Ana's name pops up frequently in this blog because not only is she the Creative Matters Creative Director, but she has been with the company for more than 15 years. In that time she has managed a wide variety of projects and designed over 200 rugs but, here we ask Ana what being Creative Director means today.
What does the Creative Director position mean for clients?
The aim is to deliver my level of expertise in all the stages of a project. A favourite part of what I do is at the project's inception when the interior designer invites me to peruse the fabrics and finishes - the initial source of inspiration. Each project is completely different from the last and that’s what makes this part of the process so exciting.
What is Creative Matters’ design philosophy?
Our design philosophy for custom projects - as opposed to the Creative Matters rug collections - is to develop concepts that have a deep understanding of the interior designer’s vision for the overall space.
What do you think makes an effective relationship between Creative Matters and the interior designer/architect?
Willingness to push the envelope from our end to maximize the project while adhering to the required budget. Understanding the designer's approach and intent on what the completed project should look and feel like. Communicating effectively every step of the way, with work-back schedules to keep the designer/architect in the know. Working closely and innovatively with the mill to make any required technical adjustments to tailor the goods for a specific application. This is the kind of dedication we offer our clients.
In the last year, you have been the project lead for several floor-to-ceiling projects, how does that role differ from managing the floorcoverings only?
First, there are several parts to oversee and with that comes ensuring that all of these elements work seamlessly with one another. Second, providing floor-to-ceiling service means more opportunities to be creative. While we had specific parameters to work within the Andaz hotel project, there was a sense of creative freedom within the overall project. And finally, I find that working on floor-to-ceiling projects really strengthens the relationship with the designer/architect as we get a deeper sense of the project and the level of collaboration is heightened.
Recently you have been responsible for presentations with various firms. How do you see both parties benefitting from the experience?
Whether it’s over breakfast, lunch or even a wine and cheese event at the end of the day, our presentations aim to inform designers and architects about our latest projects, products and capabilities. Presentations are tailored for each firm - for example, we have a floor-to-ceiling presentation for firms that focus on hospitality. Most rewarding is when the designers are noticeably excited by what we offer, especially when we showcase new products they didn't know existed. That, along with our design capabilities, really engages the teams we meet with.
What projects are you currently working on?
Neiman Marcus, William Vale in Brooklyn and the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco are just a few on my list at the moment.
What do you notice as current trends in floor and wallcoverings in the hospitality sector?
I have seen a recent trend in hotels where the public spaces are being created to really encourage a culture where the guests feel at home - spaces that are less business-like and more warm and inviting. Designing area rugs and wallcoverings for spaces like these are integral to creating the sought-after experience which I describe as an elevated residential feel.
How do you see Creative Matters growing in 2017?
We have plans underway to develop our business in China, after a very successful show at the Domotex Luxury Brands in Shanghai in March. We have expanded our sales force with an office in Hong Kong, led by our Far East Sales Manager, Serena M.W. Lam, who brings a level of energy and commitment to her role consistent with the Creative Matters brand.
You are currently working on a new look book for Creative Matters, tell us about that.
The first look book was such a success that we decided it was time to release a second volume. Over the past year or so, we’ve held in-house Art Day workshops that focused on eco-dying, collage, and architectural photography to name a few. The new look book will showcase the concepts derived from those workshops and will be used as a source of inspiration for interior designers and architects when it comes to designing their next rug or wallcovering project.
What are your current passions in the business?
If I had to pick just one, it would be floor-to-ceiling, as it captures many of the creative elements I enjoy. Not only does it require a high level of project management, the success of the project really hinges on the incredible team at Creative Matters. I love collaborating with our designers to see what they can bring to each project. Each team member has their own sensibility which allows us to explore a variety of styles and hone in on the right approach for any given project. Our admin team plays an important role as well, ensuring all project documentation is in order, budgets are well managed and a close eye is kept on the logistics side.
As well as managing complex client projects, you are a parent to two young children. How do stay focused on the on the creative design work you do?
Just like everyone else, I am constantly striving for a kind of balance that allows my work and family life to thrive. My kids energize me plus I have a supportive husband who also works in the creative field. We have been great sounding boards for one another throughout our careers. Oh, and I run - while my 5 year old can probably beat me in a race, it's the best way for me to reset and recharge.
Imagine a client with a contemporary minimalist home gives you complete freedom to design a defining rug for their large entertaining space. What do you visualize?
In a space such as this, the finishes tend to take centre stage without one overpowering another. So, I would suggest a handknotted area rug, with natural, undyed wool and a touch of silk. The design would be simple, something textural with a play on loop and cut pile throughout.
If you would like to connect with Ana directly for a consultation or to organize a presentation at your firm, please email firstname.lastname@example.org