KB: Explain this process to me in Mannington.
IR: We contacted Gabriel Dawe because I was a fan of him, and because several times in design journals others had images of his installations on their moodboards.
So we contacted him and he first said, “What’s a Mannington?” Second, he said he saw a lot of neutrals on our website and told me, “I don’t know if you know, but I work with a lot of colors. “
I said, ‘This is why we are contacting you.’ We started with sketches and then moved on to prototyping. And when you are building a rug, you need to have a “threaded” thread, which refers to the specific placement of the threads on a machine. So Gabriel said, “Hey, do you mind if I tackle this? From the start, that was exactly what we needed.
Larry Bell’s collaboration was different. Gabriel said we should contact Larry, then he traveled with us to Larry’s studio in New Mexico. Then we started to work on the development of models. We flew on the plane several times to see him, showed him samples and prototypes, and he gave the blessing.
KB: Did you innovate in the field of contract floor coverings with these partnerships?
IR: Other places did. But I felt like a lot of places, competitors or whatever, would create these product stories and – this is going to sound awful – but I felt like it was a bit of a stretch. So I was like, “How do we make it authentic? And I asked our design team to start with an experiment. It’s when you are in a moment, a space. Something that could evoke an emotion. Don’t force it. Let it happen, and if it does, let’s talk about it and see if there’s anything we can get out of it.