IIDA MERGE 2023 Fashion Show

Williams + Paddon | 19six Architects was thrilled to participate in MERGE 2023. We always look forward to this scholarship fundraiser produced by the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Northern California Chapter. This annual event pairs interior building materials manufacturers with architectural/design firms who use donated materials to make an ensemble that will eventually walk the runway.

We were given access to eight sponsors material libraries to incorporate into our design:

  1. Patcraft
  2. Steelcase
  3. Haworth
  4. Emser Tile
  5. Panolam
  6. Seats and Stations
  7. Concentric Spaces
  8. Focal Point Lighting

Creative Brief + Inspiration

The design challenge this year was e-MERGE-ing Designers. We celebrated the creative talent of our future — artists, designers, content creators under 30. The emerging designer whose work inspired our design was Aurélie Fontan. We worked at creating an ensemble that embodies both her aesthetic and her sustainability mission.

Let the brainstorm begin…

Once we got our team, we started the brainstorming process. We all came up with sketches, voted on our favorites, and then combined them together to inform our final design. We decided on our color palette and developed our concept to emulate the spirit of Aurélie Fontan’s body of work.

Starting work…

After we settled on a final design, we commenced work. We ordered all our materials from our sponsors, met as a team, and began to pull it all together. The design team spent several volunteer hours creating all the intricate weaving and textures within our materials. Aurélie Fontan’s work embraces a cross-disciplinary approach to textile-making and biomaterials—we wanted to stay true to that hand-crafted aesthetic.

Pulling it all together…

Drawing from our designer’s innovative approach to repurposing materials, we used unconventional materials to create as much texture as possible.

Our cape was tailored from Designtex Fabric, supplied by Steelcase. It is decorated with woven strips of leather made from leather scraps provided by Concentric Spaces on top of seat backing mesh from Seats and Stations. We used that same mesh to hide lighting we received from ALR Lighting on the sides of the cape and showcased carpet fibers from Patcraft that we braided together to create a DIY macramé cord. We then cut a diamond-shaped woven pattern, incorporating more leather strips into it. The same carpet fibers and leather were used to give texture to the front edges of the cape as well.

The white outfit underneath was made of Brisa fabric from Haworth. We cut small slits in the skirt to create a net-like effect and add more texture. Team Captain Robin printed out a CAD pattern of the exact widths, lengths, and spacing we needed in order to achieve the right look. Our volunteer team spent several design sessions meticulously cutting each slit. Our bodice utilized the same Haworth fabric as a base, with a custom patterned mosaic of tiles from Emser Tile.

We fabricated a plastic laminate skirt to add a splash of color when it is revealed on the runway. Panolam provided these laminates, and the team punched individual holes in all four corners and linked them together with split rings to create the right kinetic effect. We went through a few different iterations on how we would reveal the laminates until our team landed on the right dramatic sequence moments before our model walked the stage!

Completing our bold design are accessories for hair and jewelry made from acoustic felt, courtesy of Focal Point.

Every year we surprise ourselves with how much we can stretch our creativity and come up with something unique. – Robin Bugbee

19six Creative Team:

Robin Bugbee (Team Captain)
Eliza Premo (Model)
Ann Lee
Melissa Schramm
Frances Tracy-Black
Irina Bergman
Rachel Han
Tina Hamilton
Caitlin Gilbert
Jiajia Feng

Thank you so much to our 19six supporters who joined the creative team at the event; Naaz, Joe, Jason, Al, Chris, Regina, and Presley.

My favorite part of MERGE, other than the actual runway show, is the collaboration over these past few months—especially this year. Having volunteers from four different 19six offices all working together, we were able to spend quality time and get to know talented people across the company.

Eliza Premo
Interior Designer