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Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error.

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The Design Library, a hidden treasure

The Design Library is an archive that keeps more that seven million printed textiles, wallpapers, embroidery and pattern catalogs from 1760 to the end of the twentieth century.  The Design Library is a 10.000 m2 loft in New York founded in 1972 by the designer Susan Mellen and her housband Herb, a bank investor. Together they converted a textile fabric from 1907 into a library with pieces from all around the world. More than 10.000 designers visit the library every year, but the interesting part of the library is that it is not like a museum, everything that is stored there can be used by the public. Everything can be touched, borrowed – or bought – and used. In fact, many designers come here to use the patterns as they are or reinterpret them. “Museums want to preserve their collections in the same conditions as hundreds or thousands of years ago,” said Peter Koepke, owner and director of the Design Library. “Our mission is to allow the pieces to re-emerge into the world.”








Koepke has agreed to show this treasure to the world with a book published by Phaidon: “Patterns”. It explains the history of the library and the diversity of its collection from a classification based on 1,200 categories.


For more information about the library enter