Design Collaborative: Great 'Latitude'

July 20, 2009

Hunter Douglas Hospitality and Stacy Garcia have collaborated again to produce a collection that offers designers a great deal of variety when it comes to patterns, textures and materials.

Mark Twain once said, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” While Twain’s words may ring true in some instances, it is certainly not the case when it comes to the relationship between the personnel at Hunter Douglas Hospitality and designer Stacy Garcia. These two parties, who have collaborated in the past on five other lines, now bring Latitude to the marketplace—a line that features distinct themes with economy in mind.

“We have worked with Stacy for a number of years, and appreciate her design approach and understanding of our markets,” says Jocelyn Messer, associate design manager for Hunter Douglas. “Stacy is a high-end designer with the ability to formulate products for any market.”

Messer notes that Garcia’s styling is more fashion forward and trend driven. “We work 12 to 24 months in advance of where we believe design is going because designers often work 12 to 18 months out before a project is completed. Stacy is able to see where the industry is headed and we work together to respond accordingly to those trends.”

In the case of Latitude, Hunter Douglas wanted a collection that targeted mid-range price points. Messer notes that the fabrics look high end, but are actually economical—an important attribute given the current financial climate.

The collection features 17 patterns and 121 total woven fabrics, and is intended primarily for use in guest rooms and public spaces. The collection, which is larger than some of the company’s other lines, offers both warm and cool color palettes within its three themes.

Garcia states that the themes were developed with relative ease and were defined during the year-long development process. “Movement, travel and architecture served as my inspiration,” she says. “The design for several patterns came from unexpected sources, which is often the case.”

Modern Metropolis has an urban undercurrent and was architecture inspired. Warm and cool neutrals blend with charcoals, grays, black and brassy gold to create sophisticated offerings. One of the patterns, Constellations, is a “modern vision of thin, stylized rectangles softened by rounded edges accented with metallic thread.”

In contrast is Resort Retreat, which was inspired, as one might guess, by a tropical resort. Underwater motifs, flora and fauna, as well as coral and seashell images are abundant in the patterns that relate to this theme. Garcia used a jacket as the basis for the seaweed design, proving that inspiration can be found almost anywhere.

The last theme is Ethnic Melange, which is truly a global landscape of patterns representing people, sights and geographic locations. Tribal, as one example, features a decorative stripe, diamonds and geometric shapes to represent a hand-woven textile. Garcia notes that the pattern is not specific to one culture, but rather incorporates images that are global in nature.

“We designed Latitude to work with other collections offered by the company,” she explains. “Collection X was mid-century, modern inspired and Modern Metropolis works well with that line. This allows designers to layer between collections in an effort to work within established budgets. They can use a pattern from Latitude, which has a mid-price point, for the majority of their work, and add fabrics from Collection X or Soiree, which have higher price points.”

With multiple themes, the colors in the collection range from vibrant hues of blue, green, and purple to more subtle shades of spice, charcoal and brown. Some of the patterns are bold and easily discernable while other textures and stripes are almost non-descript based on the colors that are used in the pattern. But the breadth of offerings in the line didn’t stop with colors or patterns. Construction ranges from plain weaves to novelty jacquards to matelasse, and the combination of yarns—including metallic and boucle—means that there is an offering in the line that will resonate with just about anyone. Latitude meets or exceeds all performance requirements for commercial-grade upholstery as mandated by the Association of Contract Textiles, including 30,000 double rubs (or more) for abrasion.

Latitude previewed this year at HD Expo and the initial response to the collection has been very positive. By the end of the summer, Garcia and company officials expect to have a better understanding of how designers, and their clients, are responding to the line; both parties expect strong sales by the end of 2009.

Janet Wiens is a freelance writer based in Memphis, TN. She was formerly marketing manager for HNTB and now works with industry clients to address their marketing and public relations needs. She can be reached at [email protected].

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