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With pockets full of color inspiration stitched together using Mexico's energetic cultural threads, Brintons Americas Senior Designer, Kathryn (Katie) Nerhbauer, returns from a warm week of travels. Katie shares with us her vibrant Mexican experience and the palette she brought back home as a souvenir. 

It’s always refreshing to travel to a new place and witness the vivid spectrum and unfamiliar combinations of colors. My trip to Playa Del Carmen and Tulum, Mexico was indeed restorative – full of history, natural beauty, and culture.

We visited the ancient Mayan archeological site of Tulum and wandered around ruins overlooking a cliff on the Gulf of Mexico. I was inspired by the many different natural textures from eroded limestone, to tropical foliage, to white sand beaches and sparkling crystal blue water.

Back in Playa Del Carmen, we got to take in the modern beach lifestyle. Seeing traditional craft techniques re-imagined in contemporary design applications like embroidery, mosaics, woodworking, and painting, challenged the way I view standard pattern practices.

The best part about traveling is experiencing another place's "normal" for the first time. Everyday things like mosaic tile, flowers, or even eroded rock can seem mundane, but when you look at them from a fresh perspective they become inspiring.

October color story inspired by Mexican mosaics and resilient ruins.

Trend Story: Autumnal Equinox

22nd September 2017

Inspired by the first day of fall in the northern hemisphere, Autumnal Equinox, celebrates natural shifts in color, organic textures, fallen foliage, and shadowy silhouettes.

"You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen." – Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Left to right: L6176, 1-TB008, P1382, A010531, B1210

Explore the trend story, experiment with color, and see the designs in various room scenes on our Design Studio Online (DSO)

Inspiration comes from all realms of the human experience. In this instance, its an immersive installation of kinetic sculptures and giant puppets created by emmy-winning artist Wayne White that's sparking our interest. We followed Johnny Massey, Brintons Americas VP of Operations, on his recent trip to Wayne-O-Rama in Chattanooga, TN. 

Taking in the quirky cardboard and wood sculptures was a nostalgic trip back to a time of Saturday morning cartoons. The enormous size and detail of the pieces made you slow down and appreciate the intricacies and time it must have taken to create this amazing art. My favorite parts of the installation were the tiny whimsical characters sprinkled throughout; from a group of small road workers on Lookout Mountain, to a baby black bear behind a bush, to the miniature elf overlooking a waterfall, that made me want to carve out time to create.

From a distance this sculpture looks like a simple vintage TV with a flat painted screen, but as you inch closer you can see that it’s actually a three dimensional interactive piece. The shades of grey make the plywood sink back in time to when reality TV was wholesome, educational and interesting. As you exit the exhibit, you can actually pull a lever to make Bob’s arm wave good-bye.

Bob Brandy, star of the Bob Brandy Show, is a character from a 60’s children's program about a singing cowboy, his wife Ingrid and horse, Rebel. Apparently, Ingrid was murdered in their home and a killer was never named.

Wayne-O-Rama highlights the area's notables with large-scale cardboard sculptures. Pictured left to right; John Ross, Nanyehi (English: Nancy Ward), and Mary Walker are a few figures that helped shape Chattanooga's story.

Nancy Ward was a beloved woman of the Cherokee, meaning she was a decision maker and attended council meetings with chiefs and other beloved women. In the Battle of Taliwa, Nancy Ward chewed bullets for her husband while lying behind a log with hopes the jagged edges would inflict more damage. When Nancy's husband died, she picked up his rifle and continued the fight, granting her people a victorious battle against the Creeks.

This painted plywood landscape is inspired by Chief Dragging Canoe and his many battles along the Tennessee River. Chief Dragging Canoe was a Cherokee war chief who led a band of rebellious Cherokee against colonists and US settlers.

Chief Dragging Canoe died from exhaustion after a night of dancing and celebrating the victory of a recently formed alliance.

September color story inspired by Wayne-O-Rama.

Trend Story: Moon Movement

23rd August 2017

Inspired by the total solar eclipse that travelled across the United States on Monday, August 21st, Moon Movement celebrates the power of repetition, simplicity of the circle, and relationship of light and shadow.

On Monday, Aug. 21, North America was treated to an eclipse of the Sun. The eclipse's path stretched from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. NASA covered it live from coast to coast from unique vantage points on the ground and from aircraft and spacecraft, including the International Space Station. (source: NASA)

Left to right: W7168, W2142, B0815, W4978VR, B0814, W7166DC

Explore the trend story, experiment with color, and see the designs in various room scenes on our Design Studio Online (DSO).

Global color authority, Pantone Color Institute™, hand in hand with The Prince Estate, announces the development of a dedicated shade of purple to embody musical icon, Prince. 

From the Pantone press release: 

The (naturally) purple hue, represented by his “Love Symbol #2” was inspired by his custom-made Yamaha purple piano, which was originally scheduled to go on tour with the performer before his untimely passing at the age of 57. The color pays tribute to Prince’s indelible mark on music, art, fashion and culture.

Prince’s association with the color purple was galvanized in 1984 with the release of the film Purple Rain, along with its Academy Award-winning soundtrack featuring the eponymous song. While the spectrum of the color purple will still be used in respect to the “Purple One,” Love Symbol #2, will be the official color across the brand he left behind.

A creative like Prince comes around once in a lifetime and when the world experiences such an impactful artist as he, influence is bound to reach across different industries. See our curated selection of archived patterns inspired by "Love Symbol 2".

With the summer season comes travel and with travel comes a bounty of inspiration. We followed one of our designers, Nona Thornton, to France and back (virtually, of course) to learn about what two weeks in France does to the carpet designer's brain.

Taking time away from the screen to travel has helped me slow down, reset, and take notice of the tiny things. There is so much history and life in older countries, every angle has an interesting story and a slice of a moment to make. Here are three subtle trend stories from my time in France.


(Cote d'Azur, France)

Lavender is very delicate individually, but when grown in thick rows, they punch through the hard dry earth with ease. I think of them as firework flowers.

Illusion d'Optique

(Aix-en-Provence, France) 

(Fontaine de Vaucluse, France)

I love to feel baskets because the texture is always different than how they look. The basket in the image on the left was smooth like beetles wings. 

 Water runs down from the mountain from an underground spring. The water runs so fast and clear that the shapes underneath the surface play tricks on your eyes, clouding the visual experience in mystery.

Transformation des Couleurs

(L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, France)

The buildings near the water would change color rapidly during the day. At twilight, the colors of the stucco and stone would look like they were going to sleep.

The French prepare food in an intimate and real fashion. Seeing and handling the animal before you eat it intensifies the flavor. Prawns, when alive, are light in color and slightly iridescent to blend in their underwater environment, but when they die their color darkens. Once cooked, their shell transforms into rich reds and oranges - inviting you to taste the freshness.

Photos courtesy of Nona Thornton, Designer, Brintons Americas

Brintons is excited to introduce our latest axminster design collection,  Altered Gravity by Stacy Garcia, debuting  at Boutique Design New York (BDNY), booth #645!

"Original works of art are translated into expressive Axminster carpet designs using complex color and textural overlays,” states Nadia Burton, Design Director for Brintons Americas. “Wild graphic strokes and frenzied paint splats marry with translucent floral forms to create boldly scaled designs catered to the hospitality market. Altered Gravity, with pattern repeats varying from 6‘ to 48’ is presented as an extremely versatile collection and one to watch in 2017,” adds Burton.

Inspired by the maker's movement, Altered Gravity features 14 patterns pulling influence from the diverse disclipines of the art universe.

Altered Gravity is a fresh approach for the Brintons + Stacy Garcia partnership, with designs derived from Stacy's original paintings. Although the elements have been dissected and rearranged to create new works of art, the viewer can still clearly see the artist's hand in each pattern.  Learn about Stacy's process and inspiration  in this behind the scenes video. 

Behind the Scenes with Stacy Garcia

Altered Gravity will launch November 13-14 at BDNY, at the Design Gallery by Stacy Garcia at booth #645. Not registered for BDNY yet? Click here to register for free! 

In years passed, designers referenced physical books full of patterns, coordinates, and their color variations.

This hands-on approach made way for the collection binder and the much sought after space in design libraries. With an all-encompassing rise in connectivity, manufacturers are much more plugged in to end users, architects, and interior designers. We no longer need to physically exist in their library spaces, and frankly they no longer want us to. The days of the bulky three ring binders are gone.

Identity in a library was defined by bold design and a contrasting logo on a thick spine.

Credence was approached with the knowledge that we can take a different angle when creating our collections, and revamp the vehicle we use to get the message across. Not only are we sharing information; design numbers, repeat sizes, and color palettes, but these elements, much like the elements of the ever-changing work force, can be functional & aesthetically pleasing. 

The vehicle has changed from a three ring binder to a bound design book. We've tailored the total pattern count down to twelve feature designs, dedicated a two page spread to tell each design's story, and treated the color palette as a balancing element rather than simply information. The Credence brochure is a large format design book, created to inspire in print but designed with the digital interface in mind.

We have not lost all need for tactility – we are simply changing the vehicle.

However, the cover treatment has remained steadfast with a feature pattern wrapping around the brochure. Kathryn Nerhbauer, our designer behind the cover, explains her inspiration and process on creating the feature Credence pattern.

"Inspiration for this design came from an aerial photograph of a coastline. I had been working on a beach front property with direction from the client to use the location as inspiration. I wanted the design to be abstract enough to avoid the obvious, but still relatable by capturing the qualities in the coastline. I began by looking at photographs of beaches and thinking about the physicality of different elements; water, sand, rocks, etc. I looked at work by landscape photographer Richard Woldendorp, admiring how he captured abstracted views of earth in such a breathtaking way. The design had to be enormous scale, so a person standing on this carpet would feel like the design went on forever - just like the coastline. In my design process, I developed layers and textures based on the beach elements and played around with filters to distort the images. The final design was developed through an intensive layering process, and now exists as the face of Credence. Our Credence collection is quite versatile and right on trend with what is happening in the hospitality market. It is amazing how the designs in this collection can transform simply by recoloring them, and I think our clients will be pleased with the possibilities." - Kathryn Nehrbauer, Senior Designer, Brintons Americas

Oren Sherman has created exclusive artwork for a variety of clients including Steuben Glass, U.S. Postal Service, VISA, Hermés, Disney, Pepsi Co, and many more. Oren’s style is crisp, confident and sophisticated. Alluring color and dynamic compositions draw us in, while the powerfully nostalgic scenes reference our collective American past. Oren’s interest in storytelling and design history has provided over three decades of widely diverse success. It’s no wonder the newest creation, BLOKWERK, circles back to the roots of his identity as a designer-storyteller.

The De Stijl movement was critical to the development of graphic design and for a century inspired artists and architects across the globe. We sat down with Oren Sherman to learn about what his story brings to Axminster, his interest in the De Stijl movement, and the birth of our latest collaboration, BLOKWERK. 

Q: Give us a little background: childhood experiences, family ties, early design memories? 

A: I was born in Boston in1956, which ironically makes me mid-century modern. My mom was a landscape designer and artist, she’s 93 and very definite in her tastes, we’re still disagreeing. It’s my earliest memory, drawing and making patterns in color was my first language. We were visiting museums before I could walk. As a child I remember visiting the Gropius house, Corbusier’s Carpenter Center and the best modern architecture that was the new style in Cambridge at that time. Utopian and very glamorous! 

Q: You’re an alumnus and professor at one of the most prestigious design schools in the United States. Tell us about your experiences being submerged in the thriving creative environment of the Rhode Island School of Design.

A: It was my dream to go there from junior high, when I was accepted I withdrew my applications to other schools, and never told my parents. I returned to teach part-time 15 years after I graduated. Being around the best of the best, of all different disciplines is a continual education. The students and faculty, the RISD Museum, The Fleet library, are a constantly inspiring and humbling experience.

Q: The majority of your work, both the Oren Sherman Limited Edition posters and your commercial commissions have been based in storytelling. There’s been a drastic jump in style from your narrative based illustrations to the cool abstractions of your textile designs. What happened between then and now? Is it the medium or the consumer that changes your design decisions?

A: No one has ever asked me this. I became interested in historical pattern as a student, RISD was originally a textiles college and they have an amazing rare book collection. My name is still on the cards from when the books circulated. The design archive at Brintons has many of the same books, when I visited there it was like seeing my old friends. I was not a textile major; I came to a fascination with pattern from color exploration. There is something so satisfying about systems of organization. I tend to see pattern not as flat repeats but as 3-D space.

Q: With your past work being strongly influenced by various historical narratives, has it been difficult moving away from naturalism into the abstract realm of pattern? Or are your patterns just more elusive stories?

A: Pattern is all about story; it’s just a different deliverable. The arrangement of shapes and colors on the page is to create the illusion of 3-D space. My work in pattern is very similar; it’s just a leap off narrative into design. The first artwork I designed that was not dependent on narrative as a subject was a shock to everyone but me.

Q: What do you find most challenging about the creating for the hospitality industry?

A: As a designer, the first question I ask myself is “what problem is this solving?” I have been working in hospitality for some time; designing wall covering, bedding, and carpet collections so I understand the needs of this world. Along with RISD, I work at the amazing Elkus Manfredi Architects in Boston. I am surrounded by the best designers I have ever worked with. Being there has been hugely helpful in my understanding of how my work integrates into the overall design scheme, and solves needs of the client. Corridors are a challenging design problem; how do we engage a guest to travel down an endless corridor with only a 12’ repeat? That was the ah- ha moment! The transformation from an overlooked space, generally with no natural light, to a dynamic and engaging experience. The next revelation was seeing that patterns could implement as full bleeds that could be cropped and pieced at any juncture. That was the engineering miracle; no waste.

Q: What goes on in the day-to-day throws of the working designer?

A: Fast deadlines, problem solving that requires teamwork. Combining intellectual skills and design sensibility to make innovative work that integrates with and elevates the client’s brand.

Q: Your designs for BLOKWERK are obviously steeped in the philosophies of the De Stijl movement, which has developed the basis for the graphic design movement as well as greatly influenced mid century architects around the world. What is your personal connection with the De Stijl movement? How does that influence your design decisions today?

A: It was the system of organization that moved from textiles, to painting, to furniture, fashion and architecture. I love “movements” that sweep the design world, a historically rare series of events that has everything to do with sociology, politics, production innovations and original thought.

Q: How did your design process for BLOKWERK begin? Develop? End?

A: It was on a visit to Berlin, Hansavietel, a landmarked mid-century neighborhood that has architecture from the best international architects in of the day. It was one of my most inspiring design adventures. Color blocked exteriors, fantastic!

Q: From birth, how has BLOKWERK changed through the creative process of collaboration?

A: I could envision it, see how it would work. I knew Brintons’ Axminister to be the most beautiful woven carpet. It was all there but corridors have very specific engineering challenges. Brintons and I worked together for over a year, I am sure I drove them crazy. I’m not a carpet designer; I simply wanted to transform the floors into woven art.

Q: Do you have a design mantra?

A: “Come from forever and you will go everywhere.” - Arthur Rimbaud

Brintons, has launched its next video in its current series, which is exploring how our carpets are made from fleece to floor.

Brintons Carpets - The Royal Warrant

The latest video unveiled this week explores how Brintons has been a Royal Warrant Holder since 1958, a prominent appointment which is given to companies who have regularly provided goods or services to The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh or The Prince of Wales.

The video features Richard Peck, from the Royal Warrant Holders Office, who discusses how Brintons was one of the first companies in Queen Elizabeth II’s reign to be given the Royal Warrant and what a wonderful achievement it is to hold one.

Brintons is excited to announce BLOKWERK, an innovative Axminster collection engineered specifically for the corridor, debuting later this month.

 Immersed in the widely influential waters of the De Stijl movement, BLOKWERK presents a collection of carefully composed designs offering an innovative solution to corridor design. Oren Sherman brings a restrained simplicity to the world of Axminster, resulting with the truly collaborative collection of elementally flexible designs. Constructed with harmonious textures and contemporary color palettes, BLOKWERK offers a multitude of ways to balance color and shape, manage scale and proportion, turn corners, and extend perspectives.

 “These designs have been engineered with extraordinarily long repeats,” explains artist-illustrator Oren Sherman, “allowing designers to chart inventive pathways through corridors and transform often overlooked spaces into exciting opportunities."

Brintons, has helped the National Trust to recreate history at the iconic manor house, Baddesley Clinton, by supplying 19th Century designs from its extensive design archive.

Baddesley Clinton, with its mixture of stone and half-timbering, is a Grade I moated manor house in Warwickshire, originally dating from the thirteen century. It was owned by the Ferrers up until 1980 when it was passed to the National Trust. The house, which has featured in Granada’s Sherlock Homes series and The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual, boasts a wealth of 16th century carvings and furniture as well as 19th century accessories.

One of the most intriguing aspects of Baddesley Clinton is the presence three secret priest's holes. These hidden chambers were built during the height of religious strife in 17th century England, and afforded visiting Jesuit priests a place to hide from prying eyes. 

As part of a re-furbishment project to replace a worn out wilton runner, Curator for the National Trust, Andrew Barber, approached Brintons’ archivist, Yvonne Smith to find carpet designs that reflected the individuality of the home and its former owners - the Ferrers family,

Having no evidence of original carpet patterns to replicate, Andrew visited Brintons’ archive to find designs from the 1870’s,and 1880’s to evoke a design that would sit comfortably with the historic interiors.

With the help of Yvonne, six potential designs were chosen, featuring different field and border designs constructed of geometric shapes and intricate colour patterns. Speaking of the project, Andrew said: “It was a wonderful experience visiting the archive and working with Yvonne to explore the original point pattern papers in order to really get a feel for the designs and the period that they encompassed.

“As the Ferrers family were well known Roman Catholic converts, we wanted to choose designs that reflected their religious leanings as well as the Victorian taste that features largely in the property. As stained glass windows, rich oak beams and ochre-washed walls appear throughout the house, we wanted to discover designs that did not merely coincide with the interiors but created a perfect balance between them. To judge by the positive comments we have received from visitors this seems to have been achieved.”

Two separate patterns were chosen for the field and border of the carpet to create one cohesive design that reflected the chosen period of 1870 – 1885. These were fitted on two staircases and two main corridors of the property, one of which spans the whole width of the inner courtyard.

Andrew continued: “As the widths of the staircases and corridors differ, we chose to separate the designs of border and field to accommodate this. This resulted in some parts of the corridor featuring just the field design and in other parts featuring both the field and border designs.

A Victorian colour palette consisting of deep maroons, pinks, reds and black were chosen based on original watercolour interiors of the manor house, which helped to induce a rich Catholic feel to the property.

Two intricate, geometric and floral inspired designs were picked for the field and borders to reflect the Victorian period of the interiors and to enhance the spirit of the property.

Andrew continued: “The carpet design perfectly reflects the character and spirit of the Ferrers family and it was a fantastic opportunity gradually and gently to increase the individuality of the house.”

Image top right: ( l to r) Yvonne Smith, Brintons Archivist with Alexa Buffey, National Trust

Image top right: Baddesley Clinton, corridor area

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