The Rainbow Room atop the Rockefeller Centre in New York is one of those iconic places known to anyone who grew up with American culture - a formal supper club with panoramic views over Manhattan where celebrities and the influential mingled and danced on the rotating dance floor.
Enamoured with the glamour and elegance, we were delighted when Gabellini Sheppard (an architectural and interior design firm based in New York) asked us to create three custom carpets for their major renovation of the Art Deco masterpiece.
Our work began in March 2012 with Leah Phillips as the designer. The carpets were installed in the summer of 2014 and the glittering dining and entertainment venue reopened in October 2014.
For Creative Matters and Leah, the project consisted of three large entertainment spaces each requiring a different carpet design: the famed Rainbow Room, the SixtyFive lounge and the Gallery pre-function area.
The Gabellini Sheppard team had already developed artwork concepts for the three carpets. Leah first set to work translating those concepts so they could work effectively - and beautifully - as carpet designs. The Rainbow Room rug design is a concentric circle pattern on a grey/mauve base intended to echo the shape of the dance floor. The Sixty Five carpet has radiating facets in greys and blues. And, the Gallery carpet is a woodgrain pattern.
Of the three designs, the carpet for the SixtyFive lounge was Leah's favourite. Although it took a lot of time to redraw the radiating facets in the pattern row by row to achieve the desired effect, she was delighted with the result. "It was a stunning design and translated so beautifully to a carpet. Also, look how the texture of the carpet adds to the existing feeling of movement and light."
Creative Matters designers are perfectionists when it comes to colours. We order samples from the mill until we know the colour is exactly right. And for the interior designer, the exact shades required may change as the other fabrics and finishes in the project emerge. Achieving the desired colours was the biggest challenge of this project, so Leah requested and reviewed many samples before the final orders were submitted.
People, food and drinks are all over these carpets around the clock, so Gabellini Sheppard and Leah were both committed to the woven Axminster quality in 80% wool and 20% nylon. Because the pile and backing materials are woven together in a single operation, Axminster carpets have superior durability and appearance retention. For woven Axminster carpets, we have been working with the same mill in Thailand for 25 years because we know they can meet our stringent requirements.
Architectural Digest hailed this project, "a glorious revamp" and "ravishing renovation" and Creative Matters is honoured to be part of it.