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May 2010


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Outdoor Primer
Produced by Lindsay Abrams and Annette M. Rose-Shapiro

DESIGNERS SOUND OFF ON CREATING STYLISH SPACES OUTSIDE

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JANUS et Cie

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While restoring her grandmother Esther's antique kitchen table and chairs, JANUS et Cie founder Janice Feldman literally uncovered a secret—they were made of paper. That inspired her to produce a line of furniture using the unique method of looming invented by Marshall Burns Lloyd in 1906. Feldman teamed up with Vincent Sheppard to create Loom. Paying homage to Lloyd's original designs, Loom products are not only timeless, but the updated weaving process ensures that they last a lifetime.

Are most people surprised to learn that your Loom line is made from paper? Yes! It's assumed that woven, or wicker, furniture is made from rattan, but wickering is only the process — any material can be used. The Loom line is made from paper twine, reinforced with wire for strength and woven on 18-foot-high looms. When I began restoring my grandmother's table, I could tell that something was different — it weighed less and wasn't as creaky as rattan. When I tried to remove the paint, I found it was made of paper. I met Vincent Sheppard in Paris, and we spoke about our love of furniture and garden. By chance, he had a paper loom he was restoring.

Tell us about the origin of this furniture style. In the early 1900s, finely woven articles, like Navajo rugs and baskets, had caught the eye of the American collector. People of wealth, who were able to take long steamship voyages, were impressed by the high quality of the woven rattan furniture that they were finding in Asia. The pieces they brought back to the United States inspired Lloyd to develop a method of weaving with paper twine instead of rattan, making furniture that was affordable for the average American. Lloyd's furniture grew in popularity, especially in the Midwest, where it was made, and it reflected the typical Craftsman-era aesthetic.

What's new about the Loom line? JANUS et Cie offers 150 models for indoors and out. The indoor line comes in 26 colors and the outdoor line in eight. We also make cushions to order and stock 165 different fabrics. Our updated method ensures the Loom line is made to last, and we advise our customers to protect it from UV rays, pollution and the elements.

How does Loom fit into the JANUS et Cie philosophy? Janus, the two-headed Roman god, looks back at history and forward to the future. The furniture's classical design is easy to use in a contemporary environment. I believe that something wonderfully made, with great design, high quality and pure and simple materials, can last for many generations.

 

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