From Fabric to Metal: The Evolving Patterns of Designer Annie Kantor

After years of working as a designer in the contract textile industry, Annie Kantor saw an opportunity to adapt her pattern design talents to a new medium: metal. In 2015 she launched Modern Metal, her Oakland-based company that makes patterned custom metal work for interior applications. Here she shares her journey to becoming a designer and creating Modern Metal, and her design process for developing a custom design.

Annie has been knitting, sewing, and making patterns from scratch since she was eleven years old, but didn’t know it could be a career until she visited the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 1992, where she earned her B.F.A. in Textile Design.

She learned how to weave and silkscreen, and honed her craft working in the contract textile industry designing woven upholstery and panel fabrics, serving as Head of Custom Studio at textile company Maharam.

While working on the renovation of a period home in Oakland, Annie became frustrated by the lack of design options available for metal grilles, heat registers, and vents. Seeing an opportunity to apply her expertise in repeating-pattern design, she created a line of custom metal work that blossomed into Modern Metal.

Modern Metal has developed into a collection of metal grilles, heat registers, vents, metal doors, and panels that can be customized by pattern and finish.

Prior to creating Modern Metal, Annie had never worked with metal. She finds it very similar to working with textiles in that she is just working in repeating pattern, but extremely different because metal is not nearly as forgiving as yarn. If the design doesn’t work in metal, it will literally fall apart, whereas in a weave the structure will usually hold even if the pattern is flawed.

Below Annie shares her design process for a pocket door in custom Pebbles pattern . . .

Above: Inspirational images are collected that inspire conceptual design drawings.

Above left: The conceptual design drawings are developed and refined with Pointcarre textile design CAD software.

Above right: The finished CAD drawing is used to cut the pattern in the aluminum sheet, which is then powder coated the color of iron.

Above: The finished pocket door installed in a remodeled kitchen.

View the Modern Metal profile.

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