October 22, 2010

What's New - Trends in Fashionable Materials

Who influences whom - Fashion designers or Interior designers? Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference! The inspiration for fashion and material trends are often interchangeable. As you know, Materialista lives in the Big Apple, and at the close of International Fashion Week in New York, London, Paris, and Milan - the fashion capital of the world - I have been spotting the trends of the season on the street and in the places I go: faux fur/animal prints, the mixing of prints & patterns, and military chic.

Top reasons to love faux fur? It’s easy on the wallet, animal friendly, and oh-so-soft! Personally, I’m a sucker for anything leopard. Whether it’s a coat, a skirt, or an accessory, classic animal prints are en vogue this season. Even my 2 and 1/2 year old niece rocks her leopard leggings around town. Some of these gorgeous prints, with the plush feel, are part of a new product collection being introduced from ASI, Ornamental Surfaces. The applications are endless – feature walls, ceilings, furniture, window displays and visual merchandising elements to complement even the faux fur apparel!

The trend of mixing prints and floral patterns can be tricky, but playing with different textures and colors is all part of the fun, whether you’re getting dressed or designing a space. Balenciaga reinvented the school girl uniform this season by using a floral motif so similar to our contemporary Floral ceramic tile, where you can also mix and match tile and grout colors. When contrasting colors click, the result is an artful collage!

While shopping the stores to update my work wardrobe, I saw a military jacket with amazing silver metallic buttons that I’m dying to have. It will go with everything. And so will the Domes from the Metallic Mosaics collection that look just like those buttons! The mesh-backed tiles in edgy stainless steel and black colorations will suggest the on-trend Military look when refreshing a retail environment or creative corporate office. This style continues to reign as it marches into fall with army green jackets and coats, cargo pants and lace- up boots.

Fashion and interiors is such a hot topic, it’s the theme of this year’s IIDA Hospitality Forum – Designer Hotels! Be a part of the discussion on the influence of Fashion & Branding on Hospitality, November 15th.

October 5, 2010

What's Now: Materialista™ takes off to Santo Domingo!

Last week I had the pleasure of accompanying Nancy Jackson, the President of Architectural Systems (and my mom!), to the grand opening of our distributor’s showroom in Santo Domingo featuring Architectural Systems.  What an exciting trip!  Here’s how this collaboration came about…

 Sandra Abreu Rishavy, a talented designer with an exceptional aesthetic was surfing the web for a hospitality project, the renovation of Hotel Lina, when she discovered ASI’s website.  Not only inspired by ASI materials, our family business model was an idea Sandra and her husband/ business partner wanted to emulate in the Caribbean.

During our visit to the Dominican Republic we went to the Hotel Lina and were able to see firsthand how beautifully Sandra incorporated ASI materials into the design.  It was really amazing to see how the materials were used for such creative applications. 

I especially loved the Tropical Organic Wall Mosaic’s Circular Teak pattern used as a table top under a piece of glass in the Cigar Room.  The blue and silver Perla™ film created a continuous wave around the curved bar in the Piano Lounge and made you want to enjoy a cocktail – even at 10:00am!
The business center was surrounded with Sculptured™ panels painted a glossy white, leading you into the main restaurant ‘B delicious.’  This was truly the highlight!  Where do I begin?!  Iridescent vinyl tile on the walls, more Sculptured™ panels (painted brown) running parallel along both sides of the dining room; black and white stone mosaic tile as the bar front for each buffet station.  Tin ceilings painted silver.  And last but not least, the “iguana green” Perla™ film applied to a vinyl tile was used as the back feature wall – complimenting the lime green fabric on the chairs!  It was a fantastic experience to view this harmonious execution of finishes.

Touring each area of the property made us work up an appetite!  The Rishavys graciously welcomed us into their beautiful home for a traditional Dominican luncheon – the whole spread! Filled with rice and beans, chicken, sweet plantain, salty plantain, and (thankfully) salad.  It was authentic and satisfying. I love the 2 hour lunch concept!  Lucky for us, we got in on a great tip from Sandra’s design partner, Maggie and self- proclaimed Merengue dancer; have a big lunch and a light dinner everyday to stay fit. And, if you indulge too much, just dance longer at night!!

Now for the main event – the grand opening and ribbon cutting of the showroom!  Designers and architects, family and friends came from all over Santo Domingo for the celebration!  Nancy and I were fighting off the paparazzi.  Every newspaper in Santo Domingo was there to photograph the event (and us!).  We posed with TV personality, Jatnna Taraez (the Oprah of Santo Domingo), who was there as the master of ceremonies.  Cutting the ribbon with James and Sandra and their children was very special.  It is exciting to see another family business evolve!  We wish them the best of luck; mejor de las suertes!