March 25, 2013 | Alex
I was lucky enough to steal a couple hours on Friday to slip over to Architectural Digest's Home Design Show. So much to discover! (Once you got in, that is. There was lots of grumbling in the snaking line outside Pier 94, where members of the public who bought tickets in advance were made to wait for 20-30 minutes in the bitter cold. This year, for the first time, they printed individual name tags for all entrants with a bar code that vendors could scan when you stopped by their booth. A nice idea for tracking interest by booth, in theory, but the fact that every single attendee had to check-in at the registration desk and wait for an individualized name tag to print was a logistical nightmare. I heard a couple people who have been attending for years swear it would be their last show.)
Since this was my first time attending, I wasn't sure what to expect. I'm not much of a textiles expert (I tend to gravitate towards art and furniture at these trade shows), so I was surprised to find myself stopping into so many textiles booths.
Here are a few stand-outs from the people behind each of my favorite booths:
Sources (clockwise from top left)
- 3' x 3'1"Najavo (CU-984), Lavender Oriental Carpets
- Hampton 10'1"x13'2" (Ref no. 2876), Nasiri
- Foil by Elastic Co.
- Fluff by Hiroko Takedo
- Google Pillow 2012, Elastic Co. via Etsy - $75
Lavender Oriental Carpets had the coolest bright orange Navajo blanket-- the weave felt like butter in your hands. I asked the price and heard "sixteen hundred." Alright, $1,600 isn't exactly in my budget for textiles, but I tucked it away as an idea for future clients. When lovely owner Lida Lavender rushed to assure me she had much more affordable Navajo blankets (one of their specialties), I started to suspect that I'd misunderstood. Yup. "Sixteen THOUSAND," she clarified. As in $16,000. Yikes. That's the second time I've made that mistake this month (the first time was inquiring about a Hans Wegner Papa Bear chair at Wyeth in Wainscott. I've resolved to stay at least 100 feet away from that store for the foreseeable future.) Lavender Oriental Carpets, unlike Wyeth, really does offer a wide range of pricing in Navajos, Kilims and many other popular varities. They do custom sizes too! Their website is really easy to navigate too-- I love the "bookmark your favorites" feature.
Nasiri specializes in Persian rugs-- it's owned by an Iranian family-- but offers a wide selection of all sorts of middle-eastern rugs. I particularly like their Modern Collection (surprise, surprise.) I didn't get a sense of pricing, but I have a feeling that they are on the higher end of the spectrum, since they're sort of an institution and a go-to among the types of designers whose work is featured in AD. The "price upon request" type of crowd.
Elastic Co. I love these guys! Have you heard of the Google pillows? They've been around a few years. Every year, Elastic Co. takes the top search terms of the year and prints them on a throw pillow. It's a pretty fascinating concept. I knew the pillows were available via Etsy, but I had no idea that Elastic Co. was also churning out amazing textile installations (like the one in fashion designer Lela Rose's loft by architectural firm Work AC.) The site-specific installations featured on their site are great eye candy, but their drapery is also worth a look. Elastic Co. make drapes for people who hate drapes (i.e. me, a devout shade fundamentalist). Their felt accordion pleat, in particular, is an intriguing way to filter light and add noise insulation without undermining a modern and minimalist decor scheme.
Hiroko Takeda's work is mesmerizing. It reminds me of the weaving equivalent of exposed joinery in woodworking-- her approach to textiles puts the construction process front and center. You can see and touch all the hours of concentration that went into the final product. Yet she somehow manages to preserve the beauty and delicacy of the raw materials. And check out what this talented lady can do with a plastic bag.