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Soft Century

photo by Kenneth Morhman and art direction by Elizabeth Sonenfeld

We're so pleased that Katherine Entis of Soft Century is creating some special work for us in celebration of Design Week Portland 2018. We're so smitten by this textile designer's rich textures and quirky color palettes that we can't help but applaud her recent decision to leave the world of corporate color design to devote herself full time to creating such deliciousness. We have that in common--I took the leap from my job as a brand color director about a year and a half ago, to join my business partner full time in the winkel. So when we got together to start planning the show we had to spend a little time sharing some gratitude for our former design lives, as well as nerding out on color. Here are a few excerpts from our conversation:  

Q: Tell us a little about your background as a color designer.

Working as a color designer was my first experience isolating a skill that has always been a big part of my work and identity and as an artist. It was the first time that I started to understand the power of color as a strategic tool. It can be used to pull disparate things together or make something stand out as unique in a crowd of sameness. Color affects us on so many levels, and I feel lucky that I was able to devote a long time in my life to its study.  

Q: Would you call yourself a color nerd? What's the nerdiest thing you've done in pursuit of color?

I mix my lipstick colors together. Instead of 4 colors, I have endless possibilities. 

Q: Every designer needs inspiration. What really makes you swoon? 

My latest inspiration is Looney Tunes. I have been creating landscapes of places that I've experienced for longer than I can remember, but recently, I've been really interested in building on imaginary landscapes. The stylized landscapes of Road Runner and Marvin the Martian fascinate me because they adhere strictly to a certain set of rules, but because of the nature of the show and of animation in general, are also volatile and unpredictable. 

Q: Where did the name Soft Century come from?

The name has multiple levels of meaning. It was a name I just couldn't get out of my head and kept coming back to. I like how it sounds, with the word "Soft" is juxtaposed against the grand and impersonal word: "Century". Soft Century is inspired by the renewed appreciation for the process of hand-making goods that this century has seen. The name is a bit ironic as well as this century has been anything but soft, but I hope that our designs can help customers create a space that feels safe and like a true home.

Come check out the work of Katherine and two other guest designers during our

OPEN HOUSE

Wednesday, April 18

4:00-7:00

You'll find more Design Week open houses in the neighborhood at that time, so make a downtown dinner reservation for 7:30, check this map, and plot your course! You'll find appetizers, drinks, and lots of great design along the way.