It Takes TwoAuthor:Lindsey Shook
KNOWN FOR PRESENTING annual collections designed in collaboration with artists, rug maker Erik Lindstrom recently revealed a vibrant new series with design icon and painter Serena Dugan. Each piece offers a balanced reflection of their respective practices while honoring their individual perspectives. We asked both Dugan and Lindstrom the same questions to gain a better understanding of how he transformed her paintings into rugs.
-Luis Barragán’s work served as the point of connection for the collaboration. What is it about his designs that inspire you?
DUGAN: Barragán’s architecture spoke to me immediately. He uses spare geometric planes, lush color and light as compositional elements. My paintings, while only two-dimensional, attempt to do the same. Seeing his work really crystallized that goal of mine and sharpened my viewpoint.
LINDSTROM: I visited several of Barragán’s homes, including his own, in Mexico City a few years back. I was taken by both his fearless choice of color and mastery of special arrangements.
–What was the biggest challenge in translating the essence of Barragán to both art and rugs? DUGAN: I would say that my artwork already felt aligned with Barragán’s, therefore I didn’t feel I needed to translate his essence. However, I did design my Condesa textile pattern as an ode to this synchronicity, leaning into Barragán’s joyful use of color and sliding geometrical planes. It was this pattern that drew Erik to my work. We adapted it for a rug and decided to focus our collection around Mexico City’s unique brand of modernism. I created two other paintings that told this story, and together those formed the basis of the rug collection. As far as “the biggest challenge” goes, I would say that landing our distilled and collected viewpoint was the most labor intensive part of the collaboration. But finding inspiration in Barragán’s work was quite easy.
LINDSTROM: For rugs, the objective is to always use inspiration in a complementary yet original format. Creating symmetries between Barragán’s architecture and Serena’s paintings was challenging, but in the end it became a seamless and natural alignment of the creative process.
–How is this collection an extension of your work? DUGAN: The rug collection is truly a natural extension of what I have to say but is told far more magnificently than I could on my own. Erik’s rugs are works of art in their own right. My artwork becomes textured and sculptural and tactile. That is a level that I simply can’t get to with fabric, wallpaper or artwork. To create an object for the home that is both artisanal and exquisite and that bears the stamp of both the artist and the craftsperson is deeply satisfying, to say the least.
LINDSTROM: As the son of an architect, I tend to instinctively weave in architectural elements through line, pile height and spatial compositions in many of my own designs. Extending this ethos through Serena’s lens was a welcome alternative to my habitual practice that produced flattering additions to my own with ease.
-Which is your favorite piece in the collection? DUGAN: My favorite pieces in any collection are always the boldest and most vibrant. So I have to admit that I always get a jolt of electricity when I see the Condesa rug in Mushroom/ Peony. But truly, I love all of them. LINDSTROM: Roma, and not because it’s my favorite neighborhood in Mexico City. I love the soft and bold palettes here, but I also love it because the shapes tend to draw me in and have the perfect balance of shape and relief. I love rugs that can be utilized in a variety of vignettes, and Roma quite easily serves the likes of dining, living and bedroom installations.
–What did you love most about working with each other?
DUGAN: I knew from the first conversation with Erik that we would have a great time working with one another and that the collaboration would be effortless. What I didn’t know was how supportive he would be of me bringing my art to the collection versus my design. He is such a supporter of true originality and wants a dynamic and singular story to be told through his collaborations. This was deeply empowering and exciting for me.
LINDSTROM: A collaboration requires both respect and compromise, and while we never needed to compromise, the level of admiration for each other’s talents made way for a perfect storm of sophisticated, beautiful and thoughtful design in the end. The process evolved gracefully from day one, and working with Serena was always playful, lighthearted and never had a dull moment! She’s become a great friend through all of this, and I couldn’t think of a more kind, inspiring human to create with.
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