“Only Jouffre and Declercq Passementiers could help execute the new vision for the showroom — the companies’ crafts communicate a sense of history, exemplary in the work. It was a truly collaborative process and both parties contributed tremendously beautiful ideas beyond execution alone. We were able to walk through the showroom space together and talk about possibilities for what I had envisioned. I also wanted to offer a platform to both Jouffre and Declercq to demonstrate their craftsmanship which many may not see because it is so grand and intricate, often reserved for private residences.”

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Zak Profera started his studio having in mind a beautiful vision of an iconic duo, a man and his dog traveling the world in search of adventures and inspirations. This vision is at the core of the project, as the founder of the studio always imagines a narrative and story behind each project and collection. Zak’s work is always inspired by history, myth and folklore of different cultures picked up from his travels.

“I had a narrative in my head for what the company could be about — the idea of a man and his dog as literal characters in an adventure story — an archetypical duo that so many people can relate to. Inquisitive and observational, they traverse through our stories driven to learn by a genuine and authentic curiosity.”

This peculiar atmosphere and spirit is very much highlighted in Zak+Fox’s showroom and studio. The space is hidden in a historic building in NYC and has recently been remodeled with the help of two of Par Excellence’s partners, Jouffre and Declercq Passementiers. Zak looked to many references throughout the process of designing the space. “Our tool kit is composed of all of our textiles, which are generally contemporary or alternative takes on traditional works. They are often not literal translations of antique textiles, but many of them can fit into classic or modern environments.”

The result is hypnotizing and unique as it carries on Zak+Fox’s fantastic universe.

Despite knowing very little about how it all worked, Zak Profera made his way into the industry to pursue his passion. “I was extremely interested about the process of making something, from inception to the final product. I had come from a marketing background but had always loved design. Textiles were always a passion, and I always felt drawn to the stories they told — I wanted to learn as much as I could, and share those ideas with a larger audience. For me, the most compelling part of what we do is that we engage with something material and along the way, discover its layered meaning and history.”

Drawing inspirations from various trips around the world, Zak believes in mixing cultures and styles to bring another dimension to his work. “While we look to stories, legends, and cultures to guide the collection, the most beautiful part of it all is that you see how different parts of the world all speak to one another despite being oceans apart. You see ikat dyeing techniques appear in a multitude of cultures, for example, whether or not that information was shared at one point or another.  I think the most beautiful thing about what we do is that craft and design can work as a language — in the eclecticism is a common thread that unites us all — that we are able to connect through something visual, or that we are able to find beauty in another’s culture or story.”

The studio is quite diversified in the way they create their products. They work with large companies and industrial manufacturing, but the core of what they create comes from handcrafted textiles. “Whether we start with something hand painted and translate that to printed textiles, or we work with a team of tremendously talented weavers, our mission is to create something with genuine spirit within it.”

“Working with the teams provided space to experiment and work outside of my comfort zone. In design, it is quite easy to work with the familiar. The new style of our showroom is not something I’ve worked with previously as it is incredibly layered, and together we were able to create something quite grand.”

For the new showroom, Zak trusted Jouffre for the curtains and shades as well as the wall-upholstery, and Declercq Passementiers for the trimmings.

Photos by © Stephen Kent Jonhson