Fashionable FLOR: An inside look

Who would think of pairing carpet and high-fashion?  FLOR would.

To us, it’s a natural combination.  We’re constantly scouring the globe and runways for trends and inspiration so, we thought, what better way to highlight the au courant nature of our new fall styles than to pair them with couture fashions?

While we may be fond of fashion, we’re not experts. We needed a little help to pull this off, so we enlisted the aid of a friend and former colleague, Sarah Faust.  Sarah is an accomplished graphic designer and photographer in her own right and an adjunct faculty member at Chicago’s Columbia College.  She made a few inquiries and helped us connect with Agnes Hamerlik (below), a local artist, designer and recent alumna of the school’s Fine & Performing Arts program.

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This native of Poland shares a passion for design and a philosophy that parallels ours in many ways:  an appreciation for refined elegance, timelessness and even an earth-aware consciousness (Hamerlik likes to use unconventional materials in her designs such as the re-purposed garbage bags seen in one of her dresses).

Next – where to shoot?

We wanted something raw and edgy, a contrast to the couture fashion, and a place that would allow our bold new optical graphic styles to really stand out.  Our photographer found an old furniture factory on the near South Side of Chicago.  We worked with Barron Custom Furniture to construct the platforms and sets and used their warehouse space for the photo shoot.

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We fancy ourselves humorists here at FLOR, so maintaining a bit of tongue-in-cheek was important as we set out to do our version of a fashion shoot.  We wanted to strike a balance between quirky and sophisticated …

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Using our carpet design squares in unconventional ways – like platform covers and vertical backdrops – was one way to not take ourselves too seriously.  (FLOR style shown below: Lasting Grateness in red, black and titanium)

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You might be surprised to learn that it takes nearly as long to coif carpet as it does a runway model. It’s true, there’s styling to be done, figuring out the perfect placement, trimming of errant “hairs” aka fibers, vacuuming. It’s a production, but hey doesn’t she, we mean “it” look fabulous? (FLOR styles shown below:  Lasting Grateness in red, Jimdandy in black)

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Admittedly, the model was pretty striking too. Her are a few behind-the-scenes moments as her team styles away.

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Maybe not the most glamorous changing room but a good place to strike a pose nonetheless…

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Here Hamerlik transforms common garbage bags into a stunning work of wearable art. Our model, Ellie, seems to like it “this much”!

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Below, designs from Hamerlik’s collection “Dark Flower” (which were inspired by the Mexican artist, Frido Kahlo) brilliantly juxtapose femininity with an edgy toughness – pairing delicate, hand embroidery details with unexpected accessories like leather belts or Kahlo-esque braids. (FLOR style shown below:  Positive Slant in lavender)

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The craftsmanship of Hamerlik’s designs is breathtaking – like this dress (below).  Intricate rope and knot details lend a masculine air to a decidedly feminine silhouette.

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Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on-the-wall for this conversation? Our esteemed company president, Greg Colando talks couture carpet with up-and-coming couture fashion designer, Agnes Hamerlik. They seem to be in agreement, don’t you think?

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As with any photo shoot, there is plenty of down time.  Here, our photo assistant sits in for a lighting test.  She seems a bit nervous that we might do something with these photos … oh, wait … we are!

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Agnes takes a look at the progress with our Creative Director, Marcus Wiedenhoeft.

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The critical eye that comes from many years of photo shoots and beautiful catalog production. Granted, there’s not usually fashion models involved, but he seems pretty nonplussed by that.

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In the end, we think high-fashion carpet and high-fashion make a quite nice pair, don’t you? (FLOR style shown:  Made You Look in emerald and black)

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We were delighted to work with such a bright talent for this season’s catalog and wish to thank Sarah Faust for all of her consult, assistance and introduction; Model, Ellie for her beauty, patience and professionalism; and, Agnes Hamerlik for sharing her inspired designs.

See more of FLOR’s fall 2013 collection.

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Credits: all photography, courtesy of Sarah Faust and Bruce Quist.
 
About the Designer:  
Agnes Hamerlik, is an interdisciplinary artist and designer, born in Poland. With a Master’s Degree in European Literature, BFA in Fashion Studies from Columbia College, and a number of apprenticeships with master-craftsmen, she brings variety of skills and life experiences into her work. Open to technological advances and multidisciplinary collaborations Hamerlik is interested in forging new design synthesis, safeguarded by traditions.
 
Hamerlik is defined by edgy, avant couture design and unique aesthetics brought to life by her sharp craftsmanship. Her designs are comparable to the likes of Alexander McQueen. Hamerlik is currently working and preparing to launch her own label under Chicago Fashion Incubator.  Visit agneshamerlik.com for more.
 
Intelligent design, luxury fabrics, impeccable craft and unusual detailing, define her stunning collections, which have been acknowledged by the President of Columbia College, Richard Driehaus, and Stanley Paul, among others. 

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A Day in Seattle

Traveling around visiting FLOR stores is really not a bad gig to have. The stores all have their own unique architectural character, they’re staffed by interesting folks and are located in dynamic and eclectic neighborhoods. Seattle is a personal favorite – step out the door in any direction and you’re bound to stumble across interesting shops, great eats, plenty of people watching and lots of natural beauty.

If you are in the neighborhood, we invite you to stop by the store and say hello – it’s a great corner spot with abundant light and a helpful staff that likes to have a good laugh and talk about carpet, squares -that is!  And, why not make a day (or at least an afternoon of it) – here are some of our favorite neighborhood attractions.

For the early risers, Top Pot is the spot. Hand-forged doughnuts. Good coffee and shelves full of old books. I recommend anything with applesauce or bacon. Busy spot with a line full of locals, great for conversation and line moves quickly.

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After a little caffeination and some sugar, a stroll around the neighborhood to check out some shops (after FLOR, of course) is in order. Urban Hardwoods is a short jaunt across the street and a very unique place. These are locally made pieces from salvaged hardwoods. We love the idea of using materials that would otherwise go to waste – and, the reward for your altruism? A completely one-of-a-kind design that is sure to become a family heirloom.

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In addition to the beautiful salvaged wood furniture, I think they have a very well curated selection of interesting accessories and art objects – industrial crossed with rustic.

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A few blocks away you’ll find one of the remaining architectural bookstores in the US - Peter Miller - it’s a complete classic that manages to remain totally relevant. For many, many years they were just a few doors down from the new FLOR location, this spring the store moved into an extraordinary space that is part of Suyama Peterson Deguchi architects’ space. It’s an inspiring space to visit — here are a few pics to whet your appetite – most days you’ll run into Peter and he’s great for a chat on all sorts of topics – food, architecture, the neighborhood, design, Seattle …. just remember to say hello from FLOR.

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And, a visit earns you a sneak peek into the  Suyama Peterson Deguchi space – complete with rotational art / architectural / design exhibits. It’s worth the trip.

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By now you might have earned an appetite? Serious Pie totally has you covered. Plenty of fresh, seasonal starters (heirloom tomatoes, cascade huckleberries, red haven peaches) followed by a pie that you’ll remember – interesting ingredients, a just right crust. You’ll come back, I’m definitely going to.

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Certainly Pike Place Market must be the number one tourist attraction for hundreds of miles — It’s beyond iconic – and yet, it is still so worth a visit – by tourists and locals alike. You’ll find unbelievable seafood, miles of flowers … and cheese … Beecher’s Handmade Cheese to be exact. Watch cheese production in action — it’s transfixing and if you have an appetite at all, the Grilled Cheese with Beecher’s Flagship cheese is not to be missed – Not hungry? Put it in your pocket for later, seriously, it’s  that good.

First – the market – a few shots — then Grilled Cheese.

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All this walking, shopping and exploring has most certainly earned you a beverage. I’m a fan of The Diller Room where  they can accommodate your craft cocktail or serve up a quality microbrew pint -all with local-worthy conversation.

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We’ve got plenty more ideas (Fran’s Chocolates will make you a favorite amongst family and friends, Metsker Maps is pretty classic and full of fresh ideas for any explorer, Matt’s in the Market will serve up a cocktail with a heck of a view … there’s a whole lot more … we’d love to know your favorites – please leave your comments below.

 

 

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Denmark Dorm

With the new schoolyear kicking into high gear, a unique dormatory in Copenhagen, Denmark called Tietgen Student Hall takes center stage. This 360-degree dorm comes complete with a beautiful courtyard, two music rooms, a computer room, a gym, a bike room and so much more.

The open-air design allows for students to avoid that cooped-up feeling, yet there are plenty of places to get away for studying and down time.

Students frequent the courtyard for some time with friends. or they come with bookbags fully stocked to keep them company for an outdoor study session..

Quite the break from your standard silver-box-stacked mailroom.

The 30 kitchens interspersed throughout play a central role in the community of the students. Twelve rooms are assigned to a central kitchen, allowing students to cook, eat and clean together; creating a sense of family while they’re away from home (and home-cooked meals).

It’s no secret why this project has won several prestigious awards over the years for both its design and functionality.

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DRY Soda

We are inspired by DRY Soda company headquartered in Seattle, WA.  The image above of their workspace depicts a bright, light-filled environment that has been stripped of unnecessary ornamentation, much like the product they produce. DRY Soda’s founder Sharelle Klaus set out in 2005 to create a soda that was less sweet, allowing the natural flavors to come through. She produced batch after batch of soda in her kitchen until she settled on the perfect flavors : Lavender, Kumquat, Lemongrass and Rhubarb. Since then, the line has grown to include Juniper Berry, Vanilla Bean, Wild Lime and my personal favorite, Cucumber.  The flavors are designed to be paired with food but are equally refreshing solo on a hot summer day, or as many DRY Soda enthusiasts have discovered, as a cocktail mixer.

DRY Soda’s headquarters are located in the Historic Pioneer Square neighborhood. Attached to the workspace, they’ve created a tasting room where you are invited to stop in and sample the unique flavor profiles, perhaps picking up a few four-packs to go!

We think we have a special kinship with DRY Soda – we’re both in the business of re-inventing classic products for modern lifestyles. What could be more classic than carpet and soda! We couldn’t have been more thrilled to see FLOR tiles at work throughout their inspiring space. DRY says that they love having FLOR tiles as it align’s with DRY’s values of employing sustainable business practices and using sustainably sourced products when possible. They also love the flexibility of swapping out tiles as needed – the Tasting Room gets thousands of visitors every year.

Their award winning packaging was created by the Seattle based firm Turnstyle. Interested in giving DRY Soda a try?  Well, if you are near any of our retail locations, we invite you to stop by on August 30th when we will be hosting a local designer(s) whose work incorporates the use of pattern – think textiles, wallpaper, products and more! DRY Soda has generously co-sponsored these events and you are all invited to join in on the fun (more details here).

 

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The Doors Are Open in Boston

FLOR is excited to announce the doors are officially open in Boston to our 11th national retail location.  Fresh off opening three new stores (San Francisco, W. Hollywood and Georgetown) last month, the Boston store welcomes design enthusiasts to come in and see FLOR’s bright and bold styles for the season.

Located at 236 Clarendon St. in the Newburry Corridor, the store is visually inviting with vignettes you’ll want to pick up and take home with you.

Last month we blew the doors open with a Grand Opening event that saw hundreds of people come through the store to experience FLOR for themselves.

Our Design Consultants are ready to assist you in designing the perfect flooring solution for your space, and don’t forget to ask about our In-Home Design Consultations and Professional Installation Services.

So come on in, slip off your shoes and take the ultimate “toe test” at the Boston FLOR Store.

Our hours of operation are Monday-Wednesday 10am-6pm; Thursday & Friday 10am-7pm; Saturday 10am-6pm and Sunday noon-5pm.