Hospitality Design - March 2011 - 69
pro le: maki yamamoto
By Jana Schiowitz
“I like to see materials ﬁrst and then think about what I want to do with them, or draw on a piece of paper whatever I feel like ﬁrst,” explains Maki Yamamoto, a New York-based couture fabric designer who specializes in one-of-a-kind textiles. “I usually enjoy collaborating with interior designers—they pick one of my designs and we develop a concept together from there.” Tokyo-born Yamamoto has had a strong design instinct from the time she was young: her father, a lover of art, design, and music took her to museums; her Japanese upbringing taught her about dynamic colors and antique kimono design; and she collected postcards highlighting the work of some of her favorite artists. As a trained musician at the age of 14, Yamamoto took a different path when it came time for college and studied fashion design at Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo, well known for alumni like Issey Miyake. Noted for her fashion illustrations, she turned to ﬁne art instead of fashion shortly after graduation. “I struggled for some time to ﬁgure out what I could do and what I was good at,” she says. “One of my good friends said I should just visit New York for inspiration, and so I did.” Yamamoto came to New York in 1997, and she hasn’t looked back. The move brought the inspiration she was looking for, and her concept of high-end fabrics was born. “It is a very unique textile collection— artistic and fashionable.” Her sexy, edgy, and energetic fabrics are like fashionable art for windows, room dividers, walls, pillows, and beds with lots of rufﬂes, stitching, and pleats. At the moment, Yamamoto works with vivid colors like pure blue, green, and orange and is experimenting with natural fabrics and materials like linen, cotton, and wool, inspired by everything from her family to recent travels (last year she went to Dublin, Lisbon, and Trinidad) to friends like Shiro Miyao of high-fashion brand Miyao. “I like to design for hospitality because these fabrics have a dramatic effect,” she says. www.maki-yamamoto.com
Clockwise from top left: A pillow grouping from the Konoha II collection is energetic and organic; Yamamoto’s line of bright colors called Sen Sen highlight her pleating techniques; on set with two fabric series filled with drama and texture: the ruffled and pink Sango and the very graphic Niwa; and through travel and fashion comes inspiration: a musician layered in gold dressing in Trinidad; a new look from fashion house Miyao, designed by Shiro Miyao; and a concrete wall in Lisbon covered in colorful graffiti and a café’s red signage.