The origins of Fort Street Studio lay in the adventurous spirit of founders, Janis Provisor and Brad Davis, a married couple of accomplished artists who exhibited at Holly Solomon Gallery throughout the 1970s and 80s. They are represented in museums like the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, Albright Knox Gallery, and international collections both public and private.

After many years of interest in Chinese art and culture, they decided to take a year long journey to China in the early 1990s. Settling in Hangzhou, they traveled, painted and worked on woodblock prints, as well as visited artist’s studios and studied the region’s architecture. A chance meeting with a former manager of a silk carpet factory inspired the couple to collaborate on making a silk carpet for their loft in New York. They had already owned a Chinese Art Deco wool carpet with some small areas of blended tones, so they questioned whether it was possible to make an entire carpet with similar details. Starting with a group of watercolors they quickly painted, then began sampling at a small carpet workshop in an attempt to find a successful interpretation. At year’s end, they had a small 1’x1’ sample that showed some promise.

Dream Weaving

Energized both by the excitement of a developing China and the artistic challenge to realize their ideas, they began the painstaking process of making semblant patterns of the watercolors.  Their biggest challenge was developing a weaveable pattern so artisans could actually make a carpet with these previously unknown painterly qualities. This process included work with software developers, digital printers, and extensive dyeing and weaving sampling. Their next hurdle was to find the highest quality silk yarns, ensure careful color matching, and retraining weavers to read an entirely new type of pattern chart. Brad often says, “It was like teaching Classical musician to play Jazz.”  Fast forward 2 ½ years, given the dedication to this innovative artistic enterprise, they decided to build the idea into a new brand of handwoven silk carpets.

The first 7 designs came off the looms in 1996 and were debuted at the end of the year in Hong Kong and New York at Design Week. Creative friends, prominent designers and press began inquiring about their unique floor covers. A showroom named after the street the designers lived on was opened in 1997, and Fort Street Studio was born. The artists had realized their idea to make a watercolor-based carpet for their home – an adventure that launched one of the most distinctive carpet brands in the industry.


Since their fortuitous beginnings, Janis Provisor and Brad Davis grew the company into an internationally acclaimed luxury brand. In 2011, the couple brought on design industry executive, Paul Melo to spearhead expansion of the brand into diverse carpet qualities, which now account for over 60% of the brand’s turnover. The trio collaborated on products while Paul ran the day-to-day business, allowing the founders to dedicate most of their time to making art in their studio.

In mid-2022, a succession plan came to fruition and Mr. Melo now sits at the helm of the brand as Principal of Fort Street Studio while Provisor and Davis paint full time and continue to contribute carpet designs to the studio.

Fort Street Studio continues to operate from its 8,000 square foot flagship showroom in New York City servicing a global clientele of discerning design trade professionals and their clients.