Kyle Bunting is widely recognised as the creator of the decorative hide rug, elevating it to an art form status. Kyle’s work now ranges from furniture to wall art and accent floor rugs. He works with top designers to produce outstanding creations and visually-striking products. Hospitality Interiors posed him a few questions.
Growing up, what did you want to be and why?
I always thought I’d be a movie producer. It seems I had the skill set: juggling creative resources, managing a production schedule, and tossing in a bit of promotion to fill the seats.
How did you get into the trade?
I bought and renovated an apartment in San Francisco years ago, the process of working with a designer who offered me access to trade resources really opened my eyes. There is an entire world of couture furnishings that the general public doesn't even know about. While that is changing, I felt what we did was uniquely suited for those early adopting designers.
What ambitions did you harbour when starting out in business?
My goal has always been very straightforward – to be as prolific as possible. I’d be content if one day I could travel the world and see my work used in a spectrum of projects that the designer – not I – had envisioned and specified.
Cite people who were inspirational to you early in your career – and why …
My earliest inspirations came from my family, but each for different reasons. My mother’s family brought a creative side with her father and brothers being third generation, North Carolina custom furniture makers. My father was an organizational and process genius with a background in textile manufacturing and retail. And my brother can sell ice to eskimos. He helped introduce me to brand, advertising, and media points-of-view I would have never considered.
Professional career highs and lows …
There is no low, only a daily high from the feedback we receive from clients who appreciate and enjoy our work.
Name three designers practising today whose work you most admire?
We operate residentially and commercially on a global scale. We are truly blessed to work with some of the world’s finest design talent. With the sheer volume of design energy available to us, there is no way to identify a favourite. Nor would I. Each brings a unique point of view which is to be appreciated and respected.
What designs in the last 100 years do you wish you could have been responsible for and why?
There really isn’t anything I envy enough to truly covet. When you accept that there is greatness all around you it’s easier to enjoy and appreciate design as a contribution, not as an object.
What are the elements that you feel are critical to effective hospitality design?
Emotion. Each project has a soul and the designer’s role is to translate its attributes through selection.
How will the industry evolve over the coming decades?
Just in time manufacturing and digital design will evolve into our business. A golden age of manufacturing design is emerging in my opinion.
What design themes do you envisage becoming more important over the next few decades?
Efficiency. Sustainability now is about energy and waste. Phase two will be all about efficient behaviors which liberate time.
What can hospitality owners do to improve their businesses?
Elevate design as a creditable, budget item. Design is the greatest potential accelerator to a return on your investment.
What is you proudest achievement, as a designer, to date?
Establishing a new decorative category is motivating. What we created – the decorative hide rug – didn’t exist before we started. Looking back, I’m content to know we laid the groundwork and created a new and sustained category.
Your favourite specific places in the world?
My favorite places are those that allow for what I like to call ‘personal spectacle’. A place intimately moving and emotional, but on a very personal level.
Getting lost in Venice with my wife, on a brisk evening, holding hands, well dressed but in comfortable shoes is heavenly for its mystery and romance.
In the states, the Golden Gate Bridge takes my breath away every time I lay eyes on it. For me, it’s the greatest structure in the world and a marvel of art, design, and engineering.
Time travel – when would you choose and why?
1969 – Anytown, USA
I would have loved to have experienced the Moon landing - watching it on television with the world – as we collectively accomplished one of humanity’s greatest feats.
1986 – Augusta, Georgia. Jack Nicklaus came from six back to win the fiftieth Masters at age 46. It was his eighteenth major. I saw it on TV but would give anything to have been there in person. It’s my favorite sporting moment of all time.
25/12/0001 – Bethlehem. How can one explain the significance of experiencing such an event?
What do you like to do with your downtime?
What’s downtime? I’m not sure I understand, I don’t seem to get much of that these days!
My favourite things
… childhood memory
When I was a kid we moved a lot. Instead of begrudging the experience I embraced it. Learning about new places and meeting new people helped develop me in ways I am just beginning to understand.
I love historical biographies of which William Manchester is simply the best. His ‘Last Lion on Churchill’ are classics. A recent read , ‘American Caesar on Douglas Macarthur’ is fantastic!
It's not my favorite but recently I've studied and learnt of John Profumo’s return to grace after a quiet life of civil service. His humanity and his humility inspires me. I like stories of authentic redemption.
… way to travel
Light and luxurious.
… place to party
New Orleans, Louisiana.
… gadget (excluding phone/computer)
My Whirley-Pop Popcorn maker. I wholeheartedly refuse to accept or digest microwave popcorn. Long live my classic Whirley-Pop Popcorn maker!
… way to unwind
Swimming with my kids, Jack and Caroline.
Worn Cowboy boots.
Acceptance and patience.
… pearl of wisdom
By my father, Jim Bunting: “Once you’ve determined you need something, you pay for it every day whether you buy it or not.”