“Merida is doing something that’s bold and boundary pushing… it invites you to think in a creative way.”
— Mark Cunningham
The new Merida showroom at the New York Design Center is a gallery-like space designed by Mark Cunningham, Inc. Before opening day we sat down with Mark and his team to discuss their collaboration with Merida, and the shared values behind our long-time partnership. Read part one of the interview here.
You’ve been a Merida client for many years. What was it like to partner with them on the new showroom?
It was an interesting role reversal. When they came to us and asked if we would help them design their space, and all of a sudden they were the client. It’s exciting because we’ve been part of their process for a long time. Who would have guessed we’d be a part of this?
I’m excited for the opportunity to bring our clients to the showroom, to see these rugs at scale and to see the process. I can’t wait to walk them through the space, to introduce the Merida team and give them the full experience.
What do Merida’s latest collections say to you about how they’re evolving as a textile design house?
We have been working with Merida for a long time and they are always evolving, but since Sylvie [Johnson] came into the picture there’s just a different level of confidence. You see it in the designs, in the use of materials and in the hand of the rugs. it’s been a game changer, one of those things you hope for in life, finding people who can come together and make something that much better and show you something in a new way.
It says a lot about Catherine and how she is moving Merida forward. In her vision for revitalizing Fall River and her commitment to the practice of craftsmanship. You see it in the spirit of the team and the people they work with. And coming out of the pandemic, not going smaller, not pulling back, but pushing forward and going bigger. This showroom is the perfect example of that.
How does the color story and the way the rugs are displayed factor into that?
Their audience are artists so to present their collections as color stories and in an artistic way, it’s a language we receive that pushes us to think creatively. I see that and think, Merida is doing something bold and boundary pushing. What else can they do?
When we did the Galerie showhouse last summer the first [company] we came to was Merida… we saw the new Portfolio collection and we were so excited by the color. I don’t want to say we never use color but we’re not, you know, bold color people. But I love color and it was fun to see, and they were unexpected colors, too. It makes you look at things differently. The Miroir rug we chose became the starting point for the room.
Now we’re doing a project in Florida and using a Merida rug in a color I don’t think we’ve ever used. We actually had a different rug spec’d and built to the project, then we saw this new design from Merida and it was so interesting and exciting. Making a change like that at this stage of a project is risky, but it felt so right for the client that we decided to pivot. And here it is hanging in the showroom.
You never know where a design concept is going to come from and when a product pushes you in a different direction and inspires you… that’s all you can ask for as a designer.