Pattern Foundry

This text is something I wrote for SHOWstudio, now i decided to publish it here as well. You shuld really check Pattern Foundry out.


The Pattern Foundry was conceived as an archive of decorative patterns created by artists and designers from around the world and curated by the London-based creative Richard Rhys who developed the project for almost three years since conceiving the idea in LA. Following its recent launch, the foundry has received fantastic responses. Rhys says “the project is much like a type foundry, but exclusively for decorative patterns; a place to make my own patterns and to bring together different artists and designers to make patterns from anywhere around the world." Ultimately the foundry is conceived as an ever-expanding library or pattern archive, open for anyone to discuss, license and use. The patterns can be applied to anything. Customers can license the patterns digitally or as print an evolving range of media.

The project explores playful expressions from figurative and abstract perspectives all in the form of 'patterns'. Many of these works challenge the boundaries of expectation, exploring their own processes and revealing results that surprise and delight the senses. The first pattern in the foundry is Cotton Reel, with the thread of the reels represented by different coloured squares. These colours are chosen randomly by a computer script, preventing observers from discerning a repeat pattern.

Dutch designer Wim Crouwel has created several font sets, perhaps the most famous of which is the New Alphabet of 1967, created without any diagonals or curves. This font was developed into a pattern which has never previously been released, alongside another set of Crouwel patterns based on his iconic typeface Stedelijk. By contrast Samuel Nyholmn and Jonas Williamsson from the Stockholm and London–based design trio Reala have created predominantly illustrative patterns – for example Perfectfaces, developed from research into the proportions of the perfect face.

The design trio Körner Union, formed by Swiss artists Sami Benhadj, Tarik Haywar and Guy Meldem, have created the pattern Untitled 002 in collaboration with artist Tatiana Rihs , mainly inspired by Sol Lewitt's research and drawings around cubes. Pushing the boundaries of pattern to an extreme, the New York–based artist collective Dexter Sinister have chosen to work with designs derived from ‘tincture hatches’ seen in coats of arms – with names such as SABLE (black), VERT (green) or OR (gold) contradicting their apparent monochrome palette.

The immediate future sees The Pattern Foundry working with different pattern related projects such as exhibitions, research projects and publications and is already including educational initiatives such as workshops and programs in different institutions and schools in America and Europe as well as continuing to develop and expand the current archive.

Tomas Rajnai

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