Amsterdam. His specific signature, evident in both the landscapes he creates and the design drawings he produces for planting instructions, served as a great source of inspiration for the textiles. The look of vibrant, translucent markers on sketch paper has been translated into this woven textile.

New Canvas
The first additions to the new garden were a large wooden deck and a lot of fresh soil to fill the raised zinc beds. This layer was translated into what Scholten & Baijings call New Canvas. Like the base layer of the garden, the New Canvas is a mix of natural fibres and shiny metallic elements.

Graphic Leaves
In the first year, when the garden came to life, the focus was on the large leaves. Plants like hostas formed a rich background for the fine grasses and the flowers that shot up later. The textile translation is a large-scale pattern with abstract leaves. The leaves seem to be painted on canvas in gouache, much like the handmade textile prototype.

Pleated Grass
The garden includes several variations of grass: straight upright and dark green, softly coloured and gently draping. The pleated grass interpretations are graphic as well as poetic. The silk textile is pleated, after which hand-painted pieces of masking tape are carefully added. Subsequently, the pleated textile pieces are gathered in the middle to form a fan shape. The abstract grass bouquets are assembled by means of hand stitching.

Glossy Gradient
Every summer evening, the garden is watered by sprinklers. On bright evenings it is likely that a rainbow will emerge from the mist created by the sprinklers. Inspired by this occurrence, a large gradient was created in a vibrant colour spectrum.

Flower Arrangement
The Flower Arrangement textile is a mix of scanned flowers and an abstract graphic layer. The flowers are digitally printed to preserve all the details. After this, the textile is screen printed by hand, alternating between printing on the back and the front of the textile to create depth and layering. This way fluorescent colours can be used.

Animal Blanket
Over the year, bees, birds, spiders, beetles and an occasional mouse have inhabited the garden. Scholten & Baijings’ Animal Blanket is made of thick, soft merino wool. Illustrations of some of the animals are woven using thin silver yarn.

Scholten & Baijings’ interpretation of the garden’s fluttering upper layer has resulted in intriguing 3D-printed textile designs. They have selected four shapes to represent the leaves, then designed different grids and used differently joined coloured filaments. The 3D printer is continuously printing leaves while the filament colours are changing. This means that all the leaves have a unique combination of colour, grid and shape.

Image Credits

Inga Powilleit, Mark Weemen