Sneak Peek: 5UNDER40

July 12, 2012

By Jared Ainscough

Every year around this time, I am lucky enough to get a sneak peek at the rug designs that our 5UNDER40 winners have created. (Each year, winners create a sketch that gets turned into a rug by Landry & Arcari. The rugs are then auctioned off to benefit Cambridge-based charity Barakat.)

The sketches, always striking and creative, tell a story about each of the winners. It’s interesting to take designers (or architects or furniture makers) and have them apply their creative senses to a new and different endeavor. I doubt any of the winners thought they would ever be tasked with designing a hand-knotted rug–but it’s that sense of adaptation that adds so much. Here’s a glimpse at the winners’ sketches.

John Day’s rug, like many of his projects, looks like an examination of materials. In this case, it’s a blend of wool and silk as well as a mixture of a cool gray and vibrant magenta. The colors add a modern twist to a classic rug.

Asher Dunn’s design was inspired by the oriental rugs in his childhood home. Similar to his furniture, the rug is a very loose, updated adaptation of classical designs. It is familiar, yet also modern and surprising.

Amy Aidinis Hirsch focuses on texture and layering in her interiors, and those same principles are evident in her rug. It also samples the cream and brown color palette that has become her trademark.

Elizabeth Stiving-Nichols’s version feels very site-specific. It has an inherent “beachy†vibe with its soft, sandy background and a metallic shell in the foreground. (Hence the name of the piece: “Oyster Shell.â€) It’s no surprise that her business is in the place that’s also the source of her inspiration: Martha’s Vineyard.

Kelly Taylor’s rug has a topographical feel to it. She plays with drastically different colors and textures, but pulls them together in an organic grouping. I love the pops of color in an otherwise subdued pallette.

The rugs themselves are expected to arrive at the end of this month, and I can’t wait to see these sketches come to life. If you want to see the rugs for yourself, and meet the designers behind them, join us at the 5UNDER40 awards celebration the evening of September 13 at The Galleria at 333 Stuart Street in Boston. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.