Carpet-maker Edward Fields is celebrating its 80th year with the release of The Nakashima Edition, a unique collaboration that has taken over half a century to be fully realized. The carpets in the new collection are based on sketches by architect, woodworker and mid-century furniture designer George Nakashima, later reinterpreted by his daughter Mira Nakashima and the Edward Fields team.
The collaboration was originally conceptualized in 1959, when Nakashima developed two carpets for Edward Fields on the heels of his collaborations with Knoll and Widdicomb-Mueller. The two carpets were made into prototypes, but the project was ultimately shelved, and the prototypes stayed with the Nakashima family, where no one realized that they were by Edward Fields until after Nakashima’s passing in 2004.
Migration, and Bird Star II
“Fifty years after the collaboration between George Nakashima and Edward Fields, the dialogue between two of the most iconic American names of modern design is still as current and as inspiring as ever,” said Yasmina Benazzou, global design director for Tai Ping and Edward Fields Artisan Brands.
Nakashima's carpet design
In 2013, Fields’ Studio worked with Nakashima’s children, Mira and Kevin, to produce reissues of the carpets true to the originals. While going through her father’s archives to sort through materials to be turned over to the Michener Museum, Mira came across a previously unexplored file labeled “rugs,” containing many more sketches. The Fields’ Studio team was able to accurately identify the color designations for different sections of the carpets from the numbers inscribed on the sketches. The numbers matched thread and color designations still used by Edward Fields. Fields’ Studio and the Nakashimas teamed up once more to reinterpret the sketches and bring life to George Nakashima’s vision.
The collaborative effort resulted in six rugs and one tapestry, an Edward Fields signature production. Not only are the original designs faithfully executed, but interpretations with different colors were also created.
Mira referred to the process as “an adventure. This was a very different side of my father, whose architecture and furniture design embodied the idea that form followed function and all else was decoration. The carpets are decoration, with very playful colors and abstract forms—some from nature, some whimsical,” she said.
Conoid Studio II, and Inner Island I
When asked if she saw any particular influence in Nakashima’s carpet designs, Mira said, “With the furniture, my father did what he did because of his Japanese heritage, and in the carpets I see things reminiscent of his history. The carpets are a time-freeze compared to the furniture, which as been in constant production. It was a chance to access something from the past and make it for the present.”