Each independent studio has a story as unique as their aesthetics. While working with our indie studios, we form close relationships with the designers. Often, we get a “backstage” look into the inner workings of these studios. I wanted to take the opportunity of our new blog to share a more in depth view of our indie studios! I guarantee that the more you learn about these studios, the more you will love them!
Created by Lenora Smith in 2011, Aronel is best known for their clean geometric prints. Their patterns have a transformative quality. The way the shapes are connected, multiple patterns are visible, depending on how you look at them. This aspect makes the patterns dynamic. The company started out producing wallpaper and has just expanded, launching a line of textiles. We love working with Aronel because the company offers customized coloring of their patterns. This means that any of her patterns can be as bright and colorful as you want!
I was able to sit down with Lenora to talk to her about Aronel…
Urban Source: Tell us about what inspired you to create Aronel:
Lenora: Aronel evolved from a personal challenge to change careers. Before creating Aronel, I practiced law. I stopped practicing law in March 2010 and tried to figure out my next step. I took a step back to ask myself what I really wanted to do. With a push from my husband, I decided to venture out on my own and founded Aronel design studio, inc.
US: What sparked the move from law into design?
Lenora: The move was sparked by my hunger to do something that I love. I really enjoyed using CAD when I was a design student and I would often imagine the day when I would use CAD to create a product. Today, that is my profession and it is amazing.
US: Where did the name Aronel come from?
Lenora: It has been interesting to see how long it takes for people to figure out that it is my first name spelled backwards! I also like that it begins with an “A” and is only one word.
US: Staying environmentally conscious is a really important aspect for Aronel, can you tell us how this affects or enriches your design process?
Lenora: Well, it’s hard because it affects every aspect of the business. For me, the design process is directly impacted by how a product is created. I work with printers who are already conducting their businesses in ways that are respectful of the environment or who are open to exploring alternatives that may be more environmentally sensitive. The fabric I sourced for our fabric collection is created by a manufacturer who is committed to keeping their environmental impact very low. I love that my fabric collection is printed recycled organic cotton, recycled hemp, and recycled polyester.
US: Can you describe your design aesthetic for us?
Lenora: My style is inspired by the contemporary elegance of the Art Deco period. When I design patterns, my focus is on manipulating stylized geometric shapes.
US: Recently you expanded your company from just wallpapers into fabrics! What inspired this expansion?
Lenora: I have wanted to design a fabric collection since I was a design student. I recall sitting in one of my design classes and I told a friend that I wanted to design fabrics. I had no idea how to do it but I made sure I learned, figuring things out along the way. I found my wallcovering printer before I found a fabric printer so the wallcovering collection came first.
US: Tell us more about what you want clients and designers to know about your new fabrics:
Lenora: I would tell them to touch the fabric, because I think they will like its hand (or its feel). The fabric is a blend of recycled organic cotton (certified to meet the Global Organic Textile Standard; to learn more visit www.global-standard.org), recycled hemp and recycled polyester. It is minimally processed – no dyes and bleached with hydrogen peroxide – and that allows the character of the natural fibers to be revealed. The recycled polyester -- which is all post-consumer recycled content -- works to create a nice draping quality. However, the most fun part is the ability to customize the pattern scale and colors to coordinate with other elements and colors in a particular space.
US: The names of patterns seem to have an inspirational message. Where do you come up with the names for your patterns?
Lenora: Our first wallcovering collection is named “dare to dream collection” because I was daring myself to follow my dream of becoming a designer. As a corollary, all the pattern names in that collection relate to some aspect of dreaming.
The name of our fabric collection – “break some rules” – is inspired by the idea of doing the unexpected. I left a comfortable job in early 2010 to pursue my passion. Many people called it brave but it was a necessity because I was really unhappy. Many of the pattern names in the fabric collection relate to the challenges of actually pursuing your dream. I am trying to compete in a very established market with a sea of competitors. It has been scary but also unbelievably exciting!
US: Can you tell us about another aspect of Aronel that sets it apart?
Lenora: I design everything digitally using CAD. Therefore, I am very open to customizing colors for clients. If you see a pattern that you want in a certain colorway, Aronel can make that happen.
US: What is next for Aronel?
Lenora: I would love to introduce an upholstery collection and a rug collection.
US: What has been the most rewarding part in creating Aronel?
Lenora: The most rewarding part is also the most challenging part – making something come to life in a way that is true to your vision.
US: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us! We are so excited for the future of Aronel!
Lenora in her studio:
You can find all Aronel products in our showroom! Or visit Aronel’s website: http://www.aronel.com/