An article about Lisbon, Portugal (3 Perfect Days in Lisbon) I read in Horizons magazine flying back to Chicago last week made me think of an article I read last year in American Fabrics Magazine from 1953 about William Pahlmann’s Portugese fabrics from the 50’s.
The Amazing Portugal
Both articles were shouting out the beauty of Portugal (design,art, architecture, tiles) while going through their own check points of distinction. The American Fabrics magazine article is what I am referencing now because it featured well known interior and industrial designer William Pahlmann and his collection of Portugese fabrics. These fabrics were printed by Cyrus Clark in the 1950’s.
From Tiles to Fabric
The collection showed Pahlmann’s personal interpretation of Portugal (found in art objects, architecture, tiles, clothing, and people) and the fabric collection that resulted. The collection is fantastic. Not only does Pahlmann find interesting objects, he uses those things to inspire a whole new art. In other words he doesn’t just appropriate, he creates. Quoting American Fabrics Magazine…”Pahlmann was quick to realize the design potentialities of Portugese colorings, architecture, and native art objects.”
“The customer is usually wrong”
Pahlmann said that and I like him all the more for it. He also said “With the exception of psychoanalysis, there is probably no other field of civilized endeavor in which the personalitites of client and advisor are in such violent conflict or harmonious cooperation as interior decoration.”
Below left: William Pahlmann in Portugal
The color square in the middle of the below page is an actual fabric sample from the collection. This pattern was called Sintra, from a 16th Century Moorish Tile found in a villa in Sintra, Portugal.
The plaid below is a pattern called Nazare which was inspired by the plaid patterns he saw fishermen wearing in the village of Nazare.
Below Left: Pattern called Porto Dots. Below Left: Coimbra dots.
Original, traditional Portugese folk art on the left…fabric on the right.
Pattern below middle right: Ovar, Everglaze chintz fabric in typical portugese colors.
Photos are taken from American Fabrics Magazine #26, Summer 1953.