What do the dwarf Rhino, armoured boar, blushing sloth, flying coral fish and the dodo bird have in common? Yes, they are all extinct! And the memories of these creatures – washed from the face of the earth – have now been perpetualised in the “Museum of Extinct Animals”, one of three presentations by Dutch furniture company Moooi for the recent Milan Design Week 2018.
10 exotic extinct creatures including the blooming seadragon and calligraphy bird inspire the collection. Moooi’s co-owner and art director, Marcel Wanders reveals: “We searched museums around the world and found the most incredible drawings of bygone animals, documented by explorers on their travels. So much of what has lived is lost and can still only live in our memories and imagination. For Moooi, the “Museum of Extinct Animals” became an inspiration.”
Based on the drawings, the team has created designs for surfaces, which includes fabrics, leathers, wallcoverings and carpets – depicting both literal and abstract representations of the bygone animals.
Moooi creates the impression of fur, plumage and skin in a series of luxurious wallpapers. Patterns that are based on the colour palette and texture of the animals are illustrated on the wallpapers using selected materials including suede, paper, jute and moiré textiles.
For instance, the wallpaper featuring the aristo quagga, a creature that resembles a zebra, the leitmotif is intended to reference the animal’s delicate features and royal appearance of brown gridded texture with soft black markings. The blushing sloth is portrayed with greyish brown swirls to represent its soft fur.
Bringing a contemporary twist to the collection, Moooi also put together a series of carpets featuring striking patterns, colours and compositions. Each pattern is inspired by the characteristics of one animal and narrates a story that stimulates the senses through the use of 3D illusions and symphonies of shapes.
For the fabrics, the Dutchman dives into the world of textiles and leathers to discover the natural qualities and feel of diverse materials. Expect plush materials like high pile cotton velvet, treated leather, mohair and fluffy fur; immersing your fingers into the extinct animals’ soft furs, fissured skin and silky plumage.
“We not only embody the extinct animals’ looks and textures but also their tactual feel. Their organic structures, extreme softness and roughness, as well as the geometric patterns are reminders of the wonders of nature,” elaborates Wanders.
Essentially; the complex, almost surrealistic wall prints invite you to lose yourself in the rich, luxuriant forest and let your eyes wander within dreamy, vibrant and striking landscapes.
Wanders concludes: “We want to share our excitement, wonder and love, and try humbly, against our better judgement to hold on to what is lost and celebrate it coming back alive again.”