Seasonal Layers: Pillows from Kevin O’Brien Studio
Transitioning between seasons doesn’t need to be an all-or-nothing gesture: instead, segue subtly, with meaningful swap-outs.
A favorite cue for fall: lush pillows from the incomparable Kevin O’Brien. A consummate artist, O’Brien began designing textiles as an extension of his painting practice, both of which he based out of a barn outside of Philadelphia in the late 1990s. “As a painter, Kevin’s goals are to add beauty to the world and meaning to his own life,” his studio website states. “Kevin believes that ‘with beauty and meaning, inspiration comes naturally, often, and from everywhere,’ so it was a natural transition when he made the switch from traditional painting to textiles.”
In the beginning, O’Brien painted scarves for fashion designers, and soon expanded to luxury outlets such as Saks, Neiman Marcus, Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Our own Showroom Manager Judy Baer met him in these early days and sourced his handmade pieces for her Philly clients; working with him again—now in Jackson—represents a full-circle moment in her illustrious design career.
Today, Kevin O’Brien Studio works from two character-rich locations: a converted movie theater in South Philly—where all designing, printing, painting, dying and sewing occurs—and a small workshop in Kathmandu, Nepal—site of embroidery and weaving. In tandem, the studios create a plethora of home products ranging from pillows and quilts to rugs, duvets and throws.
In Twenty Two Home (as in the spaces designed by our sister Snake River Interiors), Kevin O’Brien pillows lend magic wherever they are placed, be it atop an antique bench or accenting a custom mohair sofa. Every pillow produced by the studio tells a story—of creativity, of care, of skill, of community. Committed to craftsmanship, O’Brien only sources the finest fibers and makes each run to order. True to his painterly roots, his palette is refreshingly vivid: think Caribbean teals, peacock purples and opalescent neutrals. For fall, we particularly love his silk velvet pillows, which come in a dizzying array of designs from a burnout pattern based on brushstrokes to jewel-like ombres.
Channeling the flush of wearing a perfect accessory, O’Brien imagines homewares as moment-makers: “Everyone from NYC art lovers to interior designers are gaga over his beautiful artistry, and his following continues to grow among those that appreciate the finest fibers, handmade craftsmanship, and dynamic design sense."