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If there is one book to buy before 2016 is over, it must be Peter Koepke’s ‘Patterns – Inside the Design Library‘. This pattern lover’s dream book offers a snoop inside the Hudson Valley Design Library, the world’s largest archive of patterns and textiles. Browse through centuries of textiles, iconic prints and lost patterns from the past. A must have visual resource for anyone who designs, buys or loves prints & patterns. Patternbank interviewed Peter to get a further insight into the Design Library.

Q. The Design Library – when was it established, how many patterns does the archive hold and how do your clients use your service?

A. The Design Library was founded in 1972 by Susan and Herb Meller.  I joined the Library in 1990 and acquired it in 2002.  The Design Library holds an estimated seven million unique designs dating from the 1700s to the present.  Our clients visit our London or New York archive studios or we may visit them in their own offices.  We also have an online subscription access called KOSMOS™ with approaching 20,000 digitized designs.  Usually clients send us direction or stories that we use to put together arrays of designs from the archive.  Our classification system uses 1200 categories, making the search easy and quick.  We then either sell or license the designs that our clients choose.  We place designs exclusively with one client at a time.

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Q.How did you get into vintage patterns?

A. I first fell under the spell of the patterns found on tribal textiles and pottery of the Peruvian Amazon which I collected for nearly 20 years.  It was not the vintage idea that appealed to me, but rather the cultural significance of pattern and how it can move across the centuries and continents.  In fact today the Design Library is so much more than a vintage collection.  We have collected and catalogued designs from the recent and distant past in the service of professional designers.  Today, pattern and texture from the Design Library can drive trends in fashion and interior design.

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Q. Do you have a personal favourite decade or pattern collection that you adore ?

A. There are a few that I find wonderful now.  Oberkampf date from the 1770s and are among the earliest commercially printed textiles.  They look fresh and chic today and have a chapter in the book PATTERNS.  I also love Japanese design, especially stencil printed or tie dyed indigo, also featured in PATTERNS.

Peter Koepke is the owner and director of the Design Library, located in Hudson Valley, New York, and London. He joined the company in 1990, after fifteen years as a collector and dealer, during which time he created seminal art collections for museums, universities, corporations, and individuals throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, and Japan. Peter now travels extensively in search of coveted collections to expand the Design Library’s archives.

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Image credits: Mark Mahaney, and the design images copyright The Design Library.  The 3D images of the book courtesy Phaidon.

An insider’s guide to the world’s largest archive of patterns and textiles, the source of inspiration for designers everywhere. Every season, designers from fashion, home furnishings, textiles, graphic arts, and paper-product industries seek inspiration from patterns to bring their collections to life. Many of these designers – including Beacon Hill, Boden, Calvin Klein, Clinique, Colefax & Fowler, Lululemon, Nike, Oscar de la Renta, Pottery Barn, and Target – look to the Design Library, the world’s largest archive of surface design. This one-of-a-kind book, drawn from the Design Library’s archive, is an exclusive and ultimate sourcebook of pattern and ornament. Available at Phaidon or Amazon.