It's not everyday that I get to go behind the scenes of a leading carpet manufacturer, nor see the full process of product specification for a hotel property. Well, I recently joined 14 designers for the Milliken Hospitality Design Council event in Spartanburg, South Carolina. It was an eye-opener for me, the products editor, now for over six years, at HD. I write about products including carpet, but to see the designs first hand, talk about things like color trends and cut and loop options, and tour the Milliken (www.millikenhospitality.com) facilities was a true learning experience. I kind of felt like a designer during my three-day stay, diving into discussions on the industry and the products that make a space come alive.
My days were filled with workshops, presentations, and networking with Milliken staff including in-house designers who showed us what's in store for 2011 (very exciting). The design studio is beautiful—floor-to-ceiling windows, a great kitchen, spacious breakout rooms for meetings, and of course, carpet tiles all around set up like a museum or an art space. You won't find pictures of the studio here—Milliken will be unveiling the new studio shortly for you all to see.
During our first day, we were broken up into groups to talk about what we thought would be the next hot colors for hospitality and their influences. We found that nature, fashion, and sensibility were the drivers. Here, Brian Thornton, Bridget Bohacz, and Susan Isbill put together their colorboards.
Throughout the next two days, we hopped on golf carts and toured the Milliken campus' arboretum filled with tree species from around the country; visited the Greenville County Museum of Art with works by Jasper Johns and Andrew Wyeth; did a walkthrough of all of Milliken's products (did you know that each of us touches at least 50 Milliken products a day?); shopped in Greenville; and got an update on all of the latest collections from Milliken. Not to mention the amazing chef at the Guest House, which is located on the Milliken campus. The food was exceptional with a crab and avocado salad to lamb to light tapas.
A big thank you to Kaye Gosline, Laura Roman, Tracy Francis, Bill Blackstock, and all of the designers from Milliken and those that are on the design council for a memorable experience that opened my eyes to carpet, design, and color even more so than it already is.