Honouring the past while remaining cognizant of the evolutionary needs of society is amongst one of the most difficult lessons one can learn, and it is what elevates the ordinary to the extra ordinary. By embracing and adapting what is and what has been, into what can and will be, one has the ability to harness creativity that spans well beyond any one person or lifetime. Adaptive re-use of architecture – either in whole or through its constituent components – is amongst one of the most beautiful ways this is accomplished, even more so with a fantastic bespoke rug that incorporates elements of the existing, to create a freshly modern – yet familiar aesthetic.
For a project which saw a seminary converted into a flexible floor plan space now dubbed ‘Graduate Commons’ for the Economics Department of the University of Chicago, the firm of Ann Beha Architects working with Gensler turned to none other than well respected Canadian firm Creative Matters for their custom rug needs.
No stranger to working in commercial and contract environments (We won’t bore you with the extensive list of accolades and accomplishments, but rest assured it is comprehensive.) Creative Matters, and project lead Leah Phillips, were tasked with adapting the client supplied elements and colour direction into workable carpet designs. Ms. Phillips: ‘It’s important to note that Ann Beha [Architects] and Gensler provided us with the patterns and colour direction for this project. Our design role was to provide colour concepts with variations in the colour, pattern placement, and blend combinations.’ In short, the architects did their job and allowed the rug and carpet professionals to do theirs, all working toward the same goal: creating a carpet that is not only functional, but perfectly complementary to the space.
From Creative Matters’ press release: ‘The rug pattern relates to the carved wood details of the soaring ceiling, the curves of the arched windows, and the circular suspended lighting. The design fits perfectly with the historic elements that remain, while the large scale and geometry of the pattern offer a modern feel.’ Leah continues, ‘My favourite part of this project is how so much of the original detailing remains, while still incorporating modern elements.’ which includes of course the aforementioned rug from Creative Matters. *wink*
The Graduate Commons carpet is a 80% wool, 20% nylon blend Axminster made in Thailand. It was installed in 2014 to coincide with the re-opening of the ‘Saieh Hall’ at the University of Chicago.