Tom Lerental is inspired by the architecture of textiles. Instead of focusing her attention solely on innovative materials and patterns, the Boston-based founder of Tomma Bloom also likes to think beyond the loom about form. “Traditionally, textiles are a flat medium,” she tells Business of Home. “My work reimagines them as 3D structures.”
Born in Tel Aviv and raised in central Israel, Lerental grew up surrounded by art and design. “My grandmother was a textile artist,” she says. “I spent my childhood days working with her—obsessing about all the fine details, textures and colors.” With that rich familial history as her foundation, she studied textile design at the Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art in Ramat Gan, Israel, before earning a master’s of arts degree in multidisciplinary art at Tel Aviv University. “I was immersed in the tools of the trade and curious how I could use them to transform traditional textiles into tangible experiences,” says Lerental.
After graduation, Lerental moved to New York, where she lived off commissions and freelance projects before launching Tomma Bloom in 2019. Though she relocated to Boston not long after, she presented her inaugural collection, Sonia & René, at WantedDesign Manhattan in 2021 to rave reviews. “It’s a contemporary interpretation of the art deco aesthetic featuring nine fabrics and a pair of 3D wall tile motifs inspired by artist Sonia Delaunay’s bold geometric paintings and the tiny embellishments in René Lalique’s glass designs,” she says of the series.
All of Lerental’s patterns begin as mixed-media compositions she crafts by hand using paper cutouts and gouache. Once she’s settled on a certain configuration, the design is photographed and then digitally manipulated before being printed small-batch style on 100 percent cotton fabric. “This [process] allows me to deconstruct traditional forms and shapes, and rework them into something more contemporary,” she says.
All of Lerental’s patterns begin as mixed-media compositions she crafts by hand using paper cutouts and gouache. Once she’s settled on a certain configuration, the design is photographed and then digitally manipulated before being printed small-batch style on 100 percent cotton fabric.
To forge her imaginative wall designs, she relies on CAD software and a 3D printer to translate the patterns into distinct molds that she uses to hand-cast each individual tile. “The tiles are made of polymer-modified gypsum that’s both indoor- and outdoor-friendly,” she explains. “And since every mold is unique, each tile can be customized in any size or color to create a seamless 3D repeat.”
Although form reigns supreme for Lerental, color—particularly eye-catching hues such as cobalt blue, bright orange and fuchsia—plays a key role in her designs too. “Color has a transformative power, and therefore serves as a medium through which I can explore different shapes and patterns,” she says.
On May 15, Lerental will launch her latest collection, Meta Ornament, at WantedDesign Manhattan during the NYCxDesign Festival. The series spans 10 kaleidoscopic upholstery fabrics as well as four wall tile designs composed of MDF and plaster. “I wanted to dive deeper into ornamental textiles,” she says. “By incorporating hard, nontraditional materials into my designs, I give them a modern look.”
Homepage photo: Rhythm Two, Dots and Grid upholstery fabric by Tomma Bloom | Roni Cnanni