Image by Rosie Fraser
  • Kirraly Antcliff

Tonello x Ian Berry | The Secret Garden

Transforming denim into an immersive Indigo blue indoor garden overflowing with flowers, leaves, small animals and vines that conceal butterflies descending from above. The Secret Garden art installation was brought to life through a collaborative project between artist Ian Berry and garment finishing technologies company Tonello.


The installation first exhibited in New York at the Children's Museum of the Arts in 2018, and has recently been located to Kilroy Innovation Centre where it will be on display until it is relocated to its permanent location at San Francisco's Flower Mart, when the new developments are complete. A perfect connection as the blooming installation represents the flower marts long history in San Francisco as a marketplace for floral wholesalers and the long narrative of denim woven through the city since the gold rush.


Ian Berry x Tonello, San Francisco Flower Mart, 2020 Image Credit - Lawrence Anderson

The concept of a garden first transpired as Ian wanted to create a community garden for children living in New York that don’t have one of their own, as well as being a thought provoking educational display by presenting the link between the cotton plant and denim – to increase awareness to the origins of how our clothes are made.


Ian Berry x Tonello, Children's Museum of the Arts, 2018


The denim used throughout the installation was sourced from Cone Denim's White Oak mill in North Carolina, a mill that produced denim from 1905 until closing in 2017. This particular denim fabric used by Ian was some of the last denim the mill produced, connecting the community to the heritage of American made denim.


Ian Berry x Tonello, Children's Museum of the Arts, 2018

Ian Berry x Tonello, Children's Museum of the Arts, 2018

Creating fascinating depth and visual textures on the denim, Ian worked directly with Alice Tonello and the company’s specialists at Tonello’s facilities in Italy. Ian explored a range of Tonello’s responsible technologies that are widely used throughout the textile industry today by brands that are taking action to make their processes more eco-friendly and less resource intensive.


Flowers, leaves and organic shapes were cut using Tonello’s Laser Blaze, with multiple technologies from Tonello’s All-In-One System such as the ECOfree 2, Core and No Stone technology applied to create shades on the denim fabric to bring resemblance to their natural flora counterparts.


Tonello's ECOfree 2 system uses ozone both in water and air to create the sought after worn look on denim fabric, this clean technology eliminates the need for traditional chemical and resource intensive techniques such as PP spray or stone washing.


Ian Berry x Tonello, Children's Museum of the Arts, 2018

Ian Berry x Tonello, Children's Museum of the Arts, 2018

The Secret Garden installation merges art, innovative clean technologies, history and textiles in a display that represents nature.


Ian Berry x Tonello, San Francisco Flower Mart, 2020


Watch below to learn more about the inspiring collaboration between Ian Berry and Tonello.



All image credits - www.ianberry.art


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