Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Style Talk: Alex Bates, Creative Director, West Elm

West Elm Creative Director Alex Bates

I remember the first time I picked up a West Elm catalog.  I immediately fell in love with the company's unique and colorful designs.  In my home you'll see many West Elm pieces from my oversized chunky coffee table, to my Moroccan-inspired bed.  I have always gravitated to the company's philosophy - modern style at an affordable price.

Today I'm excited to bring to you our May Style Talk Interview with West Elm's Senior Vice President and Creative Director Alex Bates!  Alex is here to share the company's philosophy and news about a designer collaboration you are going to love.

We know that every season brings new collections with new visions, but can you tell us about the central philosophy that guides West Elm’s designs?
At West Elm we are focused on developing a product that is modern, simple, smart, clean, authentic, global and affordable.

West Elm

You mentioned affordability, as Creative Director how do you ensure that collections continue to offer modern design at an affordable price?
I make sure to work closely with our entire team – design, sourcing, and merchandising to make sure that we’re producing products that meet our aesthetic goals but that can still be offered at a price that’s approachable to our customers. Good design doesn’t have to be expensive.  In fact, I think making something affordable is one aspect of good design.

West Elm

What is the vision behind West Elm’s Summer 2010 collection?
For Summer 2010 we're focused on products that bring the outside in and items that make the outdoors feel more like home.  We're interested in pairing natural materials with various textures and colors to make the collection pop.

West Elm
Can you tell us about the color palette for Summer 2010?
Color is a big part of each collection and when we’re thinking of collections, color is almost always our starting place. White, earth tones, patterns and textures are definitely the colors and aesthetics that inspired our Summer 2010 collection.

What are you favorite pieces from this year’s Summer collection?
I’m all about pillows – I love the PATCH NYC collection of course, our new Aid to Artisan Pillows (solid silk handloomed), and I’m obsessed with the way our Deconstructed Rose Pillow Cover turned out. I think the Weathered Wood Table and Floor Lamps are pretty amazing as well. 

West Elm

Please tell us about West Elm’s collaboration with Patch NYC. How did this come about?
I knew PATCH NYC’s Don Carney and John Ross from way back.  I’ve been an admirer of their designs and art and dreamed of ways we could work together. I ran into them at a show not too long ago and the wheels started turning. It’s exciting for us to be able to bring their creations to a broader audience at a lower price point.

West Elm

Can we expect more designer collaborations from West Elm in the future?
YES. Wait until you see the holiday assortment…

Our readers love learning about new design trends. Any trends for 2010 that they should incorporate into their interior?
Layers of white, a mix of textures, natural materials, and HANDCRAFTED and artisanal pieces.

West Elm

Thank you so much Alex for sharing West Elm's style philosophy with us!  I definitely can't wait to see what's next.

{images: west elm}


  1. Way to go, Jeanine! This was great! :)

  2. Thanks Chante! It was so much fun to interview Alex, especially since I've been loving West Elm for so long. You know how obessessed I am with the store.

  3. thanks for this post. love WE.

  4. I'm so so jealous you got to chat w her. love west elm and the new chic look. Alex does a great job.


  5. Dallas, West Elm is definitely getting it right. The designs this year have been fantastic! My favorite has been the unique lighting at such affordable prices.

  6. many beautiful things to love in their new collection. The pillows are so pretty...thanks for this!

  7. You are welcome! I love all of the fun accessories. That's one of my favorite things about West Elm.

  8. These are gorgeous I love the pillows.

    True Queen

  9. I have fallen in love with West Elm and I wish I could redecoate every room in my house with items from them. Love 'em.

    Peace, Love and Chocolate

  10. West Elm is one of my favorite stomping grounds! I was so excited when one went up in my neighborhood, literally less than 2 miles away! Great inspiration, wonderful nature inspired themes and a pleasure for the eye! Can't wait for the next collection!


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