“I don’t like ‘stuff,’” proclaims Marybeth Shaw, the chief creative officer, design and marketing, of the American interior finishings company Wolf-Gordon. Her austere office in its Manhattan headquarters corroborates Shaw’s disdain for needless clutter; it’s architect-tidy, with books and effects concealed behind cabinets, and nary a stray sheet of paper atop her white desk. As the driving force behind Wolf-Gordon’s upholstery, wallcovering, and wall protection products, she has made it her mission to deliver products that transcend “stuff” and exemplify her notion of “good design.”
Shaw oversees a studio of young designers who generate Wolf-Gordon’s in-house collections, developed largely to serve the contract, hospitality, and health-care markets. Since 2001, she has also been augmenting these standard lines with licensed textile collections by invited collaborators, bringing a global perspective to Wolf-Gordon’s catalog.
For Shaw, these commissions provide an opportunity to look at the bigger picture— to push design into new territory by thinking beyond market conventions to ask instead, “What does the world need? What does our soul need?”