At associated architects Marjan Hessamfar & Joe Vérons the picture in the meeting room is unique like any other work of art, but it is also painted on a very unusual base. It is not on canvas or paper, but on Aeria* the sound transparent fabric that has been knitted by Texaa in south-west France for 40 years.
It’s about this picture…
An acoustic panel used as the base of a work of art
In this architects meeting room, your eye settles on a series of black patterns on an ochre background, whose irregularity tells they are man-made. There are also a few accidents that start you thinking. It is a picture on the wall, but it is also an artefact that would not have come about if certain people had not got together to turn an acoustic panel into a work of art. Is the base of any importance when it is a work of art? In this case it is, because it contributes to the art work’s meaning.
It’s about this picture
At associated architects Marjan Hessamfar & Joe Vérons the picture in the meeting room is unique like any other work of art, but it is also painted on a very unusual base. It is not on canvas or paper, but on the sound transparent fabric of an acoustic panel made by Texaa.
It’s about an encounter
That of an artist, Philippe Jacques, with the architect Marjan Hessamfar and the managers of Texaa.
The people in this story first met at the Dartois Gallery in the Chartrons quarter of Bordeaux in 2008. Philippe Jacques, also an architect and one of the founders of the arc en Rêve architecture centre was displaying his artistic works here for the first time: a set of pen and ink drawings all the same format in which “dots, lines and areas invade space”.
Texaa’s founder loved this work. The company was seeking how with its architectural fabrics and acoustic products, it could offer a wider and wider diversity of options for designers, including decorative possibilities. He therefore asked Philippe Jacques to use around ten of his drawings to create small black and white sets, printed onto the very distinctive (patented) knitted fabric that encases and defines the Texaa acoustic panels.
At the same time, Marjan Hessamfar of Marjan Hessamfar & Joe Vérons associated architects saw in these drawings a connection with her own work, in which the concept of rhythm is so strongly represented: “our architecture uses black a lot to reveal or conceal”. One of the drawings in particular had great meaning for her: “I used the catalogue to show how in this drawing it’s good and important to have rhythm, but that the rhythm is revealed by the accident”. She spoke a lot about it with colleagues and even mentioned it at a conference, which the artist was attending, who discovered live what she thought.
It’s about a commission
A few years passed and when the architects refurbished their new offices in 2017, the usual array of questions was raised about the project to be carried out in an old building (a mansion in Bordeaux’s old town. One important discussion was around the acoustics of a large meeting room. Marjan Hessamfar remembered Texaa’s black and white sets, but the patterns, sizes and technical specs didn’t meet her requirements.
So, her only remaining solution was to commission an original work from the artist, which is what she did.
None of the techniques used previously were suitable for a unique work of art. Quite soon, once the panel had been chosen for its colour, dimension and future acoustic properties, it became quite obvious that Philippe Jacques should paint directly onto the knitted fabric, “simply for practical reasons”, explains Matthieu Demptos, Texaa’s managing director. For Philippe Jacques, drawing is usually an exercise of intimate reflection, but he had to go and work for two days in the Gradignan workshop, just outside Bordeaux, amongst the people and machines that manufacture Texaa products: “It was a great experience working alongside them, because they understand how my work is like a craft, just as theirs is”. It took him two days and 10,000 applications of acrylic paint on his stencils.
Texaa’s product team and designer worked together to dream up a special frame and fixing system for the picture. The panel can breathe thanks to a surrounding space in the wooden frame, rather like the hollow joins that the architects Marjan Hessamfar & Joe Vérons include in their designs.
When the panel was dry, it was packaged and despatched. It was hung in place in two steps: first the frame was fixed to the wall, then the panel was fitted inside it.
And its life as a picture began…
Who would have guessed that it is also an acoustic panel and that not only does it display thoughts and dreams, but it also soaks up words, shouts and laughter?
Today it just hangs there on that wall…
C’est l’histoire d’une réalisation
Quelques années passèrent. Lorsque l’agence d’architecture réaménagea ses nouveaux bureaux en 2017, se posèrent bien entendu de nombreuses questions habituelles pour un tel projet dans un bâtiment ancien – un hôtel particulier du vieux Bordeaux – et notamment, celle du traitement acoustique d’une grande salle de réunion. Marjan Hessamfar se souvint alors des « Noir & Blanc » de Texaa mais ni les modèles, ni les tailles, ni les spécifications techniques ne correspondaient à son souhait.
Restait la solution de commander une réalisation unique à l’artiste. Ce qu’elle fit.
Aucune des techniques précédemment utilisées n’était adaptée pour un produit unique. Assez vite, une fois le panneau choisi quant à sa couleur, sa taille et aussi ses futures performances acoustiques, il devint évident que Philippe Jacques devrait peindre directement sur le tissu tricoté, « pour de simples raisons pratiques » explique Matthieu Demptos, directeur de Texaa. Lui qui a plutôt l’habitude de dessiner comme on mène une réflexion intime, Philippe Jacques alla s’installer à l’atelier de Gradignan, juste à côté de Bordeaux, durant deux jours, au milieu des personnes et des machines qui fabriquent tous les produits Texaa : « ce fut une belle expérience de travailler parmi eux qui comprenaient mon travail, artisanal, comme le leur ». Il lui fallut deux jours et 10 000 coups de tampons de peinture acrylique sur ses pochoirs.
Pour l’encadrement et la fixation, quelques échanges entre le bureau d’études et le designer de Texaa ont conduit à la réalisation d’un système spécifique. Dans le cadre en bois, le panneau respire grâce au vide dont il est bordé qui n’est pas sans rappeler le joint creux pratiqué par les architectes Marjan Hessamfar & Joe Vérons dans leurs réalisations.
Une fois séché, le panneau fut emballé et transporté. L’accrochage se déroula en deux étapes : le cadre fut d’abord fixé au mur puis le panneau y fut enchâssé.
Commença alors sa vie de tableau.
Qui devine qu’il est également un panneau acoustique et qu’il ne porte pas seulement les pensées et les rêves mais qu’il absorbe aussi aussi les paroles et les cris et les rires.
Aujourd’hui il est là, accroché sur ce mur.
*Aeria textile transonore selon un brevet exclusif Texaa
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