Five Questions for… Madeline Weinrib

An Indagare member since 2009 and the great-granddaughter of the founder of beloved NYC treasure trove ABC Carpet & Home, Madeline Weinrib, has made a name in her own right as a world traveler and curator of globally inspired wares. With a foot in the design world from a young age, Weinrib first began her career as an artist, but soon moved into designing and has since collaborated with fashion heavyweights like Barneys and Manolo Blahnik. Nowadays, the trendsetter stocks her atelier (on the 6th floor of ABC Carpet & Home) and showrooms (101 Henry Adams St,. San Francisco; 126 5th Avenue, New York City) with her vibrant home accessories—ikat trays and pillows, hand-loomed carpets, embossed stationary—all of which draw inspiration from her global travels. Indagare spoke with Madeline about her favorite places to travel, local artisans she has met on the road and where she dreams of visiting next.

Which cities most inspire you as a designer?

My designs always have a fusion of eastern and western influences. I find that Istanbul and Venice, two cities with very rich cultures and traditions, showcase this fusion in unique ways. I visit Istanbul every year and stay the Four Seasons Sultanahmet when I want to be in the heart of the city and at Les Ottomans on the Bosphorus for a serene waterfront escape with outstanding views. I get to Venice every other year, where I opt for the grandeur of the Gritti Palace or the Danieli—the gilded glamour of each feels appropriate in the picturesque city.

Which destinations have surprised you with their wealth of local products—from textiles to centuries-old antiques? Nepal is one of the most unique places in the world for a designer. There is a wealth of local products and incredibly skilled artisans who are able to take unfamiliar materials and turn them into beautiful products. There is a large Tibetan population living in Nepal, so you can find amazing Tibetan antiques as well as excellent cashmere and wooden products. It is an especially worthwhile destination to visit because tourism is very important right now and it is crucial to support the local industries. We also recently collaborated with widows in Afghanistan who make intricately embroidered hand towels. They are beautiful and support a great cause.

How do the places you visit impact your personal style?

I pay attention to unusual color combinations when I’m traveling. For instance, Indian designs often incorporate pink and orange, and Nepal uses maroon and saffron together—pairings we often think clash with each other, but actually are quite complementary. When I am in Morocco and India I buy lots of caftans because they are comfortable and lightweight, and I wear them a lot at home and all summer long.

Where are you dreaming of visiting? Spain. I have never been, but I love Moorish architecture and it has been a longtime dream to go to Barcelona and see Gaudí’s buildings. I am also a big fan of Spanish art—Goya, in particular.

In all your travels, what would you consider your most transformative travel moment? The moment I landed in India I knew it was a place I would never forget. I felt that even if I only had 24 hours to take in the sounds, smells and sights, the long journey there would have been worth it. Since that first trip, when I visited Delhi and Jaipur, I have returned many times but I remain as overwhelmed with wonder each time I visit. My senses become alive and the fragrances, colors and constant activity in the streets are completely transfixing. India has the power to transform you, and it did so to me. I have traveled all over India now, and Mumbai is one of my favorite cities. I love all of Rajasthan, and Udaipur is one of the most romantic places I’ve ever visited. The Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur, a romantic property in the middle of Lake Pichola, is my favorite place to stay.

Published onMay 24, 2016

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