JA Felt

Palace Yurt

Site specific installation
Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York City
Fashioning Felt Exhibition: March 6-Sept 7 2009

Design Objective: To pay homage to the yurt as a historic and contemporary dwelling and grand celebratory space. To demonstrate the versatility of Felt as an art form and functional fabric. Design a system that could be easily be transported and presented in a variety of venues.

Research & Proposal




Installation and Concept: The yurt, a tent-like, collapsible dwelling, covered with felt, has been home to generations of Turkic-Mongolian tribes for almost 2000 years. During the reign of Genghis Khan, yurts, utilized for their ease of mobility, enabled the royal court to accompany their leaders on military campaigns.

A Palace Yurt has been defined in the traditional Mongolian culture as a lavishly decorated Yurt, elaborate in ornamentation and design. It has also been referred to as a castle, a royal tent, and a palace abroad. It was known to be a place of grandeur and celebration, “as a traditional environment for all artistic activities, (song, dance, epic poetry and legend) and a majority of ritual festivities"
Dr Batchuluun, Felt Art of the Mongols

It seemed fitting that the FELT exhibition at the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum demonstrate the link between the historical origins of Felt and contemporary Felt ARt thought he symbolism of the yurt, synthesizing the past with the present and future of this ancient yet modern textile.

Scope: Within the conservatory, the installation will be comprised of a fully felted ceiling, walls, and bench coverings. The ceiling fabric and felted wall pieces will be held in place and supported by a structural framework designed to mirror the exiting glass support system. A transitional section at the entrance will allude to a traditional Palace Yurt canopy of the ancient Mongols. The north doorway will serve as a short exit transition in the the next room of the exhibition.