Photo: Ben Schlappig, One Mile at a Time
In August, the media was abuzz with the opening of the Park Hyatt hotel in New York. Eight years in the making, it was intended to be a New York icon. Even so, the vision for the interior design was created by the Toronto firm Yabu Pushelberg (YP) which has been our client for many years. We started work on this project in May 2009 but the carpets were not installed until August 2014. Through experience, we have become accustomed to the lengthy process attached to carpets in iconic hotels, but we thought it would be interesting for our blog readers to see how a carpet project might extend over five years. Ana Cunningham was the Creative Matters designer assigned to this project from start to end and here she explains the process.
How many pieces did you create for the Park Hyatt New York?
There were five rugs in the Glow design (from our Aerial Collection) for the lobby and one custom piece for a lounge named the "Courtyard."
Glow in the lobby at the Park Hyatt New York. 90% wool, 10% silk : 72 oz : hand tufted in a low, tight loop with 30% tip shearing
What were the creative considerations of the spaces?
When we started the design process, Alienor Guilhem - who was at that time based in YP’s Toronto office - had some of the finishes selected. Metal finishes, a sample of the marble floor and some fabrics gave us direction for selecting the colour palettes. She printed out imagery as inspiration for the Courtyard design. In both locations, we knew we were working with spaces that were fairly neutral, giving the rugs centre stage. With the Courtyard, we were really able to play with the design and include a variety of colours (the rug ended up with 14 colours and 18 blends). With Glow, the organic orbs gave relief to the undulating linework in both the walls and floor.
The custom carpet for the Courtyard at the Park Hyatt New York, 90% wool, 10% silk : 72 oz : hand tufted, cut pile : 14 colours with 18 blends
How did you and YP eventually decide to use a customized version of Glow?
After the preliminary concepts were complete (we had to reconfigure the Glow pattern for each of the five different sizes), we started asking the mill to supply samples. Only one sample of the Courtyard carpet was required for approval. However, the Glow colouration required many samples before the final colourway was selected.
We initially thought the original Glow design in silver would work but the marble floor was much warmer in tone, causing this colourway to look much greener than anticipated. We tried various approaches. Some matched the warm taupe of the floor too closely, causing it to blend in (which was not the desired effect). The final approved custom colourway was on the bluer side grey, with a hint of violet to inject a touch more life.
What were the practical considerations?
When it came to quality of the carpets, we suggested a low tight loop for the Glow design which we knew from experience would stand up to the heavy foot traffic expected in a hotel lobby. For the quieter Courtyard, we recommended a cut pile quality which created a more residential look.
Detail in the custom carpet for the Courtyard
What influenced your mill selection for this project?
From early on in the project, we planned to use a mill in Thailand that we have been working with since Creative Matters opened for business 25 years ago. We were confident their handtufted quality would be the best for a busy hotel.
You said you went through many samples – how does that work?
To have a sample made, we need to select colour poms. Because the Glow design requires a very specific tonal transition from one colour to the next, we needed to ensure that none of the areas were too low or too high in contrast. Essentially, if one colour turned out to be incorrect, it would throw the whole design off.
For each sample, we sent an email to the Thai mill
specifying the colour by referring to poms from our ARS pom box (the mill has the same box). If the ARS box did not have the appropriate tones, we would have to send custom poms. Our orders always include a quick computer rendering of the sample but what appears on a screen will never be accurate. Poms are the only way to understand the colours we need to achieve. Once the mill completes the sample, it is sent to us via FedEx. Generally it takes four to six weeks to receive a sample but if necessary we can expedite the process.
Once the final sample has been approved, how to you continue to play a role in the production of the carpet?
Once the sample is approved, we prepare the production order and send it to the mill. We tag the sample noting approved colours, quality and techniques such as the 30% tip shearing which adds another level of dimension to the rugs. The mill then completes a CAD (a computer design) where our designs are placed into the required format for production. The CAD is sent to us for final approval prior to commencing. During production, we ask for photos because it’s always useful to see the goods on the loom - a last chance for changes before latex is applied to the back. We also follow the shipping of the carpets to ensure they arrive on time.
The Park Hyatt rugs arrived at our New York warehouse in July 2013 where they were inspected by the client and YP with rave reviews. They remained in storage until shortly before the hotel opened its doors this August. Carpets are generally the last items to go in, once all the other trades are done.
Photo: Ben Schlappig, One Mile at a Time
For budgetary reasons, you often never see your finished work – how does that feel?
True, we don’t all get to see the rugs we worked on in person but for this project I have had the unexpected pleasure of seeing the Glow carpet well displayed in the October issue of Surface Magazine with none other than Mario Testino artfully placed upon it.