Bringing the “Outside In”: The Making of an Interactive Fiber Wall in BNIM’s New Workplace

The fiber art installation is the first thing you notice upon entering BNIM’s new Kansas City office. “Outside In” was designed and created by Sally Linville, the creative director and founder of The City Girl Farm; her mother and fellow fiber artist, Susan Ebright; and BNIM interior designer, Carly Pumphrey. The biophilic design brings the natural world into the BNIM workplace through nature-inspired warm colors and sheep’s wool.

The design of the fiber wall aligns with the shared vision of both The City Girl Farm and BNIM — embracing what nature provides artists and designers. The artwork is comprised of two components: felt panels and a yarn curtain.

The concept and proportions of the two panels were inspired by the wall of windows along BNIM’s office entrance, prevalent throughout the 1970s Edward Larrabee Barnes-designed Pershing Buildings. Their design is also analogous to windows as a view into nature. They are each hung on a rod and then backlit with Nanoleaf light technology, further playing along with window concept. The light also adds a contemporary quality to The City Girl Farm’s traditional fiber sculpting practices.

Carly spent numerous hours in the evenings experimenting with lighting

The panels were felted from white Merino wool by a large team at The City Girl Farm studio. The felting process of hot water, soap, and agitation was completed in one day; however, a few more days were required to dry, pull, and shape the panels.

The yarn curtain, on the other hand, was handspun by Susan, who worked independently on this portion of the project. She laboriously created each strand for the curtain, which was inspired by another fiber artist, Nike Schroeder, and her work with threads.

The colors of the yarn were strategically selected to form a gradient — from white to golden yellows to BNIM orange. A few blues were also integrated to help the warm colors of nature coordinate with the cool colors of the office. Susan also included a sampling of pink yarn to honor the life and memory of Madeline McDowell.

The intention of the artwork is to draw people toward color and texture on an interactive level. The yarn curtain was intentionally placed at the entrance, and over a frequented closet door, to promote art interaction with people in the workplace and visitors. It is centered on collaboration, and improving and elevating the human experience.

Posted to Medium.