By AnnMarie Martin | Photography courtesy of West Elm
They wanted to do more than just introduce another furni- ture line. I’d say they succeeded. It only took a year from soup to nuts, but Inscape,
Designtex, and West Elm hit the Merchandise Mart in June with a 75+
piece collection of furniture systems and accessories that brings a
currently coveted residential aesthetic and mentality to the workplace
with West Elm Workspace.
However, what some of you might not know is where it all came from.
Part of the answer is the West Elm Makers Studio out of Industry City in
Brooklyn. This one-of-a-kind space, which opened just this past April, is a
virtual playground for West Elm collaborators, their in-house designers, and
even independent designers—featuring kilns, weaving looms, carpentry
area, finishing lab, and painting studio. And it was in that creative laboratory
that Designtex began to truly develop the upholsteries that would apply to
this collection. From handwoven and hand-embroidered samples to hand-painted items, these inspirational pieces helped Designtex explore new ways
of building textiles. They translated West Elm’s “aesthetic weaving voice into
a contract quality weave,” explained Jim Brett, president of West Elm.
“They feel very human,” said Susan Lyons, Designtex president, of
the upholsteries for Workspace. “You know there’s been somebody
lovingly weaving these fabrics, which is kind of an intangible thing. You
really feel the hand of the maker.”
“We’ve evolved into a very craft-rich brand,” added Brett. But further-
more, West Elm “helps people express their own personal style at home,
as [they’re] experts at mixing different aesthetics.” And they just couldn’t
find that same type of spirit in the contract furniture market when the
Inscape and Designtex partner with West Elm to
translate the retailer’s signature style into furniture
systems that address the growing needs of a
generational shift in the workforce.
inspired in large
part by West
were a contract
many of the
out of this
one-of-a-kind space in
Brooklyn, N. Y.