Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Flags to Rags

Flags to Rags are kitchen towels, which feature flags of countries that no longer exist.
“Flags are among the most immediate, primal, and communicative forms of design. They are made of icons and become icons themselves,” wrote Paola Antonelli, MoMA’s senior design curator. But what happens when an icon outlives its’ time and purpose? The leftover flags are sometimes venerated, and sometimes reviled – often at the same exact time. Their function is far from clear. Our project of kitchen towels plays with this historical and cultural ambiguity.

The original set included flags of the U.S.S.R. (†1991), German Democratic Republic (†1990), and Yugoslavia (†1991). Recent controversy that surrounded the display of the Confederate flag, prompted us to add it to the Flags to Rags collection (†2015).

These cotton towels are perfectly functional. The flag iconography not only endows the cloths with an additional layer of meaning, it also challenges their suggested utilitarian usage. Flags to Rags demonstrate how critical design can enrich and subvert a conventional object’s experience.

The towels are not yet in production.