5 Under 40 Awards: Kate Sterling
August 26, 2015
Text by Erin Marvin
Meet Kate Sterling one of New England Home’s 2015 “5 Under 40” winners.
Photograph by Bruce Rogovin all other photography courtesy of AKDO
A naturally curious child drawn to natural curiosities, Kate Sterling collected pebbles on the playground and spent her allowance on small pieces of marble, amethyst, and quartz.
Sterling still works with the natural stones she’s always loved, now as head of product development and marketing at Bridgeport, Connecticut-based AKDO, where she develops intricately beautiful tile products used in custom homes, commercial spaces, and designer show houses such as Kips Bay. Her designs have generated plenty of buzz in the industry and in publications such as Traditional Home and Elle Décor.
Although she’s already designed more than 700 tile products for AKDO, each of Sterling’s collections is unique. Sources of inspiration are as organic as her material choices: patterns, colors, and textures she sees in everyday life. The Fabric Collection found its focus in bespoke menswear fabrics; interlocking circle patterns seen on a trip to Turkey became her muse for the Eternity Collection. Her newest line, Origami, is more modern, with hexagonal and triangle patterns that are cut in a way that makes it look like the stone is folding in on itself.
“AKDO supports me in many ways, and one is letting me try new things,” says Sterling. “We own our own factories, so I have a great relationship with the mosaic artisans who are putting together these products. I’ll go to Turkey and work with them, and while I’m there I can explain what I was trying to do. They’ll translate that and it becomes a collaborative, cool thing.”
The winners of New England Home’s “5 Under 40” award will be feted at a lively cocktail party at the Landry & Arcari Rugs & Carpeting Boston showroom on September 10. A highlight of the event will be the auctioning of custom hand-woven rugs designed by each of the “5 Under 40” winners. The rug that Sterling designed was inspired by the naturally occurring patterns found in nature. “Each piece of blue agate used for inspiration in this design was cut from a geode with its own unique composition, made up of crystals, striations and varied translucency. Hexagonal tessilations like the one used in the rug design have been used for centuries to adorn mosques and cathedrals, but can also be found in humble places like honeycombs. By combining the stunning characteristics of natural stone with ancient pattern, my design pays homage to the tie between decorative forms made by man and the splendor created by mother earth.”