Today I am excited to bring you the latest Style Talk interview with Chip DeGrace, Vice President and Creative Director of FLOR. I have been a fan of FLOR for some time and recently posted about the company’s beautiful catalog. FLOR’s square tiles that you can mix and match are perfect for creating a carpet that expresses one’s unique sense of style. I recently had the opportunity to ask Chip about what it’s like to be Creative Director of FLOR and to give us the inside scoop on who styles and shoots their amazing catalogs. And he even gave us a sneak peek of some new items for Summer 2010!
Take us inside a day in your life as Creative Director of FLOR.
I love design. The bigger the challenge the better. We have an incredibly talented group of designers at FLOR. Some are in marketing, finance, operations and in customer service, but we’re all “designers” at FLOR. The beauty of the FLOR system is the fact that everyone can be a designer.
The design challenge we face each day is figuring out new and innovative ways to put extraordinary beauty on your floor while enabling virtually unlimited options for self expression. We believe our products allow for near infinite adaptability, provide unmatched durability in a way that consumes the least energy and uses the most responsible raw materials possible. That is pretty much what consumes my day and it’s a lot of fun.
FLOR is more than a carpet, it’s a lifestyle brand. How do you make a carpet a lifestyle statement?
FLOR is unique in that it allows – and even encourages – people to express themselves by coordinating colors, patterns and textures to create a rug, runner or wall-to-wall design that is truly personal. FLOR offers colors and patterns that aren’t necessarily common in floor coverings, so it’s a beautiful way to express your own design aesthetic.
Being an artist and a designer, I see the FLOR system as a medium, similar to how you’d think about paint or film. At its core, FLOR is about the lifestyle of the person who is designing. It can be fun, fancy or sophisticated. It can be a demure wall-to-wall design using Martha Stewart’s Faux Bois in your bedroom or a wildly personal rug or runner such as Nice Threads in your entertaining areas.
Our readers are curious about who photographs and styles your catalogs. Any details that you can share?
Because FLOR squares are a new way of thinking about floor covering, photography is tremendously important in communicating not only the depth and breadth of our products, but also for helping readers envision how perfectly FLOR will fit into their lifestyle. We are smitten by carpet squares. We personally live with them and are inspired by their flexibility and adaptability. We think the fact that FLOR squares can complement any range of aesthetics and environments is pretty cool. As consumers ourselves, we use our own experiences to influence the style of our photography.
To help bring FLOR tiles to life through imagery, we rely on long-time FLOR collaborator and Chicago-based photographer Bruce Quist. We also rely on a variety of professionals to help with staging and scouting homes. Most of our photography is done on location, in people’s private homes. The homes we use are inspiring and created by talented curators who have beautifully and intentionally designed their spaces.
Do you have a favorite style in the latest collection?
I really like the wool styles such as Best of Both Wools and Love Ewe. They are part of a suite of styles that are created from 100% natural, un-dyed wools. The beautiful neutral shades you see are the blended colors naturally found in sheep’s wool. The styles are subtle, soft and environmentally responsible.
I’m also partial to our styles that result from collaborations with photographers, artists and designers. We’ve worked with the estate of Alexander Girard on La Fonda Del Sol and with our friend and photographer Francois Robert on Find a Face, using the composition of his anthropomorphic images of everyday objects.
And we’re currently finishing another project with renowned illustrator Thom Glick called Character Sketch, which is a pattern mimicking a page from his personal journal – it will be out in June, but we’ve provided you and your readers with an exclusive sneak peek!
What trends should readers be looking out for in 2010?
At FLOR, we are excited about 2010 – what’s already happened and what’s ahead. When it comes to color, we are inspired by zesty-colored accents in playful sorbet-inspired colors and chalky, pastel, comforting neutrals. We are also driven by our customers’ requests for new FLOR designs in organic natural pigments, muted and matte tones. They are also seeking culturally and global-inspired designs and patterns.
What’s next for FLOR in 2010?
Where to begin? This year there will be significant changes in the customer’s experience of designing with FLOR. We’ve giving our online shop, FLOR.com, a fresh new look and a great new design tool. And, for those folks lucky enough, you could be getting a FLOR store in your neighborhood as we explore expansion of our store model.
On the product side, we are focused on creating dramatically textured rugs in tonal and super zesty combinations. We’ll have some pattern collections coming in the fall as well as some brand new trend color additions to existing favorites. Our naturals will get some new textures and some new color additions as well.
Any tips for readers who are looking for the perfect FLOR?
The beauty of FLOR is that it is a totally customizable solution. Readers can dive in and explore the joy of design with FLOR. It is such an easy and flexible design system that anyone can do it – it doesn’t require a degree in decorating or interior design. Start with the room you want to cover, and then choose your favorite color. From there, you can explore different textures and patterns within that color range and play with different options until you have just the design you’re looking for.
At FLOR.com we offer an online design tool that helps you visualize how your design will come together. Or, if you prefer to talk to a live person, call one of our FLOR experts at 866-281-3567. They can help you decide which FLOR styles will work for the room you’re working on, choose appropriate colors, narrow down the selection of a texture or pattern and even help you calculate how much FLOR you’ll need to create that design. Our FLOR experts know the full product range inside and out and can help guide you through your FLOR experience.