Young Irish-born, London-based designer Claire-Anne O’Brien is not the first person to apply knitting to product and furniture design. But what’s particular about her work, shown recently at Designersblock during the London Design Festival, is its compelling formal quality. O’Brien creates pieces that border on highly defined sculpture, but which don’t conceal the stuff of their construction; instead they celebrate, in a humorous play on scale, the very structure of knitting.
Royal College of Art graduate O’Brien’s ‘Modular Stitch’, which wouldn’t have looked out of place in one of Joe Colombo or Verner Panton’s total living spaces of the late 1960s and early 70s, is, in essence, a magnification of the most essential of structural elements in knitting – the loop. Chenille is married with a confident colour palette to create a piece, which, with its myriad seating configurations, invites prolonged, leisurely use. Stay a while. And bring your knitting needles.