LIMITED EDITION PROGETTO PASSIONE
Twenty years after leaving the art world to pioneer the first painterly, non-repeating aesthetic in modern hand-knotted carpets, Janis Provisor and Brad Davis are coming full circle and introducing their first Limited Edition Collection for Fort Street Studio. The new collection, Progetto Passione, aspires to traverse the boundaries between functionality and collectible design.
At the outset of Fort Street Studio, Provisor and Davis adhered to a very clear notion that their artwork for the Studio were “carpet designs” – they were not taking their paintings meant for the wall and weaving carpets to mimic that art. They designed carpets that took into account symmetry, adaptability to furniture plans, custom sizing options, etc.
The Progetto Passione Limited Edition collection was born from Provisor and Davis’ yearning to shake the yoke of those constraints and make complex designs in unique colorations, not meant to “work with” home furnishings or be customizable. They wanted to design standout works that had a collectible aspect beyond the already high aesthetic in the ongoing Fort Street Studio Wild Silk collections.
“During a working vacation in Italy, we decided that it was time to return to our starting point as artists and make a statement in carpet that was truly the next step in our work, and not be confined to any of the restrictions of a companion to chairs, sofas, flooring, wallpaper, or lighting…or be customized to fit a specific decorating motif. It was time to bridge the distinction between our normal practice to create pieces that would stand alone as Art/Design,” said Brad Davis. “You will notice that we gave all the designs Italian names, so we’ve entitled the collection ‘Progetto Passione’ !”
Provisor and Davis aimed for a playfulness and surprise. Using their foundational watercolor techniques, and the metallic sumac weave (inspired by the carpets in the Qianlong Emperor’s private quarter in the Forbidden City) used previously in another Special Edition series titled ‘Glimmering’, they developed ideas around this new sense of freedom. They also set aside some of the conventions of carpet design that call for all-over harmony and integration of form to avoid drama. Disjunction and drama are served up in each design in unexpected style. “We thought we should put our feet firmly in the collectible design world, and that meant limited editions,” noted Janis Provisor.
Part of the impetus for the project emerged from the limited availability of weaving artisans skilled enough to weave fine high-knot-count carpets in the Studio’s signature Wild Dandong Silk with metallic sumac flatweave accents. There are currently only seven weavers able to produce the quality, which incorporates metallic filament yarns of copper, bronze, and tin. Each of the eight designs in the ‘Progetto Passione’ collection can have up to 30 colors in them, adding to the complexity of the production. Each piece requires 4-5 months on the loom, and in most cases, the size of the edition will be five or less.
METALLIC SOUMAK COLLECTION
Something magical occurs when artistry and risk are allowed to commingle. In 2010, Fort Street Studio did just that, debuting their first limited edition collection of hand-woven, 150-knot wild silk carpets woven with metallic soumak flat-woven accents.
Founders Janis Provisor and Brad Davis first saw this combination of weaving styles in the carpet reproductions for the restoration of the Qianlong Emperor’s quarters in the Forbidden City. Upon reading about it, the couple searched for the source of the metallic yarn. After a miraculous discovery of the source, they set about to use it in a modern design that updates this luxurious quality fit for an Emperor.
Glimmering applies heirloom techniques, including the 17th century soumak flatweave in golden metallic yarn, to a richly layered and highly complex pattern never seen before in modern flooring. The result was not just a weaving tour de force, but a design that evoked and captured that magical moment at dawn and twilight, when light first dances on water.
The design Toll continues in the same manner: 150-knot wild silk pile (30% finer than the Studio’s standard wild silk) with soumak details, this time in tin. The patterning is an updated reference to English Arts & Crafts; a nod to creating a “new traditional.” Ornate in its motif and complex in its execution, Toll evokes a time when artistry and craftsmanship governed.
Due to the intricacy of pattern & difficulty in hand-weaving these luxe carpets, only an extremely limited number can be produced each year. Please contact your nearest showroom for more information and current availability.
In 2014, Fort Street Studio presented a collection of three carpet designs for exhibition at Design Junction London for AfghanMade, in conjunction with Wallpaper* Magazine. “AfghanMade is a project to revive century-old Afghan weaving traditions, which Fort Street Studio fully supports,” said Studio founder Brad Davis. “It is a reflection on the past that puts forward a positive statement for the future of Afghan carpets, while still creating designs that appeal to a contemporary audience. It is a concept very near and dear to Fort Street Studio’s core values – taking something old and making it new.”
The new carpet designs are based on a reinterpretation of a classic and traditional Middle Eastern motif, the shield or medallion. The designs remain true to the artistic core inherent in every Fort Street Studio carpet, created in close collaboration between the two artists. They began with an initial discussion of philosophical, artistic and technical issues, then move to rendering this vision in watercolor, culminating in the transformation to a weavable pattern.
All three carpets were hand-knotted in Afghan wool at a 6’ x 8’ size for exhibition. The couple took advantage of the high-quality hand-processed wool the region is known for in their color selection, and in some areas even utilized the un-dyed, natural wool. “The character and quality of the wool informed the design and color selection,” said Janis Provisor. “For example, for one design we selected wool that is naturally very dark, and dyed it further to create a rich, mottled background.”
In 2010, Fort Street Studio co-Creative Directors Janis Provisor and Brad Davis were tapped to create a collection of exceptional wild silk carpets for Hermès Maison, the new home furnishings and accessories division of renowned French luxury goods company Hermès.
“We began working on the designs in early 2009, visiting the archives of Hermès and steeping ourselves in the ethos and history of the company,” says Janis Provisor. “Then with our aesthetic imprint, we came up with three equestrian-inspired designs, in a nod to the long standing heritage of Hermès.”
The designers made six carpets – three designs, each interpreted in two colorways – to be produced exclusively by Fort Street Studio in 120-knot hand-woven Dandong wild silk. The carpets complement and expand on the offerings of Hermès Maison, which include reissued furniture by Jean-Michele Frank and new pieces by architects Antonio Citteiro and Denis Montel.
Please contact your nearest Hermès store location for purchasing information.