Home as a Sacred Space – The magic of abc carpet & home
Our windows reflect the soul of our collective abc odyssey.Peeking in through the abc eye, one captures a mobile moment of our essence…as transient as a sand mandala.”
—Paulette Cole, CEO & Creative Director, abc carpet & home
Interview by Lynn Adams Smith
Photography by Joe Garrad
abc carpet & home has been described as the magic carpet store. The flagship store windows are pure theater and act as the magnet that pulls shoppers in, for a full sensory experience. Once inside, the exploration begins, and be prepared for an inspirational visit.
There are six cavernous floors with a rustic warehouse atmosphere, filled with home furnishings, decor, chandeliers, pillows, jewelry, rugs, and much more. As you meander through the store and admire the creative selection of products, you will be immersed into the textures, colors, drama, and love of it all. Manena Frazier is the abc Visual Director and has shared insight into their aesthetic and vision.
UA: Describe the abc design philosophy and the attention to sustainability.
abc: Our commitment is to using beauty plus commerce as a tool for change. We aspire to manifest a holistic sensory experience where spirit, cultural design dna and eco-intelligence and the intelligence of color co-exist. We are deeply informed by nature, including biomimicry and color sources from the earth and combine this inspiration with a balance of clean articulate lines with timeless antiques, soulful patinas and carefully made textures and patterns. Through these we look at all the beautiful ways to realize home as our mirror.
UA: Do you consider yourself more of a merchandiser, set designer, visual artist, painter or sculptor?
abc: We are storytellers, documentarians, poets, and creators of sacred space. We use color texture, space and objects to bring light to environmental and global issues, while telling stories of our artisans and the larger collective issues.
UA: What kind of experience are you trying to create for the viewer of an ABC window display?
abc: We work to create a portal to understanding the infinite possibilities. This is where the magic lies.
UA: Your window displays have a global appeal. What cultures are you most attracted to visually?
abc: Thailand, India, Morocco, Turkey, Vietnam, Italy, France, Germany, Iceland, Spain.
UA: Talk about the process of how you develop displays. Do you sketch or work on the computer?
abc: We use computers, pencils, watercolors, microscopes, wires, plaster, found objects.
UA: Describe the physical aspect of creating and maintaining the displays.
abc: We have crafters and dreamers as well as movers, painters and hangers. The whole thing unfolds naturally. Maintaining is done by visual support leads who take pride in keeping our vision alive.
UA: What are some of the most frequently used tools in your toolbox to construct displays?
abc: Wire creates the thin connectivity which represents all the delicate connections between things. Branches are a direct link to Mother Nature.
UA: How frequently do you change the window displays and how many people make up your team?
abc: Windows are changed seasonally with a couple of additional changes. The visual team itself is a core of eight people all of whom also make special contributions. In general everyone who works here has a certain degree of creativity and this energy combined is what pushes the ideas forward. An accurate answer would have to be vague…Anywhere between seven to 27 people are plugged in and pushing forward to bring the vision to scale.
UA: What special preparations are needed for the huge holiday crowds and the Victorian Santa that visits abc every Christmas?
abc: Our elves create a magical area for him to sit to make him feel at home. They know what he likes…and an extra dose of magic is added to welcome the little ones. Every year we present Santa with an offering of chairs to select from. He participates by picking the one he feels the most at home in. We like for our beloved Santa to feel honored, comfortable and cozy.