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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Peek Behind FLOR

Since so many of you share personal FLOR Stories about your home or office, we thought we’d share one about ours. A common question we find ourselves answering almost daily is “Where is FLOR located?”

Our office sits in the West Loop of downtown Chicago, just blocks from the hustle and bustle of Union Station, the restaurants on the river and the rumble of the El train.

After moving around a bit, we found our permanent location in the Spring of 2010 and when we arrived to start designing our office, we were met with a blank canvas.

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The 8th FLOR Series: Greg Colando & Chip DeGrace

Talk to just about any employee here at FLOR and they’ll all tell you that there is a definite family vibe in our offices.  We are still small enough that everyone is into everyone else’s business (in a good way) and we have fun doing what we do.  We are all motivated by a shared vision and goal for the company and a true belief that what we’re doing has the power to change the way people live (for the better).

This collaborative, entrepreneurial spirit starts at the top, with the two men who have most shaped this company:  our president, Greg Colando, and creative leader, Chip DeGrace.  Both have worked in this industry for 20+ years and both are extremely passionate about FLOR.

We recently sat down with both of them, as part of our 8th FLOR Series, to get their thoughts on FLOR and its future.  Here is a (relatively) uncensored look behind the business and creative visionaries of FLOR.

Oh, and it’s important to note – we did not stage or influence the Odd Couple-inspired dialogue and exchanges you’re about to witness (the banter and sentence finishing serves as evidence that these two are indeed close friends and long-time colleagues).

The 8th FLOR Series presents, Greg Colando and Chip DeGrace:

 

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Behind the Scenes: 2011 Fall Catalog Shoot

The new Fall FLOR catalog is in homes today.  Here are some snapshots behind the scenes of this season’s catalog shoot.

Sometimes all it takes to create a totally unique look is a change of perspective.  Here, our designers used three hues of House Pet and simply slid every other square off-center to create a brick pattern.  The end result is dramatic yet really easy to achieve.

From a higher vantage point it becomes easier to see the shift.  Download this rug map to create a brick pattern of your own.

Final catalog shot:

Our designers started with this cool configuration of the runner on the back cover featuring our new style, Reverb

… but, the we love the final shot just as much.  Both include ½-cut tiles to create a unique checkerboard or interlocking sort of design.  Plus, the color combination is a knock-out.

Final catalog shot:

The bright green painting was the focal point of this room, so our designers chose to play off that piece to create this multi-colored patchwork rug in Toy Poodle.  It serves as this season’s page 2-3 editorial feature, and helps to illustrate simple FLOR math:  square + dot = rug.

… last-minute primping of the model before the final shot for the page 2-3 editorial spread.

Final catalog shot:

We just love the cool and serene blend of blues in this rug, which uses House Pet to add some texture and pizzazz to the room.

Final catalog shot:

To create the magic you see in the catalog each season truly takes a village.  Our team does everything from producing the props (yummy baked cupcakes)…

… to critiquing each shot for composition and lighting, making sure it is just right…

… to entertaining the talent between takes (with kids, that can be a handful!).

Final Catalog Shots:

Sign-up to get your copy of our catalog or shop our new Fall Collection.

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Behind the Scenes: Nursery photo shoot

We were lucky to have plenty of adorable babies on hand (thanks to what some might call a “FLOR baby boom” last year) to serve as models for a recent nursery photo shoot here in our offices.  Even though they may work at FLOR, these moms (and dads) are sold on the soft, practical ease of FLOR squares for their homes and their baby’s nursery.

While the office was a buzz cooing at our talent for the day, our design team went to work creating FLOR nursery look #1.

We love the wall decal our stylist chose.  It was a cinch to apply and easily comes off without ruining the paint, so you can use, re-use or add to your decal design any time you want.  We love the sleek, modern crib and the cool rocker (a vintage Eames Shell chair).  The teddy bear is vintage and totally adorable.

Everyone had a great time … and we got through the entire day without a single meltdown (thankfully)!

We wanted to keep everybody happy, so there were lots of quick “snack breaks”.  Our “model”, Miles, looks like he’s enjoying himself immensely.

Our design team used Toy Poodle to create a colorful patchwork design – perfect for boys or girls – with flexibility that can grow with your newborn into their toddler years, the tweens and beyond.

Toy Poodle is cushy and soft, which is an important consideration when choosing any kind of floorcovering for a baby’s room.  You don’t want something hard or bristly on those tender knees!

We love the final look.  It’s colorful, cozy, inviting and sophisticated enough to blend with the rest of your well-appointed home.

We created three other baby room designs that day.  Here are the results from those:

Look #2:  You probably wouldn’t think to put an Oriental rug in a baby’s nursery given what can happen.  But, FLOR’s version of Oriental means you don’t have to worry about messes or ruining an heirloom.  Shown here is Reoriented in pink.

 

Look #3:  We went with Modern Mix in blue to create a serene room for Camden.  It’s our version of a solid, updated.

Look #4:  A field of green in two textures is a look that you can only do with FLOR.  We mixed the plush shag of Rake Me Over with the clean look of Feelin’ Groovy for a textural twist.


Credits:  All cribs, dressers and bedding supplied courtesy of eco-minded Argington.  (We used a mix from their Sahara and Bam collections, both available in either ebony or white finish).  Wall decal and mobile from Land of Nod. Eames rocker from Pegboard Modern.  The teddy bears are vintage; the pink elephant comes from Soft Goods Design; and, the owl belongs to Miles.

 

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