MATERIAL CULTURE

ROBERT ALLEN – LINE I:  BEVERLY BLVD.

Hospitality designer Kirk Nix of KNA Design Studio teamed up with Robert Allen Contract to design Beverly Boulevard, a high-performance upholstery line that features jewel-tone velvets, metallic accents, and geometric motifs. The designs were inspired by reptile skins, ancient Japanese kimonos, and the designer’s arcane reflections on the infinite revolution of time and the digital realm versus the real. Nix channeled his contemplations into nine color palettes and 20 designs, resulting in patterns with names such as “Rockstar,” “VIP,” and “No Photos Please.” The collection includes upholstery fabrics, two drapery sheets, and a coordinated outdoor Sunbrella Contract fabric.

ROBERT ALLEN – LINE II:  ONE TEN WEST

Imagine a design crossroads where sensuous, over-the-top luxury coexists with a fresh blend of California cool. Robert Allen Contract and visionary designer Kirk Nix have collaborated to create One Ten West, a boundary-pushing collection dedicated to forging unforgettable spaces for the larger-than-life personalities who will occupy them. The collection’s strong design currents revolve around a medley of distinctive styles that are bold enough to stand on their own, yet tolerant enough to intertwine. From a slinky sophistication produced by high-luster yarns to a pleasing palette of blues and grays to digitally inspired patterns, this collection brings huge impact, endless intrigue and infinite possibilities.

ROBERT ALLEN – LINE III:  THE PENTHOUSE

Louis and Snowdon (she hated “Anouk”)

Against all expectations, Joni Mitchell turned to jazz and in so doing needed session players. Wayne Shorter told her about Louis and, seeing a once in a lifetime opportunity, grabbed the next TWA flight out.

Blue Note Records had a reputation for impeccably dressed musicians and Louis was no exception. He was particularly fond of French and Italian suiting that set him apart from the sharkskin materials found at the time. As a man of color, Louis played up the French side of his upbringing and had no intention of acclimating himself to American tastes. He was damn proud of the way his mother moved to Paris in the 20’s as an assistant to Josephine Baker. Anything was preferable to the discrimination she had to deal with in the US. So, when Josephine posed the idea to her during a visit to Atlanta she jumped on it.

Louis’s father, an Egyptian Jew, was Josephine’s manager and saw after her expensive wardrobe and her collection of pearls (tie in to the pearl/dot motif fabric here). He also had a huge collection of records which were always in heavy rotation. Louis grew up in hotels and ballrooms filled with lush upholstery, drapery, plaster and ornamentation. Fantasy pavilions.

So upon returning to LA the gig with Joni led to the seminal record of his trumpet solo at the Monterrey Jazz Festival. LA took over and Louis asked Snowdon to come back. At least for a little while.

Snowdon accepted an offer to teach “Ethnic Color Studies” at the old ArtCenter on LaBrea. It was there that her love of “odd” color combinations took hold with the craftsmen and especially the weavers of what would become a distinctly West Coast fiber art movement.

Inspired by a boozy night of Sangrias at Charles and Ray Eames modernist home they decided that they should stay in LA. As luck would have it Louis and Snowdon exchanged leases with friends who wanted to escape LA for something less American. So off to Marrakech went their friends and into the vacated Penthouse ——– moved Louis and Snowdon. They felt at home with the Mexican tiles and the blue bathroom fixtures and augmented it all with the fabrics and works of art culled from the previous 13 years. The party set they had in France and Morocco was replaced by the jazz and art set in LA and everyone clamored for invitations to their penthouse with music provided by Louis’ friends, furnishings designed and upholstered with Snowdon’s designs and rugs. Draperies billowed breezes scented with rice dishes, lamb and applewood hookah smoke.

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