This spring, Maharam introduces an ongoing collaboration between fashion designer Sander Lak and the Maharam Design Studio, beginning with three upholsteries: Gemma, Gemma Multi, and Terra.
Through collaboration, the Maharam Design Studio pursues an exchange of fresh insights and contrasting approaches from beyond the textile industry. Innovative results speak to the benefits of this expanded perspective. A draw toward new creative influences led Maharam to Sander Lak, a master colorist and fashion designer whose career has spanned Balmain, Dries Van Noten, Phillip Lim, and most recently his own label Sies Marjan. According to Mary Murphy, Maharam’s Senior Vice President of Design, “We were drawn to Sander’s exuberant yet sensitive use of color and the refreshing humility and ethos he brings to everything he does. Since our collaborations are intended to span decades rather than seasons, we are first drawn to a sensibility or way of thinking and the particulars of collaboration emerge later.”
Known for ethereal subversions of proportion and material, Lak and Maharam had a mutual curiosity about how this approach might extend to interior textiles. Lak’s palettes are informed by the ephemera of material culture including references as far-ranging as ceramics, vintage cars, confections, electrical cables, digital icons, corporate logos and office supplies. Extracting each color from its original context, Lak develops color cards to explore carefully calibrated interactions between tone and texture. Of his decidedly broad influences, Lak says: “It’s not about seeking newness, I think the time of newness is over, now it’s about collecting, decontextualizing, and clashing all the things together.”
Lak’s instinctual approach to color finds ample expression as part of the Maharam Design Studio’s 2021 wool initiative—a comprehensive offering guided by an interest in renewable natural fibers and introducing a fresh perspective to classic wool staples. Joining this series, Gemma, Gemma Multi, and Terra explore the potential of Lak’s acute color approach in combination with the tactility and nuance of wool. Two woven felts—Gemma and its reversible melange companion Gemma Multi—offer a combined palette of over 150 colors highlighting Lak’s extensive experimentation—Gemma through the creamy saturation of piece-dyed wool and Gemma Multi through intricate bicolored blends. Offering an exceedingly soft hand, both textiles are woven and felted for added resilience in all upholstery and vertical application. Woven in Italy, Terra is a chunky basket weave whose palette balances natural and synthetic references across shades of romaine, creamsicle, and artificial grape.