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Interview with Lori Weitzner. PART I. Surprising things at Proposte and working moms.
19.06.2018, Про бизнес
At Maison&Objet we came across Samuel&Sons company and its very unusual collection. It is created by a well-known American decorator Lori Weitzner. We met Lori at Proposte and discussed modern trends, the role of textiles in interior design and even working moms. Here’s the first part of the interview.
Lori Weitzner

– Hello, Lori. It’s so nice to meet you. At Maison&Objet we visited Samuel and Sons showroom and you showed us your new collection. Everything was designed by you, isn’t it?

– Yes.

– We were very surprised by your textures, colors, your very unusual way to make dreams and ideas real. We haven’t seen anything like that before. It was like a piece of art.

– Wow, thank you.

– After visiting the showroom, we decided that we really want to know more about you, so thank you for finding time to talk to us. Tell us how you started your work in design, please.

– Oh, that’s a long story. Long story short: I was a painter in university, and my professor told me I should switch to textile design because I had a good sense of color and composition. I thought: “What is textile design?” because I didn’t even know. But I’ve learned everything quickly, I switched my major and got a degree in textile design.

– And what about art, paintings?

– I don't paint. I mean I draw sketches for my products, but it is not for fine arts.
I don’t call myself an artist, I call myself a designer. The main difference – I am creating things for people which they will want to use.

When you’re a fine artist, you just create what you like, and hope people will like it too. But here you must think about business.

And I always think about how to expand, how to create something more unusual, and at the same time how to sell that.

– Do you design only for other companies or do you have your own collections as well?

– I work for licensed products. Samuel and Sons is a bright example.

But I also have my own line: fabrics and wall coverings under my name, - Weitzner. And it’s fantastic! We’re trying to create unique products for domestic market.

We do finishing – I’d call it home decoration - for 10 years now, and we also plan to make rugs.

I also do stationery products, magazines, recently we started to produce ceramic tiles.

And making jewelry is my new work now.
To enlarge click on photo

– It is also a new product for you.

– We are still designing it, it’s a brand new product and it will be released in fall. It’s my own investment. And it has everything I’ve learned in textile and interior world – embroidery, bead weaving.

– Let’s talk about Proposte. What changes did you notice now comparing to previous years?

– I think the energy is better this year. More natural fabrics, rustic style is everywhere. And much less silk than few years ago because people don’t buy silk.

– But tons of linen.

– Speaking about textile patterns, I see a lot of large ones here and mix of designs, for example geometrical and flower patterns. Different techniques and voluminous fabrics were used often here.

– And also a lot of velvet. Velvet stays. What about wool? I see here a lot of wool and cashmere.

– Yes.

– And soft fabrics.

– But people are tired of viscose.

– So wool, linen and different combinations are prevailing.

– And also different fur effects as artificial fur, for example. I was really impressed by the innovative methods of textile printing. One example: usually direct textile printing is used but there are much more interesting ways such as printing on velvet and different fabrics. When you print, you get the image only on one fiber. You should experiment with textile printing, combine different types of textile printing.

– And to combine different technologies. I think some surrealistic methods have been applied this year.

– Printing on base, then weaving, then also embroidery.

– Some of this is too much, but it shows the opportunity to use these techniques.

– There’s a company called Enzo (EnzodegliAngiuoni) . Their way to combine technologies is very interesting and smart. Very elaborate. I’d mention innovative technologies, like smart upholstery fabrics with smart technologies.

– There wasn’t much of this here, at Proposte.

–I’m really interested in smart textile. You won’t find much of this here. Have you ever been to Netherlands? In March there was a show in Amsterdam. It wasn’t about pretty things but about smart ones: things that adopt your temperature or things that are made of recycled materials. That’s really, really cool! That’s what I want to see, what I want to do for this world.

– But it is also very important now, when textile is smart.

– Hi-tech way of thinking is a trend now. I’m a council member at a university in the US, where they produce a lot of smart textile. And I’m interested in using it in the world.

I’ve tried to design wallcovering that changes its color depending on the temperature. That was too nice. It would be great to talk to press about it but my clients are not going to buy that. Then I’ve tried to design textile that absorbs solar energy during the day and gives it away at night.

– That’s a great idea.

– It will take a hell of time, but I’m really interested in it.

– As we have seen at Samuel and Sons, you use a lot of jewelry, stones and glass in your collections. It is very unusual and the result looks fantastic.

– Thanks. This collection is called Couture. We launched it recently and I love it. It’s inspired by fashion designers, they are very keen of details – beading, embroidery, they do a lot of work. That’s what I love about fashion. And I thought there is a way to use it…
To enlarge click on photo

– …and put that into interior.

– Exactly. That’s why it’s called Couture.

– You said you’re inspired by the fashion world. Are there some other things that inspire you to make your ideas real?

– I’m inspired by everything. I can get inspired by looking at the shape of a leaf. I can check shops in Venice or in my home city New York. I can get inspiration from my children, from music. It is not necessarily visual. It can be just a sound or an emotion.

I live in New York, and it’s very crazy, chaotic city with very mixed culture. But I’d like to say that the best time for my inspiration is when I’m travelling.

– Is it difficult for you to combine family and work?

– Are there a lot of working women with children in your country?

– Yes, quite a lot.

– I always worked, even when I was really little. I believe I’m a good mother because I like what I do, and I’m happy. So when I come home I’m happy and I’m with my children. If I didn’t work, I don’t think I’d be that happy and so I’d be a cranky mother.

– Yes. I get it, and I totally agree with you: children need a happy mom.

– I have two little girls, and I want to be a role-model for them. I want them to find what they love; to do what they love. I don’t want them to do something for the sake of just doing it. Sometimes they come to my studio and they work for me. Sometimes I pay them. They help me.

– Do they help you to invent something new?

– They arrange my color boxes, and I think they are proud of me. I have to say my husband is great. He works too and he has to travel a lot but he’s always at home when I’m traveling.

– Does he help you?

– He’s very supportive. I’m very grateful to him for that.
To be continued…

Don’t miss Part 2 of the interview. We’ll talk about American decorators and their work, about finding your personal color. You’ll also learn why textile is wrongly put to the second place.

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