Meet Lalita. With an excellent eye for design and incredible personal style, her passion for interiors is infectious. From a charming Tudor straddling the Cheery Lynn neighborhood, she operates one of Phoenix’s best-keep design secretes – Loop Architectural Materials. Inside Loop is endless inspiration with stand-out materials and hard surfaces to turn any desert home into a jewel box. We sat down with Lalita to chat about her favorite products, why she’s in love with Spanish design, and what she wishes to see more of. Enjoy.
How did you get into this line of work?
L: In the early 2000s, I was a regional manager for a company where I had the opportunity to work with a lot of independent reps. During the recession of 2007-2008, one of the companies I met through that job called to see if I knew anyone that would represent them in the Phoenix market. With that call, I jumped at the opportunity and started Loop Architectural Materials. Looking back, it was a great time to start a business. That slower time afforded me the opportunity to take my time to understand how this industry works.
What do you hear most about LOOP?
It has been a fun journey. I am always adding and taking away, trying to stay relevant. The comment I hear most from designers is, “Lalita, you have the coolest stuff!”. We do have nice things, and they’re not always the cheapest, but for me, it’s hard to sell something I don’t like. It’s very easy to be enthusiastic about things that I love and I know will stand the test of time in any space.
Tell us about some of the lines you carry.
Area Environments is a mural wall covering company out of Minneapolis. You select a piece of artwork, and then we get the size of your wall and scale it to your space exactly. The best part of the company is that they work with living artists, so a portion of the sale goes directly to the artist.
Hennepin Made – is a collective of artisanal glassblowers out of Minneapolis. Every single piece is made by hand – from the casting to pouring to the blowing. It’s such a fun studio.
RBW – is the “jean” of lighting. They are beautifully made, and the price points are fantastic, especially for their staple pieces. We do a lot of architects’ homes, and they all love this line.
JF Fabrics – We rep a lot of fabrics, and this line is owned by two sisters in Canada. The designs are beautiful, fun, and very feminine. Architectural products do tend to lean masculine, and this line is refreshingly different.
Bover Lighting – is a Barcelona line that’s more contemporary, handmade, and relevant. They have a soul – it’s very exciting. I love working with Spanish companies, and Spanish manufacturing is having a moment right now. They’re the most exciting European country for design at the moment.
That’s interesting… Tell me more!
You can see Gaudí’s influence in a lot of Spanish design right now. If you’ve visited one of his masterpieces, you’ll notice color and pattern everywhere. They’re not afraid of color, and in a way, it’s part of their identity. There’s lots of beautiful handmade weaving, and their color combinations are paired in a way that I am not seeing a lot of other people doing. They’re really ahead of their time. I’m also in love with the 70s right now, a lot of their outdoor lines have really beautifully executed whimsical curves – they feel very on trend right now.
What’s the style of your house?
I am in the process of thoughtfully resorting a 1945 old Phoenix ranch. The goal is modern and contemporary with really great vibes.
Do you work with the public?
Most of our clients that walk through our doors have a design background and designing their own homes, or they have a designer. We do prefer to work with designers, but anyone is welcome. A lot of times, it’s case by case, but we’d love an end user to at least have a general contractor if they’re not working with a designer.
What do you wish to see more or less of in Phoenix?
I really would like to see more people use professional designers especially in hospitality type spaces. It’s a much easier path to get a vision to come to life and have it well-developed with good lighting, comfortable seating, and a great ambiance. I’d like to see more high design. House Of Form did some of the spaces like the Rose Garden in Phoenix or Cala in Scottsdale. I’d like to see more risks in general. If you look at what’s happening in NY, LA, SF – they’re taking a lot more liberties with bold colors, patterns, and textures. I wish I saw more identity and soul – more original design.
Where do you like to shop?
Lately, I’ve been really inspired by going to Antique Gatherings. My husband and I love antiques, and the new location really excites me. There’s something for everyone there; they did a great job curating it. Modern on Melrose – I love it there, and they have fair prices, which is refreshing! For all my eye-ware, I go to Framed Ewe. They’re friends, but I’d shop there even if they weren’t because everything they carry is so great.
What are some of your favorite food spots?
I am very much a creature of habit when it comes to food. I go to Hillstone all the time. The environment is excellent, they have a great wine list, and are very consistent. I haven’t been to Tia Carmen, but it’s on my must-try list. The lighting and textiles look so beautiful. Glai Baan and Restaurant Progress are some of my go-to’s. I love the baked goods at Ollie Vaughn’s. I am there a lot for iced coffee and ham and cheese croissants.
What does good design mean to you?
Good design is art – an ingenious and unique combination of elements informed by personal creativity and inspiration from the world around us.
Written by: Ruth Price