F5: Gina Nadal Shares a Favorite Movie, a Memorable Project + More

When Gina Nadal fell in love with textile weaving – the mathematical thinking, the color and design opportunities, and the traditions and cultures behind it – she fell hard. The Manchester-based Catalan designer was first introduced to the practice during her undergraduate studies in Arts and Design at Escola Massana, but she would take it much further.

“I explored various disciplines, from product design to painting. In one unit, I had to explore sculpture, jewelry, and textiles. Initially, none of these resonated with me until my textile lecturer encouraged me to try weaving,” Nadal admits. “But weaving became an instant passion, offering a unique language of expression through colors, yarns, and textures.”

After graduating in 2014, she went on to receive her MA in Fashion Graphics from Manchester School of Art in 2015, exploring ways to synergize weaving with digital coding in order to create products that hold emotional value for their owners.

Upon finishing her MA, Nadal received a fully-funded PhD scholarship from Manchester School of Art to develop an idea that would eventually turn into her business: Woven Memories. There, she was able to research the co-design process of woven textiles, the interaction of people with online interfaces, the sensory perception of natural fibers, and the importance of text and messages.

Woman smiling, sitting cross-legged in front of a weaving loom in a workshop setting.

Gina Nadal

“My research focused on integrating emotional experiences into woven textiles through the use of digital coding and sensory perception as co-design tools,” Nadal explains. “This academic journey has not only defined my identity as a weaver but has also shaped the values of my textile studio: tradition, innovation, and sustainability.”

Once her studies were complete in 2022, Nadal made Woven Memories official, putting the skills she’s spent years developing, alongside the knowledge of historical and technical connections of code, to work. The textile studio specializes in creating personalized, hand-woven fashion and homeware accessories in-house. Nadal does this by turning people’s text into a pattern, giving them an active role in the process, and thereby creating a lasting bond between the owner and the end piece.

When it comes to ideas, Nadal swears by Post-it notes and has for nearly eight years. “My studio, agenda, books, and notebooks are all decked out with these colorful notes. It helps me move things around and see how ideas connect,” she says of how the various colors and shapes work well with visual thinking. “While the downside is occasional misplacement, the bright side emerges when I find them again. The ideas feel fresh, and I’m ready to dive back in.”

Today, Gina Nadal joins us for Friday Five!

Illustration of a silhouette of a person with short hair and large earrings, seated and resting their chin on their hand, dressed in striped attire. "The New Yorker" text at the top with the date September 27, 2021.

Composed, The New Yorker, 2021, by Malika Favre

Malika Favre skillfully utilizes positive and negative space as well as color to craft bold, striking illustrations of women. Her minimalistic approach serves as an inspiration for me to incorporate into my own practice, telling stories with the utmost simplicity. If I were to pick one of her works, it would be The New Yorker illustration from September 27, 2021. The black and white striped dress seamlessly blends with the background, and the female figure imparts a sense of perspective in a 2D format. Additionally, the powerful and inspirational pose of the woman suggests the work of French sculptor Rodin, particularly his iconic piece, The Thinker (1904). However, instead of Rodin’s self-reflecting pose, she’s contemplating the surrounding world.

A modern living room with a white sectional sofa, a textured white rug, and a wooden staircase leading to an upper level. The space also includes a wooden dining area and a partially visible kitchen.

Little Field of Flowers, 2006, designed by Tord Boontje for nanimarquina

Nani Marquina, a renowned Catalan rug designer, has collaborated with diverse artists and designers, injecting fresh ideas into our homes. I’ve always admired her work, especially her creative take on traditional handwoven rug techniques. Now that I’m running my textile studio, I appreciate her dedication to sustainability and ethical production. The first rug that caught my eye was the captivating Little Field of Flowers, a collaboration with Tord Boontje. The use of felted flower shapes brought the design to life, sparking my keen interest in rugs and challenging my idea of what a rug meant and its purpose.

Two people converse surrounded by a large pile of pink boxes with blue ribbons labeled "Mendl's". One wears a blue uniform and hat, and the other has a braided hairstyle and beige coat.

The Grand Budapest Hotel, 2014, Wes Anderson \\\ Photo: Courtesy of IMDB

The Grand Budapest Hotel holds a special place as one of my favorite films. Everything, from the cinematography and characters to the actors, plot, and costumes, captivates me with each viewing. The film is rich in details that transport me to an imaginary world that feels remarkably tangible and real. My goal is to translate the essence of intangible thoughts into tangible products. Additionally, the vibrant color palette from Wes Anderson’s film consistently finds its place on my mood board whenever I’m designing a new product. As a fun fact, I’m currently in the process of weaving a scarf for myself, drawing inspiration from the distinctive pink and blue hues featured in this film.

A white wall displays shelves of white ceramic vases. A stepladder stands to the right, with tools and equipment on the floor below.

Apparatu: Lesson, 2012, Apparatu

To this day, the Lesson by Apparatu project from 2012 continues to captivate me. I’m drawn to the beauty of a product’s creation process, and the story behind it enhances my admiration. In this particular work, the designer embarks on a journey to master the art of throwing a vase, using a reference as a guide. The project showcases every attempt, from the initial one (top left) to the final iteration (bottom right), where the designer achieves the intended shape. It beautifully encapsulates the learning process of a craft, celebrating the allure found in mistakes, the pursuit of improvement, and the unwavering perseverance required.

A grand lobby with an ornate, colorful domed ceiling, marble floors, arched doorways, and a large chandelier. A blurred figure is walking in the center of the space.

Fisher Building: Fisher Building,1928, Albert, Khan \\\ Photo: Gina Nadal

My parents moved to Michigan in 2012, and consequently, I have spent a considerable amount of time in the United States, having lived there for a year. When I visit Detroit, I tend to go to the Fisher Building, and each time, I am enthralled by the intricacies of its architectural craftsmanship. Dating back to 1928, this building stands as an exemplary piece of Art Deco, showcasing meticulous design from the entrance and lobby to the lifts. The skillful utilization of diverse materials (marble, ceramic, and metal) and techniques (mosaic, murals, and sculpture) seamlessly complement one another. The building itself evokes a sense of going back in time, and I can stare at the walls and ceilings for hours, never getting enough.



Work by Woven Memories:

A stack of patterned pillows rests on a pink and green striped box, with a blush pink keyboard and orange power brick connected by lavender and orange cables in front.

Woven Memories, Long Encoded Personalised Cushions \\\ Photo: LauraLaura Studio

Two square pillows with pixelated designs on a multicolored background; one pillow is green and purple, and the other is yellow and white.

Woven Memories, Mini Encoded Personalised Cushions \\\ Photo: LauraLaura Studio

Close-up of a beige patterned cushion with a brown leather tag and a red cord on a light purple surface.

Woven Memories, Long Encoded Personalised Cushions \\\ Photo: LauraLaura Studio

Close-up of a cushion with an orange and dark red pattern and a light blue cord placed on top. A small tag with decorative text is sewn onto the cushion. The background is light purple.

Woven Memories, Long Encoded Personalised Cushions \\\ Photo: LauraLaura Studio

A person with brown hair is wearing a light blue coat and a red and beige patterned scarf. They are facing away from the camera.

Woven Memories, Long Encoded Personalised Scarf \\\ Photo: Huw Wahl

An orange and white patterned scarf with fringe detailing on its edge.

Woven Memories, Long Encoded Personalised Scarf \\\ Photo: Huw Wahl

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