February 1, 2019

8 Q’s With…Erik Savage of The Alpha Workshops

The Alpha Workshops and Benjamin Moore teamed up for the first time to debut a new collection of premium wallpapers, The Capsule Collection. This collection uses several popular patterns that are already in The Alpha Workshops’ portfolio and reimagines them with Benjamin Moore premium paints. To find out more about this collaboration, we sat down with Erik Savage, The Alpha Workshop’s wallpaper production manager, to discuss the nonprofit’s latest collaboration with Benjamin Moore.

For those who may not know, what is The Alpha Workshops and what does it bring to the design community?  

The Alpha Workshops is the nation’s only nonprofit organization providing decorative arts education and employment to at-risk youths and adults with disabilities or other vulnerabilities. The Alpha Workshops Studios is an award-winning professional decorative arts atelier staffed exclusively by Alpha Workshops Studio School graduates. In addition to our hand-painted wallpapers, The Studios offer a full spectrum of decorative arts services to interior designers and architects, including traditional custom decorative paint and plaster finishes, gilding, and on-site art installations.   

Where did the idea to create the Capsule Collection come from?

The idea for the Capsule Collection grew from the strong relationship we have with Benjamin Moore and a mutual desire to partner on a new project available exclusively through their showrooms and retail locations. 

Photography courtesy of Benjamin Moore and The Alpha Workshops.

How did The Alpha Workshops and Benjamin Moore select the five wallpaper patterns used in the collection?

We wanted to offer an assortment of patterns, including a floral, a geometric, and an abstract. They represent some of the best sellers in our Painted Papers and Texture collections.

How did The Alpha Workshops and Benjamin Moore settle on the collection’s color palettes and paints?

It was a very collaborative effort. We definitely wanted to feature Benjamin Moore’s premium Century paints in each colorway. We used Aura for our neutrals, along with hints of glamorous Studio Finishes metallic glazes. It was important to create colorways that were both dramatic and useful, inviting and inspiring.

Photography courtesy of Benjamin Moore and The Alpha Workshops.

Can you walk me through the process of creating the wallpapers? 

Our wallpaper studio artisans use a number of processes and techniques to create our papers. Our Texture Collection (including Horizon and Spencer) is glazed and then carefully folded using a technique inspired by origami before being painted by hand. Our Painted Papers are block printed using hand-carved stamps and templates, glazed, combed, troweled or brushed, depending on the pattern. Each roll can take a day or more to create.    

Why do you think products that are handmade have such a draw for designers?

In this digital age, the handcrafted piece stands out as something made just for the client, something no one else has the exact copy of. Each roll of our wallpaper is hand painted by a highly skilled artisan, and though they match from roll to roll, the artist’s hand is evident and is what makes our paper extraordinary.

How does the Capsule Collection further the mission of The Alpha Workshops?

The Capsule Collection introduces The Alpha Workshops to the designers who visit Benjamin Moore online or in select showrooms and retail locations across the country, in Canada, and London. I am inspired by Benjamin Moore’s support and by their product – I hope we inspire others to use color, support our mission, and specify the Capsule Collection.

Recent DesignWire