Hide and chic: An innovator in designer hide rugs and wall hangings, Kyle Bunting is bringing his unique style to the world
Although Kyle Bunting did not study design, he was surrounded by creativity and manufacturing from an early age. “My father was in textiles and there were many mill workers and custom furniture makers in my mother’s family,” Kyle says. Shortly after he completed business studies at the University of Texas, he began investing in and renovating houses in San Francisco. Through this he was able to network with designers, many of whom introduced him to the American design scene and, in particular, animal hide. “Having accessibility to those couture elements really inspired my creativity,” Kyle explains. “That period of my life really inspired me to be a part of the industry and create something important, to make a contribution.”
Kyle was an innovator in the decorative hide rug market, reinventing the average hide into something unique and beautiful. “In the end we’re architects of the extraordinary, turning hide into rugs, wall coverings, upholstery and accessories,” Kyle claims. “We only work with one material and aim to create the finest product of its kind in the world.”
Kyle supports sustainability and environmentally friendly practices from the ground up. By using 95 per cent of the leather he purchases, he minimises waste and reduces farming costs. “We intentionally designed ways to create product, upholstery and samples from our raw materials so that the highest possible percentage of the material could be consumed,” he explains.
Kyle describes his style as “open source design”. From the beginning his company decided to simplify specification and colour work so designers could contribute to the collection. “That policy allowed designers to customise whatever we do; that is, select any colour and size, with one fixed per-squarefoot cost,” Kyle continues. This unique customisation meant the designer could get whatever they wanted as long as the budget allowed for it. “It enabled us to build the body of work faster and incorporate a more collaborative element,” reveals Kyle.
The dynamic and ever-evolving nature of the business meant Kyle could flex his design muscle by working every day on something different. Because no two clients, rooms or hides for that matter are the same, each project he worked on was challenging and unique. “I really connect with dynamism,” states Kyle. Drawing inspiration from the people he works with and his surroundings, he explains that the hardest part is accepting inspiration as it comes to you. “If you’re not in that place you’ll never see it and if you do it won’t register as deeply as it needs to.”
Currently his company is in the process of launching a woven hide wall covering. It is the first product they have co-developed with another mill. “It’s very exciting and very beautiful,” Kyle enthuses. “The pure luxury of woven hide wall coverings is something to see.”
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