Märta Måås-Fjetterström AB is a high-end manufacturer of carpets, using mainly the rölakan flat-weave technique. The company is based in Båstad, south Sweden, since their start in 1919. For generations MMF’s skilled weavers have handwoven their wool carpets, each one taking an average of three months to complete.
The company is well known in Sweden and among connoisseurs throughout the world. Not surprisingly, their carpets sell at high prices both new and as modern antiquities at auction houses.
Märta Måås Fjetterström (1873-1941) was a designer and the founder of the company. During her lifetime she herself designed nearly all of the carpets in the catalogue, over 700. And most of these carpets are still possible to order new. But, apart from some one-off designs by contemporary artists, no new designs have ever been commissioned from outside. It was challenging, flattering and a bit out of the ordinary to be the first designers to be asked.
We were to design three new carpets. But should they follow three different themes? Or should we design one each? We chose to design them together, three different but based on the same theme.
The rölakan technique creates a sort of pixellation of squares and rectangles, not unlike the geometry of a game of tetris, but of course invented long before computers. We wanted to bring in something contemporary that would go well with the old technique. And we found the inspiration in computer-generated spectrograms.
The spectrogram is a graphic image of a composed sound. The different frequencies’ energy contents over a certain time are represented by pixels on a two-dimensional surface.
The three different carpets that we proposed are actually interpretations of the spectrograms of the sounds of: a sea trout, broadband and a satellite landing on a planet.
The spectrogram is the result of calculating the frequency spectrum of windowed frames of a compound signal. It is a three-dimensional plot of the energy of the frequency content of a signal as it changes over time.
Spectrograms are used to identify phonetic sounds, to analyse the cries of animals, and in the fields of music, sonar/radar, speech processing, etc.