Chilewich Breaks Down the Design Process of the Grid Collection

08.15.17 | By
Chilewich Breaks Down the Design Process of the Grid Collection

We’ve long been obsessed with the Chilewich brand, with their timeless collections of woven textiles for the tabletop, floors, and accessories. The innovative New York City company has a way with patterns, colors, and textiles landing their collections ahead of the trends, thanks to their founder and creative director, Sandy Chilewich. For this month’s Deconstruction, we take a look at one of their recent collections, Grid, which takes inspiration from “multifaceted grids found in urban landscapes,” and is available in placemats, table runners, tote bags, and zippered pouches, each in three color schemes. Take a look to see how Grid came about.

Sandy Chilewich at home in her midtown Manhattan studio. The design team keeps an evolving seasonal image board filled with forthcoming ideas, inspirations, and new weave samples.

Every season starts with inspirational images or ideas. For Spring 17, Grid was inspired by Heishi bead necklaces, made from repurposed vinyl that Sandy picked up. The team then made some yarn wrappings of the color stories as they began the task of updating a classic basketweave pattern.

Chilewich uses a yarn that is an extruded PVC, with each strand containing 25% renewable vegetable content that is also 100% phthalate-free. Here, an early hand-loom of the Grid pattern.

Yarns on the loom

After a weave has been chosen, the design team colors it and receives sample yardage displaying all the shade and color possibilities they requested.

The beauty is in the selvedge: close up of Grid, showcasing all the colors that go into making the pattern.

100% of Chilewich’s woven textile placemats and floor mats are made and finished in the USA. Here, rolls of Grid being transported at the Chilewich warehouse for cutting and finishing.

The beauty of manufacturing rolls in storage.

After years of fine-tuning, Sandy and her partner Joe arrived at today’s method of cutting the rolls into their tablemats.

Tablemats being labeled and packaged for shipment.

Boxes getting ready to leave the 127,000 sq. ft. Chilewich warehouse.

Sandy has always been passionate about offering textiles that are mixed application. Grid is not exclusive to tabletop, it was also used in a collection of Bags and Zips offered for Spring.

Grid on the table. Because it is made from vinyl, it is extremely durable, easy to maintain with just water and bio-degradable detergents, and provides endless design possibilities.

Caroline Williamson is Editor-in-Chief of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.