In March 2015, Bergdorf Goodman briefed us on the requirements for a carpet for the new Jewelry Salons in their iconic New York City department store. Installation would be just eight months later in November; the dimensions would make it Creative Matters’ biggest handmade carpet ever; and everything about it had to be luxe, shimmering and enduring. And indeed its lustre was still apparent even when the carpet was covered with the glitterati - such as Christina Hendricks, Solange Knowles and Ashley Olsen - and their finery at the opening party.
Linda Fargo, Senior Vice President Store Presentation and Women's Fashion Director, who is responsible for the ongoing renovation, had this to say about the project. "Overall, we're very pleased with the outcome, but more importantly, our clients are as well. Not a day goes by that we don't have an inquiry on this exciting carpet or the exploding custom sputnik chandeliers. Exceptional design paired with exceptional craftsmanship and quality yields exceptional responses!"
INSIDE THE PROJECT WITH LINDA FARGO
"Finding a design solution for a project of this magnitude and importance was clearly a challenge. The creation of the Jewelry Salons at Bergdorf Goodman was the first phase of our forward looking plans for the entire store and our most important and visible renovation we've undertaken at the store since 1999, and the choices we make now will need to have a timeless and proprietary quality to take us through to 2020 and beyond.
"The rest of the main floor will have various patterns of grey marble replacing the parquet, but given that we were subserving a fine jewelry business we knew we needed carpeting to both protect the jewelry should it fall, as well as to quiet the experience of the space. We were trying to achieve an experience that felt both intimate and yet grand and elevated. The carpet was an important component in getting us there.
"We shied away from traditional patterns as they made the room look immediately 'old', and instead we zeroed in on a contemporary custom 'pooling' pattern in varying shades of all our favourite greys. Not only do we anticipate this quiet yet lively pattern to be practical in terms of absorbing inevitable dirt and stains, but it also animates the walking experience as no two pathways feel the same. One can ebb and flow with the design enabling the full exploration of the room."
At Creative Matters, Ali McMurter was the project leader while Sarah Stevenson handled much of the design work at the computer. Together they collaborated with Doug Gellenbeck (a Creative Matters client over many years), the Design Consultant at Bergdorf Goodman spearheading the renovations.
INSIDE THE DESIGN WITH ALI MCMURTER
"Because Bergdorf Goodman wanted a design that had both a custom handmade feel and the ability to still look gorgeous after intense shopping traffic, a handtufted carpet was the obvious choice. Wool was also the obvious choice for durability with touches of silk to lend unmistakeable luxury.
"Along with the shimmering effect of silk, the antique mirror finish on the jewelry display cabinets was a significant inspiration through the design process. We matched colours to the surrounding stonework, paint colour and store fixtures, ending up with 13 grey blends. We sampled it several ways, trying to see what was the best construction and artwork for the space and we continued to make changes throughout the process, even after the handtufting had started."
The turnaround was very tight for such a large and detailed carpet. While our mill in Thailand was able to handtuft it in one piece, shipping could not accommodate its huge dimensions so it was carefully cut into three pieces. Ali had calculated the ideal places for seams and she then supervised the team at the store to ensure the installation, including invisible-but-sturdy seams, was perfect.
"Bergdorf Goodman is an iconic brand with a reputation for top-notch design. Working with Doug Gellenbeck on such a spectacular space was a privilege," said Ali.