Editor’s Miscellany: Variations

November 10, 2011

By Kyle Hoepner

I was at the Wakefield Design Center in Stamford this week for a special event, with talks and seminars concerning many different aspects of the trade. Dennis Reck from Schumacher introduced their new Martyn Lawrence Bullard fabric line; Heidi Holzer shared a trove of new decorative finishes (including a particularly luscious Venetian plaster with inlaid abalone veneer); Currey & Company‘s Stew Haviland explored the proper choice and placement of chandeliers and sconces; Joan Shafnacker of Thibaut showed hot new items from their line of wall coverings; and Wakefield owner and designer George Snead weighed in with beautifully creative ideas on art hanging and how fundamentally it can affect the feel of a room.

Does that sound like a lot for one day? It was definitely an intense and information-packed experience (not even including my own talk on that ever-popular subject, how to get published)–but the technical nitty-gritty was nicely leavened with glimpses of gorgeous stuff.

One thing that particularly struck me, seeing collections by several different designers in such close proximity, is how diverse are the changes that can be rung on a single decorative pattern as conceived by a range of creative people, even though in absolute terms the differences between any two designs may be relatively subtle. One example much in evidence these days is ikat patterns (and similar tribal looks with a Central Asian air). Here are a few samples from the Martyn Lawrence Bullard collection mentioned above:

“Raja Embroidery†in the sky colorway; photos courtesy of fschumacher.com

“Adras Ikat Print†in sky

“Sikar Embroidery†in flax

Another ikat (wallpaper this time) from Thibaut:

“Island Ikat†wallpaper in beige and gray; photo courtesy of thibautdesign.com

Then here’s a considerably more abstract take on the same idea from the collection Philip Gorrivan did last year for Highland Court:

Fabric from Philip Gorrivan’s “Grey Gardens†in nickel; photo courtesy of highlandcourtfabrics.com

In a similar vein are these two from Madeline Weinrib:

“Collins†ikat in hazelnut; photos courtesy of madelineweinrib.com

“Charcoal Stripe†ikat velvet (!)

Consider this Barclay Butera pillow, which manages to combine, in one fell swoop, two currently hot design tropes:

Zebra ikat pillow; photo courtesy of barclaybutera.com

Or for a more sedate pillow interpretation, try this Thai version via John Robshaw:

Aloewood decorative pillow; photo courtesy of johnrobshaw.com

See what I mean? And these are just a few of the many, many possibilities out there. I find this kind of variation play endlessly fascinating, and one of the more amazing things about the human imagination. Feel free to share some of your own favorite ikats, if you like…

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