Unraveling Custom Carpets

April 1, 2017
At the Hilton West Palm Beach, the organic nature of water, beaches, nets and sails influenced the carpet design.
One of the advantages to using large-scale broadloom carpet found in hotel and hospitality designs is that they may be custom designed to evoke the sense of place even inside of a large ballroom or lobby. AP spoke to interior designer and architect, Jim Looney, president of Looney & Assocs., about his experience designing with Axminster carpet. For 21 years, Looney has specialized in interior design for hospitality environments at 4 to 5 star properties. Recently, for his client the Related Companies, Looney specified custom Axminster carpet from Brintons at Hilton West Palm Beach property. Looney says, “The reason we like to use it so often in our properties is from a construction, durability and environmental standpoint. [It is 80% wool and 20% nylon.]” He adds, “More and more hospitality environments are seeking LEED certification, and this product helps in that regard.” Looney says the process is simple, and working with seasoned carpet designers affords maximum design flexibility. “Yarn colors are almost infinite, and manufacturers have experienced artists that are capable of translating a complex design idea into carpet because of their depth of knowledge about color and yarn placement, they think ahead and check all the boxes when we are designing.” From an owner’s perspective, the carpets are extremely durable with a lifecycle that can withstand highly trafficked public areas such as lobbies and corridors. At the Hilton West Palm Beach, the organic nature of water, beaches, nets, and sails influenced the design, says Looney. “We’re able to put those big ideas on paper and Brintons is able to take those ideas and translate it into a carpet design.” The design team uses several software platforms to communicate their ideas and concepts back and forth throughout the design development and production phases. “We can specify line weight, texture, shade or hue of blue and they’re great about working with us to come up with exactly what we had in mind.” The carpet often becomes the “hero” in a large, angular space, says Looney. “The carpet gives us a way to soften the ballroom because we can use so many different colors and the organic edges form lines that are nice juxtaposition of the more rigid architecture of walls and ceilings.” Variations on the carpet design also serve as intuitive signage in wayfinding; for instance, at the Palm Beach Hilton the guestroom corridor has an interesting geometry, so the team devised a more rectilinear design with movement in a nice organic rhythm.

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