As Senior Hospitality Designer for Milliken’s floor covering division, Kristin Gruenefeld’s innovative approach to floor covering is born out of a market need to provide elevated, performance-driven surfaces with distinct aesthetics. Kristin’s solutions blend two seemingly incongruous elements – function and aesthetic – to bring to life an interior designer’s vision for high-volume spaces like hotels and restaurants.
In our latest associate spotlight, Kristin shares why designing for hospitality interiors is more than what meets the eye.
Q: Where do you find inspiration?
Inspiration can be found everywhere these days. Sometimes I go looking for it, so I peruse websites like WGSN or Design Milk, and other times it just hits me while I’m cleaning the house.
Q: What drew you to textile design?
My background is in graphic design mainly, but after moving to LaGrange, Georgia, with my husband, textiles sort of found me. I was hired into our mats business, where I was able to utilize my graphics background, and I grew to my current position in our Hospitality business.
Q: How do your designs enhance the way people experience spaces?
User experience is a critical element of an interior designer’s overall goal for a space, and because we are so adept at customization, Milliken is able to design floor covering to support a variety of environments. Due to the sheer volume of floors in most hospitality projects, the floor contributes significantly to achieve the desired visitor experience. Flooring needs to support the space’s function – not the other way around.
Q: How do you integrate technology into your designs?
I incorporate technology from start to finish when designing floor covering. Whether it is deciding what machinery to use, what yarn type is needed to create a specific type of high-performance carpet base, or using design software to create a one-of-a-kind custom pattern, technology is at the forefront of every step in the process.
Q: What is your favorite part of working with Milliken?
Two of the things I really like about working for Milliken are the opportunities we’re given to learn and grow from within the company and the people I’m fortunate to work with everyday. To learn, grow, and bond with some of the best professionals in the industry is something that is irreplaceable.
Q: What does good design mean to you, and how do you bring that out in your designs?
Good design can be many things. For the Hospitality market, I believe good design is about creating a floor covering solution that supports the interior designer’s vision for a space while offering robust and quality characteristics to appeal to the end-user.
Q: What do you like to do when you're not working?
As a mother of two, I try to keep my kids busy and engaged. Currently, we are making the most of summer, spending a lot of time swimming in the pool, riding bikes, and getting together with friends and family.
Q: Could you share any insight or tips for young students and designers interested in textile design, and specifically, floor covering?
Speaking from the perspective of hospitality design, you must master the art of the repeating pattern. I encourage all aspiring textile designers to know how to create all-over repeating patterns that are even and flowing without distracting pattern lines and bands. As a general tip for recent graduates, find a company, however big or small, and jump right in. The hands-on experience of working to create a product is the most powerful tool to advance your career.
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