Monday, November 11

The gorgeous private, vintage fabric collection of Boris Kroll exhibited at the New York School of Interior Design


Welcome to Nest by Tamara's
Why In Design 
column,
where we bring you the "back story" 
about the wares and the history of the world of design.
Today, let's dive into the story of the
Boris Kroll Collection
with a glimpse in time at Americana history 
through viewing these vintage fabrics
on loan from Scalamandre's archives and 
on display at the 
until December 7th in New York City
 Now, archived and kept safe by Scalamandre,
 this collection serves up a historical glimpse of an interesting era in our country.  It is fascinating to me that when used in commercial settings, these fabrics transformed the formerly boring, drab decor of the American workplace.   Boris created these intricate fabrics that forever changed our perceptions about design.  
note:  special thanks to Jade Dressler from NYSID who invited me
into the school and gave me a fabulous private tour
I am crazy for fabric, and of all the elements of decorating, perusing over various textiles, combining the richly made fabrics together into a room is my favorite part of the job.  It may have been because that was my very start in the world of interiors, and fresh out of design school I worked freelance for a designer shopping for fabrics.  This is a perfect student job, as you learn the market while sourcing and combining.  
What a surprise to learn that the local New York School of Interior Design has on their display a private collection of commercial fabrics from the archives of the famous Boris Kroll collection.  Years back, Scalamandre bought the collection, which was popular beginning in the Madmen era for it's vibrant colors and fresh patterns and used in commercial spaces from hotels to airplanes.   Additionally, Scalamandre announced they are rolling out a brand new commercial collection paying homage to the talented brand, Today Boris Kroll.  Check out sneak peeks below of both the old and new collection on display at the school.  

a lil' history I gleaned from visiting the exhibit about Boris Kroll and his company...
"Born in Buffalo in 1913, Boris Kroll showed an 
early aptitude for color and pattern—especially in textiles. At the age of 16, he moved to New York City to work for his brother’s furniture factory, where he became fully engaged with yarns, weaves, and fabrics. Inspired by the newly bright and modern woman’s apparel of the day, Kroll was determined to bring these contemporary stylings into the world of interiors. 
In 1936, he opened Kroll Handwovens, which grew into Boris Kroll Fabrics. In 1949, the company, housed in a state-of-the-art 250,000 square foot factory, which became a thriving industry leader in the textile manufacturing hub of Paterson, New Jersey. It was the only American textile house that produced everything from fiber to finished fabric. The processes of dying and coning to testing, weaving, and inspecting was made side-by-side, which allowed for exemplary quality control and gave Kroll the luxury of being able to experiment. 
Kroll’s outstanding career was acknowledged by the arts and design communities. He received an honorary doctorate degree from Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science in 1971. His fabrics and tapestries are in the permanent collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan; and were featured in a 1956 show at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, entitled “Textiles USA”—the first major show devoted entirely to modern American textiles. Solo exhibitions have been mounted at the Seattle Art Museum, Washington; the Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan; the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York; and at Guild Hall in East Hampton, New York." 
-- archive materials NYSID exhibit 


In the 1940s, 
Kroll created the first waterproof upholstery fabric.  
This revolutionized the design industry and applications for commercial usage. 
Boris Kroll of yesterday...


Another genius advancement for Kroll was in the 1970s, when he utilized the Jacquard loom in a new manner to create large-scale tapestry designs.  Now, he was able to use fabrics in large spaces for corporate offices.  

He then used  flame-retardant fabric in Continental Airlines’ Boeing 747 airplanes.  I love this brochure, which illustrates how fashionable it was to fly in the 1970s.  Complete with flyers who donned "go go boots" and with martini in hand and set against Kroll's fabulous upholstered walls, the activity of flying was cosmopolitan and modern, and changed our collective lifestyle forever in this country.  
Look soon for Scalamandre 
to debut Boris Kroll Today...

using the same sentiments from his vibrant fabric collection, Scalamandre plans to debut these fabrics soon.
Happy Nesting
XO Tamara

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