Sitting with a Nepalese artisan outside her home

So much of our product design process for Varia interlayers involves intimately working with the raw materials. I have learned through experience, we can’t impose our will upon the material. We must ask, “What does the material want to be?” This is the starting point.

A great example of this is our Mirage product. We let the ribbon fall and see where it can go from there. It is about merging the natural tendency of the material with a patterning that will have a broad appeal in commercial interior design today.

That is why we need to work directly with our artisans in their distant locations. We must touch the tree bark, play with the bamboo and lay the silk ourselves to understand what the material is naturally inclined to do. Only from this point can new ideas spring. An idea that looks great on paper can fail if it feels forced with the raw material.

While on the ground in Nepal this Fall, we closely observed the artisans’ skills. For instance, how closely they could repeat a pattern. If the answer is that only a loose duplication is possible, we will design this into the final look.

These considerations are then further directed by our sense of what interior designers want in their spaces today. Contemporary design trends create the playing field. Designing these products are fun problems to solve.

Working with raw materials

An artisan laying our Connection interlayer

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