The magical transformation of table mats. Tápé was the centre of Hungarian cattail production. A group of women wants to keep this traditional craft alive. They see it as part of their identity, and one they never want to lose. Setting the foundations to not only keep a tradition alive but also build an income stream, Marta Giardini transformed generic merchandise (table mats and trivets) into a small collection of iconic lamps that are full of humor and wit.
AMC, Tápé, Hungary: cattail weaving with Marta Giardini and Gabor Nagy / launched at 5vie in Milan in spring 2022 / distributed through the co/rizom sales network.
5 lamps / handmade / cattail / 98 – 40 cm height
Hungary was once the land of cattail (also known as bulrush or reedmace), a tall reedy marsh plant that lives in lakes and ponds – but climate change and rapid industrialisation have decimated its population. Yet the craft survived, albeit these days most of the cattail comes from neighbouring Romania. In the town of Tápé in southeastern Hungary – now absorbed into the regional capital of Szeged – cattail weaving is an important part of local identity.
As recently as the 1980s, some 50 percent of the townsfolk were employed in the weaving industry, mainly as part of artisanal cooperatives set up during Hungary’s postwar socialist period, but the end of Communism and the economic chaos that followed forced many artisans out of the profession. Scary Beasts is the first international collection of AMC & the first steppingstone towards a revived tradition.