Conversations in Context

Michael Maharam + Paul Makovsky

Conversations in Context invited leaders from creative fields to reflect on the site’s past, present, and future, and to contribute their perspectives on the Glass House and its significance to contemporary debates.

Michael Maharam is the creative principal of the eponymous textile company, known in design circles for its collaborations with everyone from Nike to Hella Jongerius to Paul Smith. Maharam, a fourth generation family-run business, celebrated its centennial in 2002. First renowned as a supplier of theatrical textiles, in the 1960s Maharam pioneered the contract textile concept, developing engineered textiles for commercial application. Though performance is an essential element of every product, Maharam continues to create innovative textiles through the exploration of pattern, material and technique. Maharam pursues a holistic approach to design, embracing a range of disciplines as fundamental to its business philosophy; showrooms, graphics and accessories receive the same attention to detail as product design. The Maharam Design Studio is responsible for the development of Maharam’s extensive textile collection, ranging from re-editions of enduring designs of the twentieth century’s most noted visionaries to fashion-forward concepts and materials. The Maharam Design Studio maintains a strong focus on new technologies and cultural markers, often finding inspiration beyond the textile industry, including collaborations with avant-garde industry outsiders. Conceived to foster an open dialogue across varied design disciplines, these collaborative projects also serve to introduce a fresh perspective and unexpected media into the world of textiles. New York-based Maharam offers a comprehensive collection of textiles for seating, walls, window covering, systems and healthcare applications. In North America, Maharam textiles are available to the trade and through a select group of authorized Maharam retailers.

Paul Makovsky is the editorial director of the award-winning publication Metropolis magazine. Formerly he was managing editor of 2wice magazine and a Smithsonian Fellow at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum where he worked on the exhibition and catalogue “Mixing Messages: Graphic Design in Contemporary Culture.” He recently curated the exhibition “Knoll Textiles: 1945–2010” and contributed to the accompanying catalogue (published by Yale University Press), and is currently working on a biography of the life and work of Florence Knoll.

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