Dawn Wolfe and Ariel Okin are friends first and creative partners second. Their capsule collection of pillows, art, and lampshades was born out of their longstanding relationship. “I had been speccing Dawn’s artwork in my projects for a long time,” says interior designer Ariel. “It was just off to the races from that point. I use Dawn in every single project.”
“Ariel has such an amazing aesthetic, and her feedback, in giving me ideas around colors and the palette from which she works, influences the way I create,” says artist Dawn. “She’s pushed me and given me a vision.”
Their collection is a reimagination of classical chinoiserie. Years before this collection was brought to life, Ariel and Dawn had been tinkering with traditional patterns and prints that Dawn had saved. “I’ve been collecting archival papers for my whole life,” Dawn says. She’s traveled around the globe collecting stacks and scraps of wallpaper panels, prints, and maps. “I’ve always loved the mystery of older pieces.”
“It’s such an incredible archive to work from on my end,” says Ariel, “because Dawn was showing me these pictures of gorgeous panels, each prettier than the next. Having the originals to work from was an amazing experience.”
Together, Dawn and Ariel modified their chinoiserie lexicon. “Our intention with this collection was to have something that elevates and makes your home feel happy,” says Ariel. “Happy was a word that got thrown around a lot.” They found that sense of joy in Dawn’s fine-tuning of the colors and motifs within the collection.The yellows went brighter, the blues softer. “You can’t find accessories in this vein anywhere, in these color palettes with these patterns,” Ariel says. “The nature of what Dawn does makes the chinoiserie pieces feel fresher and the colors brighter. It eliminates any datedness, which I think is really helpful in elevating a space and making it feel fresher and younger.”
The resulting pieces are a total grandmillennial dream. The patterns are vibrant and full of life. If you take a close look at some of the designs, you might notice Dawn’s clever additions. “I love adding tidbits in, like little bugs, that maybe weren’t in chinoiserie 100 years back,” she says.
The lampshades and pillows are printed in California and constructed of Belgian linen. “This collection is all about craftsmanship and optimism,” Ariel says. “We really wanted to make a product you would otherwise have to make custom in a workroom, but now you don’t have to.”
Dawn agrees, adding, “If we don’t want it in our house, then we don’t want to make it.”