With a larger than life personality that translates into each and every design, Aviva Stanoff’s range of printed textiles are a breath of fresh air. Combining New York City cool with a natural edge inspired by her Buddhist background, all of Aviva’s cushions and throws bear her signature style. To celebrate the launch of her range at Amara, Aviva talks to The LuxPad about her design process and what’s next for her eponymous brand…
What areas of your life and environments have inspired your creations?
I think I was most influenced by spending my formative years on 24 acres of old grown redwoods deep in northern California – the closest neighbour being 5 miles away. We summered in Japan and as children of hippie parents spent a lot of time in the woods, gardening, flea marketing, and travelling around. Summering in Japan immersed me in the Japanese culture in a way that was unusual for a normal American bear.
How would you describe your signature style?
Deliberate luxury, urban zen couture, organic luxe, American exotic textile design…. These are words that float around us.
Your collections are described as a union of two worlds, where did you first get the idea to combine the organic with the industrial in your designs?
I believe it was a culmination of the fact that I grew up on 24 acres of old growth redwoods in northern California and summered in japan most of my life. I think growing up in this secluded environment made it very easy to want to get out and explore the rest of the world as soon as I could. I wanted to go live, experience and celebrate in the biggest city I could get myself to. That was NYC – a girl that grew up between a temple in Japan and the middle of the forest is immersed in the edgy glam of the big apple – her collection looks like mine!
Where are you most at home – in a bustling city or closer to nature?
“Home” is where my design studio is, where my husband and kids are – my family and my team…. However, I can breathe in the city – almost any city. I can dream in the city, I can run in the city. May it be Jaipur, the mountains in Santa Cruz, Solana beach or Shanghai – I try to celebrate what is beautiful there – and there is a lot of beauty everywhere. I have always been a traveller and it helps me to be inspired to be in places away from home.
Can you walk us through your design process – from initial idea, to the finished product?
My design process starts with being open. Open to beauty – it may be from a mineral or crystal, a vintage sample of marbled paper, a crumbling couture dress found in a flea market. I create a board and attach all kinds of findings to it – it’s a bit old school I guess because it’s not digital. There’s fabric swatches, findings, bit of string or chandelier parts maybe. Sometimes there’s a vintage dress on the board, a necktie or leatherwork found at the flea market. Almost always there is something from the flea market. I seem to always go to vintage things from a time ago, to re interpret them or celebrate the original technique, re-work them and make them anew. These boards turn into collections and then into final product. Colour and texture is what usually rules.
What is your favourite part of this process and why?
Discovering something beautiful that I almost missed – I like putting on my ‘looking for inspiration eyes’. It forces me to look at a cacophony of clutter at the flea markets and look for only beauty. Beauty leads to inspiration which leads to product development, new collections.
Can you tell us about your signature printing techniques and how these have developed?
My signature printing technique was developed early on –pressing real objects into fabric and hand dyeing. I wanted to do something textural and one of a kind but repeatable… of course since I grew up in nature, this theme was always part of my stable of inspiring worlds. I’m not sure my professors would appreciate my saying this, but I think almost all of my exclusive techniques were developed by first learning and mastering the traditional techniques. Then throwing out all the good learning out the window and putting the technique together in a new way… not sure that makes sense. But I think we can compare to learning how to make a Crème Brule – taking those ingredients and recipe and creating an ice cream birthday cake.
What textures and colours do you enjoy working with the most?
I really love indigenous colour pallets – Japanese indigo seen often in men’s summer kimonos, the colour of natural pearls, all the colour of natural quartz crystals, drift wood, etc. I like textures in textiles and surfaces that engage people. Invite people to be taken away – daydream. I enjoy textures that delight and fill people with wonder.
If you weren’t a designer what would you be and why?
I was raised in a Buddhist temple, Design is my destiny this time around.
Your collection has grown from textiles, to soft furnishings and now to decorative items – what’s next from the Aviva Stanoff design studio?
We are working on a tribal diamond collection, a gypsy chandelier collection in collaboration with Currey and Co. of course, we are always working on new secret textile techniques that we will have to discuss the next time we speak – I pinky swear I’ll share with you as soon as we launch.
The beautiful range of Aviva Stanoff cushions and throws will be available at Amara later this month.