Textiles: Focus: Eye of the Beholder

When it comes to textiles, we’re used to a “what you see and feel is what you get” model. However, Dots Damask, one of two upholstery patterns available in Luna Textiles’ Kinetic Collection, pushes the envelope by creating an optical illusion that manifests the harmonious and intrinsic parallel between tradition and modernity.

The concept for Dots Damask initially grew out of a desire to create a flexible upholstery line that could easily crossover into varying project markets and showcase a pattern in an array of hues, from neutral to spicy. Luna Textiles senior technical designer Karen Rodriguez and Ray Wenzel, a contract and residential wallcoverings, textiles, and laminate surfaces designer, collaborated with Luna on the Kinetic Collection and kept their minds open when they sat down at the design table. “Sometimes we like to start with a concept in mind for a collection, but this time we started by looking at many different kinds of patterns and graphics, and the idea of the collection began to coalesce and cohere as we worked on it.”

One of the results was Dots Damask, a large-scale, digitized representation of a traditional damask pattern that boldly reads as a pixelated image when viewed up close (think of the popular toy Lite-Brite, introduced in 1967). This “optical illusion” is thanks to Luna’s unique, creative process, according to Rodriguez. During development, Luna’s designers look at a prospective pattern from where the end user is going to see it. They put it on the wall and then slowly step back to get a sense of how the pattern reads at different viewing distances. “You get a sense of ‘urban innovation’ when you’re up close and then, when you step back, you get this sense of tradition,” Rodriguez notes. “And that’s what’s really nice about Dots Damask.”

Wenzel believes that this reference to an obvious historic textile tradition is a big part of Dots Damask’s charm. “One doesn’t have to be terribly sophisticated about textile design to be fascinated with the interpretation of the traditional pattern in a modern way. It speaks to everybody…We see physical layering in architecture today, and we are sort of echoing that by putting two layers of meaning together on one piece of fabric.”
Dots Damask, which launched this May, offers designers a vertical repeat of 20 in. and is available in five colorways including orange, red, blue, green, and, as Rodriguez refers to it, a “yummy” yellow, all of which were received quite well by NeoCon® 2010 attendees.

“We had a lot of fun at NeoCon® interacting with people and showing them the collection. It really was a big love fest,” describes Rodriguez. “We’re like the chefs who love their own cooking, and it’s wonderful when that happens.”  


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