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KUF Studio Puts a Twist On Window Blinds

KUF Studio Puts a Twist On Window Blinds

Window shade systems all operate similarly, either requiring a manual pull mechanism or a motorized system to control roller shades or a slat system for purposes of controlling light and privacy. But designer and goldsmith Kia Utzon-Frank has imagined a solution offering a higher degree of control and customizability – a cordless shuttering system for windows inviting users to create openings in shapes and patterns previously unrealizable.

The KUFtwist, formerly the Louver Twisting Comb, uses one or a series of “comb” modules arranged to move across a vertical plane and twist material individually into states of open or close as the mechanism is moved upwards or downwards. In multiples the combs can be moved into unique arrangements normally unattainable using traditional louver blinds or roller shades.


An early prototype of the KUFtwist. Image: Michael Bodiam

Kia Utzon-Frank has refined various iterations of her system throughout her career, beginning with prototypes that eventually resulted in a working marble printed installation for the Royal College of Art graduation show in 2013. She’s since collaborated with other designs like textile designer Fay McCaul to further investigate additional applications (e.g. customizable shelving for commercial display).

Most intriguing is the proposal to integrate an arrangement of automated motorized comb modules to the system, each individually controllable via app, “where you simply draw on your screen how you want the blinds to look, or you can use preset favorites, or have them change throughout the day.” With the addition of a second comb across the vertical plane, the options for patterns widens exponentially in possibilities – an open and shut case of innovation we hope to see one day reach the commercial market.

A KUFtwist screen comprised of 21,500 dichroic rods, made in collaboration with textile designer Fay McCaul, illustrates how the system is engineered to work with a variety of materials. Images by Dunja Opalko.

From Kia Utzon-Frank of KUFstudios:

My fields of interest have always been broad and varied, and I feel a compulsion to explore and learn as much as possible. I like to venture into different disciplines, genres and skill sets, and to combine aesthetics and functionality, transformation and multi-functionality.

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