July 17, 2024


Body and Interior

The Nick Cave Collection Offers an Unexpected Take on Textiles

The Nick Cave Collection Offers an Unexpected Take on Textiles

Unexpected collaborations are always the most exciting – and we certainly didn’t expect to see KnollTextiles team up with Nick Cave on a new collection. The Nick Cave Collection celebrates the American artist and educator’s creative process with four upholsteries, three draperies, and three wallcoverings. Each offers a fresh take on the textile experience. In this case, the products don’t represent the end of the design process, but the beginning. Consumers get to decide what’s next – always Cave’s biggest question – what’s created with these patterned textiles?

While Cave works across both the visual and performing arts, he’s likely best known for his Soundsuits. These can best be described as dimensional textiles created through the use of layering, rearranging, and transforming everyday objects such as beads, doilies, sequins, and synthetic hair. His Soundsuits are the main inspiration behind The Nick Cave Collection.

collection of neutral hued fabric samples on a white background

“It was an immediate ‘yes’ when asked to collaborate with KnollTextiles because of their pioneering work’s role in my own development while at Cranbrook Art Institute. Textiles are central to much of my work, and I love how they influence space and the people who connect with them. This collection is another way for people to access my art and share energy,” says Cave.

three colorways of an open weave upholstery pattern


Guise layers multiple techniques and materials, similar to Cave’s process when building the surface of a Soundsuit. The top layer is space-dyed twisted novelty and chenille yarns, while a unique finish process creates the puckering effect visible below the top layer, tying together the color and textures.

Guise inspiration

two rolls of wallcoverings laying on top upholstery patterned in warm hues and vertical strokes


Cave’s installation, Architectural Forest, inspired Vert. The upholstery pattern was developed from a specific section of the artwork he had in mind. The multicolor (27 yarn colors per colorway!), variegated full-width repeat is full of the perfections and imperfections his work celebrates.

Vert inspiration

a rainbow of sherpa-like fabric on a white background


Puff, likely the most fun of the upholsteries, is a cozy faux shearling that’s available in 13 colors. It’s based off of Cave’s rainbow-colored synthetic hair Soundsuit. With the current sherpa trend, the possibilities for creating with this upholstery are limitless. (How badly do you want to wear this?!)

Puff inspiration

two dark blue patterned fabrics


Doily adapts one of Cave’s maximalist-or-bust pieces into an equally maximalist upholstery surface. This pattern uses two types of embroidery techniques at different scales that are layered over a woven ground that features yet another pattern. The result is highly visual, multidimensional, and tactile.

Doily inspiration

two colorways of fabric in a print of shirt butttons


Cave visits antique markets across the country to find one-of-a-kind objects for his work, and vintage buttons are a favorite that can often be found on Soundsuits. KnollTextiles created a drapery using them, named Button, on Trevira CS Polyester with a natural gradient pattern of light to dark.

Button inspiration

neutral hued collection of fabric with a pattern resembling wires on white background


Organic and open, Until was inspired by one of Cave’s large beaded web-like installations. Skilled embroiderers translated the 3D piece onto a water-soluble ground that leaves behind a two-toned open drapery once dissolved. The structural component remains throughout, adding the final touch.

Until inspiration

neutral tone wallcovering sample resembling straw


Soundsuits are created for movement as well as performance, much like drapery. Heard features details that mimic hand-sewn beads, buttons, and appliques found on Cave’s works and the meticulousness used to bring each Soundsuit to life. For this design, five ribbon colors are cut, applied, and sewn ribbon by ribbon and row by row.

Heard inspiration

textile pattern of realistic beaded flowers

Big Floral

A beaded Soundsuit was the inspiration behind KnollTextile’s first-ever floral wallcovering: Big Floral. Exuding joy, it features an exaggerated scale of flowers with lots of energy and attention to detail. Practically a mural, it’s full of movement, dimension, and depth, digitally-printed on a bleach cleanable, PVC-free ground with Type II properties and a beaded texture emboss.

Big Floral inspiration

colorful fur-patterned wallcovering samples


Cave’s installation, Architectural Forest, inspired Forest. It captures the vibrant colors and abstract movement by using a ground technique with a warp lay, where the warp yarns are laid flat and laminated to a non-woven substrate. Then, a transfer print is applied to the surface. It allows for an astonishing amount of vibrant colors.

Forest inspiration

subtly colored reams of fabric upholstery with a pattern resembling bunched wire


Soft yet hard, Wire found its inspiration in Cave’s metal and bead tondo sculptures. Digitally-printed textured fur is rendered in matte ink on a metallic mylar ground to capture the strong contrast. The printing technique allows just enough of the metallic base to show through so that it emulates the luster of the original sculpture.

Wire inspiration

To learn more about The Nick Cave Collection, visit knoll.com.

Kelly Beall is senior editor at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based graphic designer and writer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, and enjoys sharing her finds with others. When undistracted by great art and design, she can be found making a mess in the kitchen, consuming as much information as possible, or on the couch with her three pets. Find her @designcrush on social.