Discovery Collection Inspiration

30.01.2014 § Leave a comment

Hill and Dale pillows

I keep a loose diary on where I go and what I see, but the things that impress me the most usually become burned in my mind. Those are the ones that spark design ideas and eventually become patterns for Brentano products.

The scenery and vegetation I see in different parts of the world intrigue me, and  museums are a must wherever I go. I am very curious about how people lived in ancient times, so I am often drawn into the archeological part of art museums. Some well-designed public spaces also leave memories on my mind. I remember many years ago our rep took me to see the bar/restaurant by Armani in Hong Kong where our product was installed. I still remember the layout and the entire white interior.

I’ve made a few trips to the Far East with my family and friends in recent years (including one with our National Sales Manager Jeff Frank), and my experiences there resulted in this spring’s collection. Below are some of the stories behind the inspiration from my travels that led to in this seemingly abstract rendering of the Discovery collection.

Hill and Dale

I saw these tender mountain ranges when I was in Tai Dong for a family reunion trip to Taiwan. My father-in-law, who was near 90 at that time and living in San Jose, California, wanted to make this trip. I assume he thought it was last time he would see all of his deep-rooted relatives from his hometown.

Tai Dong Mountains Tai Dong Mountains

We were on a bus tour of the entire Taiwan island, stopping at each city to visit the old timers. Tai Dong is located in the east side of the island, and along the shoreline was a winding road. I sat in the northbound bus observing the peaceful, glittering ocean on my right side and those gentle, dreamlike, blue mountains on my left. We drove for miles, and the mountains continued for miles. They were not auspiciously high mountains, but the foggy, soft atmosphere appealed to me. I did not take my eyes off them during that whole ride and completely ignored what was going on inside the bus. And that is why Hill and Dale is made of chenille, for the feeling of softness against the sharp lines of the mountains.


I’ve wanted to see the terraced fields in Yun Nan, China, so badly; I’ve been so intrigued from the photographs, but I missed my trip. I am amazed how tenacious the farmers are to overcome the steep hills to make a living. The graphic scenery is also inspiring. Brentano pattern Ascent evokes these terraced fields, again in chenille to soften the sharp graphic.

Yun Nan terracesBrentano's pattern Ascent


A visit to a restaurant in Beijing sparked my interest in Chinese window frames. The restaurant had been remodeled from an old Chinese Si He Yuan style mansion with layers and layers of courtyards. Some of the original architectural elements remained in the restaurant and mingled with the new decorations. I sketched the window frames in front of me while I ate. That particular design still requires more work before it becomes a pattern for us, but meanwhile, many more window lattice designs came into my mind. Dynamo is one result.

window lattice sketch

Sketch of the Window Lattice in Hua’s Restaurant
Gui Street, Beijing, 2010


Brentano Pattern Dynamo

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