If you were to walk by Bryant Park today, you'd see something a cross between a trade show, a petting zoo, and a fantastical Dr. Seuss illustration. Announcing its U.S. debut, the Campaign for Wool
has transformed the park into a wool wonderland, complete with a glamorously appointed "wool salon" designed by Gensler
's Thomas Vecchione and swathed in fabrics and carpeting by Campaign for Wool partners including Camira
, Brintons Carpets
, and ABC Home
Since its launch by HRH The Prince of Wales in England in 2010, the Campaign has sought to raise awareness about wool as a durable, sustainable, and beautiful material. Water in the park's iconic fountain has been swapped out for towering sculptures of scoured wool, and there's a steady crowd of passersby flocking around a pen of sheep on the lawn, all of whom seem remarkably unfazed by their foray into Midtown.
"The response has been amazing. We see the campaign as a collaborative effort, a coming together of people from all segments of the wool industry," says spokeswoman Bridgette Kelly. "We wanted New Yorkers to get a chance to see some things they don't see every day, like beautiful textiles--and, of course, sheep," says Vecchione of the event's inspiration.
New York-based interior designer Steven Gambrel
, who has used the material in both traditional and surprising applications, kicked off the event with a talk this morning. "Nature provides such authentic textures that have their own personality and language," Gambrel says. He named the common denominator of wool's appeal in all its forms: "Wool has the warmth we're always looking to lend a space."
Case in point: the cozy carpet and plush sofas had schoolchildren and buttoned-up professionals alike treating the park like an expansive outdoor living room, with one visitor going so far as to lie down and take the Vi-Spring
wool mattress on display for a test-drive.
If you're in New York and you want to get out there and "join the flock," there's still time--"Wool Uncovered" is open until 6 PM tonight. The organization hopes to throw a flagship event each year going forward.