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Alcantara, where fabric and art come together

Alcantara, where fabric and art come together, is the Italian company that, since 1972, has been producing and marketing the material of the same name, registered under the Alcantara® trademark, worldwide.

Origins of Alcantara, where fabric and art come together

The name “Alcantara”, derives from the Arabic word al-qánṭarah, which means arched bridge and probably originates, through Aramaic idioms, from the Greek κέντρον, meaning “cusp”.

The Alcantara brand

The company, located entirely in Italy, operates worldwide through two sites. The head office in Milan and the production site in Nera Montoro in the province of Terni, Umbria.

The motto that conveys the company’s mission, ‘Extraordinary Every Day’, tells of an innovative brand capable of inspiring creative connections and suggestions.

The values of Alcantara

The values that inspire Alcantara are those of loyalty, fairness, transparency and quality. The company proposes an ‘exclusive tailor-made‘ in which it becomes essential to explore the infinite possibilities offered by the material. The idea is to create multiple languages, innovative expressions and solutions to meet the customer’s specific customisation needs.

Alcantara per Toyota StileDesign stileitaliano stiledesign.it
Alcantara upholstery for the Toyota Plasma Orange 100 – Photo @Alcantara (press-kit)

Alcantara fabric type

The company’s product, as the meeting point between fabric and art, is characterised by being “a non-woven fabric” composed of 68% coagulated polyester microfibre and the remaining 32% polyurethane. The material is characterised by being 100% made in Italy, ideal for adding beauty to any surface, resistant to light and heat (also ideal for outdoor use), breathable and light.

Alcantara and environmental sustainability

The special combination of materials makes the product durable, stain-resistant and sustainable. Since 2009, Alcantara has also been‘Carbon Neutral‘ certified.

For architect and designer Piero Lissoni, “Alcantara is an amazing material (…) perfect for upholstering any seat”.

Peculiarities of Alcantara fabric

The result of a unique and innovative technology, Alcantara has the merit of covering any shape and surface, offering unparalleled aesthetic, technical and sensory performance. It thus fuses technology, functionality and emotion, presenting itself on the market as a product category in its own right.

Collaborations with brands

Over the years, Alcantara has realised prestigious collaborations with global brands operating in different spheres ofart, fashion, cars and design.

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The Alcantara-Microsoft collaboration on the Pro-Signature keyboard – Photo @Alcantara (press-kit)

In particular, Alcantara’s artistic potential has become manifest since 2006, to meet the demand of the most sophisticated and demanding business segment: the art and design market.

Alcantara as creative ‘media

The Alcantara material has become an integral part of the creative process, the very ‘media’ through which the artist expresses his creativity.

Artists are therefore asked to contribute to the creative rethinking of the brand. To“think and communicate” in Alcantara. To then dramatise their narratives, collaborating with curators and museums all over the world. To become cultural producers and create something unique and precious.

Alcantara has thus become a new inner grammar for designers, established masters and young talents alike.

Market segments

Alcantara has worked mainly in theautomotiveand thehi-tech, of luxury, of fashion and theinterior.

Collection Alcantara Lanvin StileDesign stileitaliano stiledesign.it
The Alcantara and Lanvin Capsule Collection – Photo @Alcantara (press-kit)

How an Alcantara creative project is born, where fabric and art come together

Every Alcantara creative project begins with a visit to the factory. The aim is to touch the material with one’s own hands. Beyond the entrance, a new world opens up. In the factory, artists are silent, observing and listening.

To become Alcantara, the material must constantly change state. And the renewal of matter, which, to the artists, succeeds very well.

The collaboration with the MAXXI Museum in Rome

In this context, the more than ten-year collaboration with the MAXXI Museum in Rome is of great importance. Several works made with Alcantara have become part of the permanent collection of the National Museum of 21st Century Arts.

The Alcantara Design Museum, where fabric and art come together

In 2009, Alcantara opened the Design Museum of the same name, which was created in close collaboration with curator and artistic director Giulio Cappellini.

The focus was to rethink the expressive possibilities of Alcantara, to discover how an upholstery can be transformed into form and dream. Giving new personality to objects and suggesting new functions of use.

The idea of the Design Museum by Giulio Cappellini

Cappellini’s idea was to create a neutral theatrical space where designers could exhibit their works in an ‘Alcantara key’. Designers with different signatures, cultures and traditions participated in the project.

Alcantara all'ADI MIlano StileDesign stileitaliano stiledesign.it
Alcantara at the ADI Museum in Milan, June 2022, for Design Week -Photo @Alcantara (press-kit)

The installation at Milan’s Design Museum

A recent creative installation was the one presented at the ADI Design Museum in Milan, for the Car Design Awards 2023, inspired by Lewis Carrol ‘s novel , Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, from 1871.

Through Alcantara. The Beauty of Innovation‘, is the name of the installation inaugurated on 18 April. An award ceremony organised by Auto & Design magazine, which, since 1984, has been highlighting projects that have contributed in an exemplary manner to the evolution of automotive design.

The creative installation remained on display at ADI throughout Design Week.

The meaning of the installation

The name of the installation was intended to recall the concept of crossing a border and discovering, on the other side, a wonderful world to explore and be enchanted and inspired by.

Getting to the heart of the event, the installation featured mirrored walls on which the company’s‘mantras‘, such as a vocation for sustainability and innovation, stood out. Huge interactive LED screens narrated those mantras, framing the impressive three-dimensional installation, composed of drapes unrolled and hung at various heights.

The artistic event turned into an intense sensory experience, where the material took over the space. Here, spectators were able to touch and experience the Alcantara fabric, observing the colours and textures chosen for the installation.

Laura Pagano

@Stiledesign. Reproduction reserved

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