Tuesday, August 30, 2011

An Inside Look. . . Rug Design

At CMI, rug design doesn't fall into one category. 
Yes. . . we make braids. . . but trust me, the possibilities for how those braids come together are truly endless. From color, yarn type, shape, design and braid construction. . . the outcome of each design can vary significantly.
To show you, I'm going give you a bit of glimpse inside how some of these designs come together.
We'll take a look at 4 different designs and the process taken to achieve the desired style, aesthetic, color palette and design.

There are a few things to take into consideration when beginning the design process:

1. Yarn preference - polypropylene for stain resistance or outdoor placement, all natural wool, wool blend, chenille, spacedye, fabric
2. Color
3. Design - geometric, solid, multi, tweed, etc
4. Construction - flat braid, double braid, cablelock, fabricord, fabraid
5. Shape - oval, round, rectangle, square, octagon

It is important to note that none of these factors above work alone. They are all dependent on how each is used in conjunction with the other. Whether you are creating a solid colored rug that incoporates various constructions for texture in a geometric design or a  blend of various yarns and fabrics that come together to create a desired color palette, each element plays a role.

As with most design processes, there is typically an inspirational element with which to start from.
For this particular rug, I was initially inspired by the pattern seen int hese Nerokomi ceramic cups designed by Japanese artist Yusuke Aida.

Below is a drawing that follows a similar pattern and serves as a guide for manufacturing to follow.

Because of the sharp lines and geometric angles, I decided to incorporate some natural elements to break it down into something quieter. You can imagine how using deeply saturated and bright colors could have a completely different effect when using this design. The 100% natural wool yarn gives an overall soft texture and appearance, however the placement of the colors maintains some contrast allowing the design to still stand out. By then incorporating a few different textures through various braid constructions we were able to create an additional dimensional quality.

Cablelock and Flat braid in 100% natural wool

The rug is sewn first as one large piece, cut, finished on the inside edges, then pieced together, as shown here. The final finishing will be the serging of the edges.

Finished product shown in the cmi Las Vegas showroom

The criteria for this next design was that it had to be indoor/outdoor, solid neutral color with a lot of texture for interest.
To do this, we came up with a diamond style design that incorporated smaller sized diamonds throughout the rug to add a linear aspect and create a pattern. Within each diamond, we used alternating constructions for texture and dimension, but kept the pattern in sync by alternating these 2 constructions consistently throughout the rug.
Drawing of rug pattern and direction of braid

Additionally, we used a taupe colored, naturalized polypropylene yarn. This yarn is suitable for outdoor applications and through a process where the fibers are wound, the yarn is given a texturized and natural aesthetic.
Finished product

In some cases, the rug design is based on color alone.
When using our yarns or fabrics in creating a braided rug, durability is a known factor. The reality of braids having been a floor covering tradition due to their ability to withstand high traffic areas and last for generations, makes choosing a braid based only on color, completely doable and worry free.
As in the image below, where a designer used their fabric choices and paint colors to then create a coordinating rug.
A simple flat continuous braid construction combing both wool and polypropylene in green and natural will serve as the perfect floor covering to compliment the fine detail in the fabric and pick up on the more subtle colors being used throughout the space.
A flat continuous braid is best described as a hair braid, with 3 parts.
You can see the designers came up with 2 options to work with.
One option using 2/3 green polypropylene yarn, 1/3 natural wool; the other using 2/3 natural wool, 1/3 green polypropylene yarn. Even this simple change in where you place the color, can impact the entire rug and therefore overall space.
(this project is currently in the works. . . blog post soon to follow!)

Two coordinating options to work with fabrics, painted floor and wall colors.

This last design incorporates a banded style that allows for some division and clear definition of each color pattern, but requires a focus on color agreement to create a design that is attractive and coordinating.
In each band, the color combination is different and the use of this color is dependent on how it combines with the other colors in the band, as well as in the adjacent bands.
The yarn choice was chosen for its indoor/outdoor quality, as well as it's bright colors.
We wanted a fun rug that could liven up a space indoors or out.

Using a flat braid construction enabled us to play around with a lot of color.
You can see how color combination and band placement places a role in the overall design. For example, by using the lightest combination of green, yellow and white as the center band, it allows your eye to not get "caught" in the middle of the rug and adds a softness to an otherwise, not so soft rug. Keeping the boldest band on the outside with the most color gives you that defined border from which to then work inward and your eye continues to do so because of the replication of the orange color once again on an inside band closer to the center.
Below, interior designers at Wells & Fox used the same pattern and idea, however selected colors specific to their customers interior needs.

You can see how the designer chose blues, taupes, reds and some green to be used in the rug. As mentioned above, the color and band placement is important. The 2nd blue band stands out and your eye continues through the rest of the rug when it picks up the blue used in the center in another combination.
The rug, seen below in the customer's home, is used in a pool room, therefore making the use of polypropylene yarns significant so as to prevent mildew and stain. Looks great!

This is only a glimpse into some of the design possibilities!
I hope you'll be back for more. . .
Thanks for reading!


Monday, August 8, 2011

Trending Braids

During a recent flight back from designing our new showroom in Las Vegas at the World Market Center, B431, I was looking through some fashion and home magazines.
In the pages of Elle and Traditional Home, I found a few products by some of the world's top designers utilizing a new trend. . . braiding!! You can only imagine my excitement! Braids!?! ok. . .but it was pretty cool to see Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquiere and Ralph Lauren incorporating the idea of braiding into their products as a way to add texture and dimension.
Texture is a story and trend that continues to be a strong piece in the fashion and home furnishings markets. 
How we use these textures and incorporate pattern and design is what keeps it interesting.

Braided clutch - Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquiere Fall 2011. image via purseblog

Braided leather clutch - Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquiere Fall 2011. image via purseblog

Pierson Floor Lamp in Saddle Braided Leather - Ralph Lauren Home 

Braided Tote bag - Anthropologie

CMI double braid

A fun and innovative way to use texture and pattern to create some stylish new looks.
Hope you enjoyed!