I have a been a huge fan of the design collective Commune since the debut of the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. Their blend of hippie chic, world traveling, mid century, craft loving interiors are just different enough from what everyone else is doing> Plus, their commitment to all-things-California make me fall in love over and over again. So it was a pleasure to see them speak on a panel at West Week to unveil their new line of rugs.
Three of the firm's four principal designers were on hand talking about their new line of rugs created with Decorative Carpets. The line incorporates Commune's bohemian chic style, blending hand knotted wool, hemp and silk into 6 different designs — all in muted tones that bring in warmth and a broken-in look that instantly feels at home.
What I enjoyed even more than their rug line was hearing about their design process and the things that influence their process.
Collaboration is at the heart of Commune's work. They are a collective of 4 principal designers (Roman Alonso, Steven Johanknecht and Pam & Ramin Shamshiri) and each new project calls for teaming up with the client as well as the arsenal of local artists and designers they rely on to help take the project to the next level.
To name a few of the people that inspire them, they've worked with the folks at Heath Ceramics on spaces as well as products, sculptor Alma Allen out of Joshua Tree contributes sculptures and furniture, ceramicist Stan Bitters does crazy beautiful installations, they have a chocolate line with Valerie Confections and team up often with dealer and California Craft affionado Gerard O'Brien of ReForm Gallery here in Los Angeles.
Gerard was on the panel as well (more on that later) and had a wealth of information about California's Arts and Craft movement from the mid century on. Check out ReForm's website for a peek into the artists and craftspeople he shows to get a glimpse into California's rich history as well as some modern day talents.
Commune played a brief slideshow of their work, highlighting the work of Stan Bitters and Alma Allen. They shared that they like to keep things local to California wherever possible in terms of products and artists and explained that while working on a project like the Ace in Palm Springs, they employed 40 independent artists for help with everything from the macrame sculpture in the lobby to the ceramic inlay in the outdoor fireplaces. Plus they sourced all of the furniture locally in Palm Springs.
Their work never ceases to amaze me and I've included some of my favorite shots of their work (the last 5 images). They include residences, Roman Alonso's own home and the Ace Hotel.
Images: 1-5: Commune Rugs in Collaboration with Decorative Carpets; 6-7: Commune; 8-9: House Beautiful; 10. Commune