Anatomy Of A Design: Parete Unveils Their Unique And Chic Inaugural Collection

Michael Freedman, Co-Founder of Parete, joins us to discuss the design process behind the wallpaper company’s Inaugural Collection.

Parete team from left to right: Daniela Guarin, Matthew Wagman, and Michael Freedman.

Parete team from left to right: Daniela Guarin, Matthew Wagman, and Michael Freedman.

Raymond Paul Schneider: When did you first start to develop this new collection?
Michael Freedman: We were carrying many of these ideas around in our head for years, but we didn’t have a venue to do them until we started Parete. But we began moving full speed ahead in the late summer of 2020 and managed to birth the collection this Fall. Blazing fast speeds if you consider we all were working remotely. The team is incredibly excited for the years to come and getting back into the factory to push our brand further. 

Raymond: What was the overall timeline from conception to achieving the final design?
Michael: We work super quickly. Matthew Wagman has been in the industry for a long time and knows every manufacturer of wallcovering there is, and Daniela Guarin is a highly talented and efficient designer. By the time we start talking about the concept, Matthew has already connected with the right partner, and they will begin working on prototypes before finalizing the actual design. In all, we created 32 patterns /113 SKU’s in 6 months – production and sampling. Simultaneously, we built the brand story, which we think is just as important as the design. The best part is we are just getting started, and the new things we are working on are so funky, cool, and fresh.  

“Make My Daisy”

“Make My Daisy”

Raymond: What was your initial inspiration, and where did the idea(s) come from?
Michael: Design and art are everywhere in our lives, and I think it is just us visualizing ideas before expressing them verbally. But we look at a lot of art, museums, galleries, and friends’ studios. Also, we look at a lot of historical designs. A lot of what we do is to take classic designs and make them current. That is why we love our Floral Collection, as it is a modern take on grandma chic. 

Raymond: Please describe your overall creative and design process.
Michael: Our design process is super collaborative, we are very specific about what we like and don’t like, but we have absolute trust and respect for one another. We are constantly texting each other images, pieces of art, clips from fashion mags, videos – stuff! But the best way to describe our process is through an example. One day I was at MOMA, and I texted Daniela an image of a Lee Ufan painting. She was like, “Love EEEET” (we both think we are Tika The Iggy!). And the next day, we have the design for Ombre Is My Nombre. It takes longer for us to come up with names than it does our designs!! We are always super happy with the result, and we know it’s done when Daniela wants to strangle me. I am a bit of a perfectionist. 

“Cha Cha Cha!”

“Cha Cha Cha!”

Raymond: Did you have a specific audience or theme that you had in mind?
Michael: Before we dive into it, we ask each other, does the market really need this piece in it? Our products definitely appeal to a more modern aesthetic, an interior that appreciates colors typically seen in fashion than the interiors world—a client who wants to make a statement with art. We don’t do quiet, but we always thought of them more as coordinates than the main show with our basics.

Raymond: Please describe the methods, tools, and materials you used to develop and prototype this design?
Michael: In the normal pre-COVID world, we were totally hands-on all the time. We are obsessed with materials and are always at our factory, playing with textures. We created this whole collection in the last year, all during COVID. We were forced to use a few familiar techniques, but we found ways to funk them up with color and pattern and do them differently than we had before. We all lived on a vast craft project for about eight months. 

“Flower Shoppe”

“Flower Shoppe”

Raymond: Did you utilize a new technique or technology to conceptualize this product?
Michael: We used a lot of laser cutting to make our mosaic patterns. You weave ubiquitous material like grasscloth, abaca, mica, or cork, then cut them into shapes and reassemble them into patterns. The laser cutter is a fun machine to use, and it’s almost mesmerizing to watch the materials get cut. We also do a lot of hand drawing on the iPad using Procreate and Photoshop. It is a fantastic tool because we can draw freely, and the program separates the drawings into layers. 

Raymond: Please describe any challenges that affected the design and perhaps steered you to an entirely new final design?
Michael: The industry is so product-driven. We were accustomed to bringing out collections at breakneck speed, 3 per year, 10-15 products per collection in multiple colorways. COVID forced us to slow down to live with the product longer, take more time to fall in love with a design, or ghost it if we were over it! Had we been able to move quicker, we most certainly would have dropped some products into the line that were less exciting. But, we don’t think the world deserves more mediocrity and waste. So, when we look at each piece we created, they are very different from one another. The collection as a whole is super cohesive and looks like it belongs to the same brand.

“Krumpin”

“Krumpin”

Raymond: Describe your overall brand DNA and Ethos
Michael: We believe in authentic diversity fueled by our cultures and generations as we couldn’t be more different from one another. Daniela and I are both art school geeks that have this total obsession for art, design, and popular culture. Having worked together previously, we yearned to put more of our personalities into our products. To make art that was more optimistic, functional and build a brand that represented us. There are so many notable companies out there, so we asked ourselves, can we do it differently? Can we create something that had an attitude but was also fresh and sophisticated? Could we still “sell the dream,” could we manufacture on a small footprint and work with partners to produce material quickly for us? And the answer was a resounding yes. Everyone was so supportive and loved the idea of collaboration. 

We are definitely cheeky and irreverent, but we do it with a specific style that makes you want to pinch our cheeks. We call our products “Basic Bitches” and name them Pat, Sue, and Karen! So, in our best punk rock rendition of the old Frank’s Sinatra tune, “we did it OUR way”!

Click here to see more of our “Anatomy of a Design” series.

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