ASPIRE Archetypes: Two Textile Tycoons On Their Favorite Works

In the ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME winter issue, we spoke with two renowned textile designers: Erik Lindström, the LA-based rug specialist, and Kevin O’Brien, a painter-turned-textile-artist. These inventive style makers discussed everything from how their designs were inspired by international travels to favorite pieces from their own collections.

Erik Lindström’s strong family background in architecture and master’s degree in interiors and furniture design reflects a lifelong passion and deep understanding of the intricacies of custom handwoven rugs. After establishing relationships with his factories in Nepal, Thailand and India, he established Erik LindströmTM with the intention of designing rugs which evoke bespoke, timeless luxury.

ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME: What textiles have you found on your travels that inspired you?
Erik Lindström: My last trip to Japan uncovered a host of textiles (vintage and new) which resonated with me as their themes of water, plants and animals echo my own passion for creating designs which evoke naturally-inspired motifs.

ASPIRE: Do you recall watching a movie that showcased lush textiles?
Erik: The show “Ratched” on Netflix is a recent find where I simultaneously enjoy both design and drama. The interiors offer a wide range of lavish textiles, mainly with solids and textures, but in the most unexpected color palettes. Part of the show is filmed at Tony Duquette’s Dawnridge house in Los Angeles, which is filled with the utmost textile glamour and oozes eclectic opulence throughout.

ASPIRE: If your life were a book, what would the title be?
Erik: “Memoirs of an Amuse Bouche.” Currently, what are some of your favorite color combinations? Mauve and chestnut, mint and cream, aubergine and marigold.

 


 

Philadelphia-based Kevin O’Brien believes that “with beauty and meaning, inspiration comes naturally, often, and from everywhere,” so it was a natural transition to move from traditional painting to textiles. Getting his start selling hand- painted scarves 20 years ago, O’Brien’s line now includes handmade pillows, bedding, curtains, scarves, throws and more.

ASPIRE: What textiles have you found on your travels that inspired you?
Kevin O’Brien: I spent nine months in Japan where there were thriving textile workshops making kimonos and obis, indigo dyers, thousand- year-old weaving factories and a population that really appreciated it all. When I came home, I started my company the very next month.

ASPIRE: Do you recall watching a movie that showcased lush textiles?
Kevin: Kurosawa’s movies of medieval Japan were full of costumes with amazing patterns and colors. Mostly it was the wildly dramatic shapes, from Samurai outfits that were supposed to make them look as big as possible, to the court ladies whose costumes were meant to look as impractical as possible. I saw that textiles set the mood and became signifiers of how lives were lived.

ASPIRE: If your life were a book, what would the title be?
Kevin: My book would have to be titled “Wait, Why Did I Just Do That?” It started with the constant moving that is part of a naval officer’s family life. So as an adult I tried on many different identities, from athlete to architect to painter to textile designer, and now design entrepreneur. The shifts seemed impulsive to many, even myself, but now I see the logical progression, getting me to a place that is finally a real home.

ASPIRE: Currently, what are some of your favorite color combinations?
Kevin: Pink and gray, pink and brown are both classics.

 

Kevin O’Brien headshot by Francesco Lagnese. Cover image via Erik Lindström.

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aspire design and home is seeker and storyteller of the sublime in living. It is a global guide to in-depth and varied views of beauty and shelter that stirs imagination; that delights and inspires homeowners as well as art and design doyens. Collaborating with emergent and eminent architects, artisans, designers, developers and tastemakers, aspire creates captivating content that savors the subjects and transports with stunning imagery and clever, thought-provoking writing. Through lush and unique visuals and a fresh editorial lens, aspire explores what is new and undiscovered in art, interiors, design, culture, real estate, travel and more. aspire design and home is an international narrative and resource for all seeking the sublime.