When the Westin Hotel in New Orleans sought a wall installation to feature in their new lobby, designer Dina Evans of Moncur Design Associates Inc. reached out to us.
While they had a general idea for the design, they wanted to work with us to invent something unique, just for them. “They came to us looking for a circular pattern,” Design Assistant Melina Bartolomei explains. “Dina provided us with photos of coiled, concentric material as inspiration,” says Submaterial founder David Hamlin. “We responded with photos of some design options in the form of concentric circles of wool felt. During this exchange of images Dina noted the notched appearance of an unreleased wallcovering pattern, and we decided to explore it for her project.”
Being a completely custom job, we didn’t have any experience to draw on for building it. “We had never done this before, so determining how to execute it was a good challenge,” says Panel Studio Team Leader James Gannaway. At first, as we practiced configuring sections, we hand-notched each piece, which was slow work and we worried about time. That’s when James and his team recognized room for improvement. Why not quit hand-cutting the notches and just use differing heights of felt? They ended up using four heights, a stroke of genius that expedited the process substantially.
Since this 8’ x 22’ installation was too large to ship whole, our team determined a way to construct the pattern such that it could ship in pieces and then be seamlessly assembled on site. The result of all this design and engineering was six interlocking MDF-backed panels that can be installed in one day, providing a flawless felt wall with hypnotic dimensionality.
Over 175 pounds of felt later, and our solution-minded teams achieved one of our most striking designs to date!