5 Under 40 Awards are presented by New England Home magazine and spotlight the hottest emerging talent in New England’s residential design categories: architecture, interiors, specialty design (furniture, textiles, lighting, accessories, and other home products), and landscape design.
These rugs will be auctioned off in person at the gala on Sept 15th with all the proceeds going directly to Barakat a Cambridge, Massachusetts–based charity that works to strengthen education and literacy in Central and South Asia. The 5 Under 40 rug auction has been the #1 fund raiser for Barakat over the past decade and has helped build schools, pay teachers, provide transportation and health care to thousands of girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Selected by an exceptional committee of regional design leaders, 5 Under 40 award winners are the people to watch, producing some of the most beautiful and innovative work available today.
The prominent design principle in my work is largely informed by site specific design and nature. My rug inspiration is derived from two prominent mountain ridges that have had a profound impact on my life and work: the Palisades in Olympic Valley, California and Mount Mansfield in Stowe, Vermont. I had the pleasure of living and working in Tahoe and admiring the dramatic ridgeline of the Palisades, and Mount Mansfield is often highlighted in my work throughout Vermont. The offset profiles create a subtle pattern and texture to compliment my architecture. My goal was to create a comfortable rug with an understated pattern that is rich in texture and celebrates the natural beauty of the mountains.
Twelve Chairs Interiors
The butterfly, a symbol of femininity and transformation, was chosen to reflect Barakat’s female focused, change driven mission. The silhouette on the rug is of a butterfly species native to Afghanistan.
SHAPE: Because it is a runner, the rug intentionally has no top or bottom. The butterflies travel in both directions.
PALETTE: As an interior designer who seeks out rugs with interesting color combinations, designing a rug with a multi-colored palette was a must!
CONSTRUCTION: The decision to pair flat weave with pile was informed by the work of Swedish rug designer Märta Måås-Fjetterström (the studio she founded in 1919 is still in existence today!)
When faced with unlimited possibilities (no client!? no budget!? no preexisting requirements!?) I went back to the core principles that guide my approach to design and interiors: timeless style, livable luxury, and effortless elegance - all with a fresh sensibility. The final result is rooted in traditional design, but reimagined in the combination of materials used throughout. The series of concentric borders are produced in a luxurious silk pile and the repeating greek key motifs are woven in a matte wool, all grounded on a natural jute field to create a current yet classic textural floor covering.
Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design
I was born to be outdoors. I am fascinated by nature: Its rhythms, its persistence, and its perfection of patterns. I was raised at the beach, and I find peace in the forest. I am at home in, on, or near the ocean.
I learned I was a 5 Under 40 winner while in the US Virgin Islands -- My second home, where I’ve made countless memories with family and friends. After hurricanes Irma and Maria decimated St. Thomas, my daughters and I found a sprouted coconut and planted it at our family beach. A memory was made and an appreciation was passed down. This coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) will shade our family for many years to come, and those who pause to study it closely may gain a greater appreciation of our environment and of nature’s amazing creations.
If you know anything about me, it’s that I love my dog, and well, maybe just a little obsessed with him. But honestly, who can blame me? Maybe it’s the fact that he’s a rescue pup, the best cuddler, or that he will be your best bud, but he’s really just the coolest dog.
I wanted to use Kona as inspiration for my design. I’ve always admired his coloring, being an Australian Shepard/Cattle Dog mix. Over the years, his spots have continually grown more prominent, and I wanted to reflect that aspect through the background of the rug. It’s a mix of undyed yarns to create the effect of the deeper, darker grey coming forward.
Looking more closely as his paws and legs, he has an interesting ombre effect with his spots that fade from dark to light. With that, the vision was to recreate that ombre with a more geometric pattern running along the rug. Carving out the pattern made it stand out a bit more. The overall end result of the rug is a mix of a warm toned geometric pattern along a classic undyed wool mix to represent his coloring.