Spotlight on Clemence Hardelay, Creative Matters Inc.
Hi Clemence, thanks for speaking with the team! Can you tell us about your current role and key responsibilities in the design industry?
As a project manager and senior designer, I am in charge of developing new markets within Europe and Asia and establishing new relationships within the cruise ship industry. I also manage a team of designers with whom I create carpet patterns that reflect our clients’ requirements and vision. When possible I like to take the time to design as well.
What inspired you to join Creative Matters Inc.?
Creative Matters specializes in custom carpets and wallcoverings for luxury hotels, boutique retailers, stylish offices, private residences, diplomatic missions, and cruise ship lines globally. The company has been designing area rugs and carpeting for over 30 years, so the expertise within our team means we are able to add a lot of value to our clients across a broad scope of projects. The carpet qualities we are able to offer, the luxury of working with the finest artisans and manufacturers, plus the advantage of working one on one with our clients, make the company quite exceptional. What attracted me the most was being able to create contemporary designs translated into carpets through traditional production techniques such as hand-knotting and hand-tufting. Our business is now evolving and growing across different specifications such as designing carpets for cruise ships, which is a very exciting and challenging new aspect of my role.
Can you tell us about a project that was particularly interesting or challenging?
If I had to choose one particular project, I would, beyond doubt, talk about Celebrity Edge. When we were approached to work on this ship, we had already collaborated with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL) on a couple of projects, but the approach for Edge was different. The level of detail, luxury finishes and contemporary design of the ship was inspiring and overwhelming at the same time.
We were asked to work hand in hand with the RCCL team as well as the interior designers in charge of each space. With our expertise in design, colour and our technical knowledge, we were able to achieve approved samples quickly. Our familiarity with working with interior designers resulted in contemporary designs that fit the aesthetic of each space.
What considerations must you account for when designing for the cruise market?
Several aspects are key before starting any project, but I would say that for cruise ships the main questions we always ask are repeat sizes, amount of colours allowed and width of the goods. These aspects will define the creative direction we take tailoring our custom artworks to the Colortec or Woven Axminster techniques. Another major aspect of our design approach is the colour selection. We carefully pick colours to enhance the complementary finishes and the look of the spaces we work on.
For the longest time, carpets in cruises were relegated to standard patterns with dated colorations. We now see the industry is really trending towards elevating the ships’ interiors to more contemporary, elegant and refined spaces with interesting and customized carpet patterns.
Are there any key opportunities or challenges faced by the design industry at present?
Up to now, we have been hired as design consultants, creating patterns and files in the required format for production. To enhance our capabilities, developing relationships with the interior designers who are awarded each project earlier on in the design stage might be helpful. This way we can better understand the overall vision they are hoping to achieve. We always aim to have large repeat patterns for big spaces, and sometimes this is hard to have the clients understand that it’s important for the aesthetic.
Can you tell us about any upcoming design trends?
Most of the projects we have recently been working on are for the luxury hospitality sector and we have noticed that the approach for cruise ships is very similar. We feel that for the longest time, carpets in cruises were relegated to standard patterns with dated colourations. We now see the industry is really trending towards elevating the ships’ interiors to more contemporary, elegant and refined spaces with interesting and customized carpet patterns.
Who are you looking to meet and what do you hope to achieve at Cruise Ship Interiors Expo Miami?
We are delighted to be able to showcase our design capabilities and our IMO certified floorcoverings. We are also excited to meet people from the design industry and connect with more cruise lines. We are also developing a very new product for wallcoverings suitable for the cruise ship industry that we are excited to launch at the show.