by Caroline Tiger, for 'T Magazine' of The New York Times
Two years ago, the Dutch designer Tord Boontje visited the lace archives at the Design Center at Philadelphia University and emerged with reams of ideas, including one for a giant, black spider-web-like couch that he wove from thick sailing rope and suspended inside a giant metal frame. The archives also inspired the Canadian designer Cal Lane’s 600-pound laser-cut oil drum and the Dutch studio Demakersvan’s lace chain-link fence, now installed on the center’s grounds as part of ‘‘Lace in Translation,’’ which opened at the Design Center last month. ‘‘We’ve lost touch with making things ourselves,’’ says Boontje, who taught himself to tat using the grass growing outside his studio. ‘‘And I’ve always liked working with no-value materials. The value is all in the time you put into it.’’ How much time went into his couch? He laughs. ‘‘We had many people working,’’ he says after a pause, ‘‘for way too many hours.’’ In other words, priceless.