Wed. May 29th, 2024

Alexa Hampton loves creating stylish, sophisticated spaces for her clients, and she appreciates the collaborative nature of the relationship between interior designer and homeowner. But she says her work as a product designer truly allows her to flex her creative muscles without restraint.

“It’s a totally fun, indulgent, creative exercise,” she said. “I get to see what unfettered or undiluted can be, and it’s really fun.”

She experienced the joy in that process with her latest collaboration with accessories maker Eastern Accents. Hampton created a new limited-edition pillow line, dubbed One of a Kind, that made its debut at the recent High Point Market in High Point, N.C.

Hampton — who took the reins of her father Mark Hampton’s venerable New York interiors business in 1998 — has designed product lines for a number of brands, including furniture for Theodore Alexander, lighting for Visual Comfort and fabric for Kravet. For this new collection, Hampton said she wanted to design something inspired by the work of Fauvist artists such as Georges Braque and Henri Matisse.

“You can look at a piece of a shape of a painting from that period and it immediately catches your attention,” she said. “It’s so ingrained in all of our brains, and there is nostalgia and pleasure because the art is lovely and reassuring.”

A pillow from the new Alexa Hampton collection.

Courtesy of Alexa Hampton

She brought the idea to Eastern Accents, a Chicago-based luxury home textiles and accessories maker. Hampton has a long-standing partnership with the company, designing several bedding, pillow and linen collections for the brand. But this time she wanted to do something different.

“I probably think far too much about pillows, but they’re incredibly important to the final product of a room,” she said. “You have to wrestle with ideas of what makes an interesting pillow, what pillows haven’t been done — because a pillow could completely reinvent your sofa.”

To create something that hadn’t already been done, Hampton and Eastern Accents agreed on a handcrafted line of matched pillow pairs that would incorporate multiple materials and techniques, such as hand-stitched embroidery and laser cutting. Hampton said color drove the material and technique choices.

“You might have velvet, and then tweed, and then embroidery,” she said. “They’re reflective of my palette now. So there’s a red, orange and pink pair, there’s a beige-brown, gray, and ecru pair. There is a green, teal and off-white pair, and then we have the blues.”

Hampton said she sees these pillows not only giving rooms a pop of color or pattern, but also serving as connector pieces to introduce other hues and materials to a space.

“In a fabric scheme, the main fabric isn’t necessarily the most used fabric,” she said. “Sometimes it’s just a single pillow, but it is the fabric that justifies the use of all the rest of the fabrics. So there’s a little olive green there that justifies why we’re using an olive tape trim over here. It’s the sum total of the color story.”

While Hampton’s One of a Kind collection will only be available in a restricted supply, she sees the line expanding with new limited-edition designs if it resonates with designers.

Alexa Hampton collection.

A pillow from the new Alexa Hampton collection.

Courtesy of Alexa Hampton

“It’s an experiment, but we don’t want them to become less special,” she said. “Eastern Accents is a business, so they don’t want me to just dream of things that have no value. So while the collection has value and the potential to sell a lot, we don’t want it to be ubiquitous.”

And even if the line doesn’t take off — though judging from the overwhelmingly positive reception it received at High Point Market, that seems unlikely — Hampton said the creative process allowed her to push herself even further as a designer.

“What better way to challenge yourself than by trying to outwit yourself and come up with something you think other people will want?” she said. “This wasn’t an assignment I was trying to fill — it was something I wanted to do, and it has been a joy.”

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