Imagine our delight in 2017 when New York’s Gachot Studios invited us to create all the floorcoverings for Detroit’s new 129-room Shinola Hotel, one of the many projects that are creating massive renewal in the city. The hotel is a partnership between Shinola, a Detroit-based watchmaker and leather goods manufacturer and Bedrock, a real estate firm. Known for its preservation of craft and the manufacture of timeless well-designed goods, Shinola is a perfect match for handmade wool rugs.
Working with some of the top craftspeople in four different countries, Vice President Ali Honsa was the project manager at Creative Matters. “While Shinola's focus is to work with American crafters and showcase their premium quality products, there are times when a specific skill set for a craft does not exist within the U.S. and help is needed from abroad, she said. “The premium craftmanship we contributed supports the high standards that Shinola fosters within its own operations and community. Our floorcoverings serve as an exquisite backdrop to the beautiful local work showcased throughout the hotel.”
Cate Mills led the design work at Gachot Studios and had ongoing conversations with Ali about their ideas for the various spaces. We would adjust or develop new artworks, colour pom sets, and samples accordingly, sometimes trying a few different options at one time. “The Gachot team did an amazing job selecting and perfecting the colours, textures, and designs that would work best for each situation. And the Shinola team respected the decisions that were made and fully supported Gachot's vision,” said Ali.
With 2XX rugs in X number of designs, Ali was ably supported by Creative Matters designers Madeleine Baigent, Kayla Bortolotto and Kat Pezzano. Once pieces started to be completed in the four different countries (Nepal, India, Afghanistan and Thailand) Logistics Manager Julie Baldwin was indispensable in securing their shipment to Detroit in late 2018 for the official opening on January 2, 2019.
“It is a rare treat to experience such commited support for a talented design team's vision. When you are in the space, you can feel and see the artistry at every level,” said Ali.