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E’town’s Nathan Bush flexed his creative muscles in design challenge

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By Robert Villanueva

A visit to a green roof atop a Louisville building and a contest held by a floor covering company allowed Elizabethtown resident Nathan Bush an opportunity to do what he loves — create and design.

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Bush, who graduated from the University of Louisville with a degree in interior architecture, entered Mannington Commercial’s tx:style Design Challenge 2011 with a carpet design called “Squiggle.”

“I always had an interest in art and design,” Bush said.

The inspiration for “Squiggle” came when he was in Louisville attending a function atop the American Life building, which has a green roof. The roof uses succulent plants to absorb heat and water runoff.

Bush took photos of the plants and used them as the basis for his design.

“Color selection, I think, is the hardest thing about designing carpet,” the Central Hardin High School graduate said.

Customers buy based on color, Bush said.

“Because color is what really impacts people when they walk into a space,” he said.

“Squiggle” is a pattern done in gray and chartreuse. Bush called the colors electric and energizing.

Results of the competition were expected to be posted at www. manningtontxstyle.com this week. Six finalists in two categories will be named before a grand prize winner is named.

For Bush, the competition provided a chance to engage in the creative process.

Creating the design began with sketches. The process is meant to simplify the pattern graphically. Then the design goes to the computer where it is refined, Bush said.

The designer created his pattern to blend so the pattern could appear continuous regardless of how cut portions were lined up, he said.

When all was told, the process of creating the design took the equivalent of at least two eight-hour days, he said.

Regardless of the outcome the competition sparked his creativity.

“I know it’s not my last chance,” Bush said.

In fact, Bush plans to pursue his career goal of commercial interior design in the hospitality industry and office environment. He keeps his eyes on trends in related industries.

“I think in general the carpet industry is becoming more contemporary,” he said.

Bush said he had a professor in college who told him trends were cyclical, and the designer agrees.

Another trend in the industry is custom designs, Bush said. Businesses want designs that complement their company’s colors, for instance.

Overall, he said, designs are more graphic in nature.

“I think technology is also making us appreciate design,” he said.

While commercial carpet design seems to be getting more contemporary and graphic, residential is less daring, mainly because a house’s resale value tends to be a consideration, Bush said.

Part of what Bush enjoys about design is the challenge of meeting the needs of the user. Just how well his final designs equal his visions is a source of uncertainty.

“For me that is the designer’s dilemma — the expression of ideas,” Bush said.

With his eye to the world of commercial design, Bush will move to a larger metropolitan area — one he’s not certain of yet — so he can be closer to a strong commercial market.

Though he’s not sure what the future holds for him, Bush enjoys the problem-solving nature of design and finds inspiration everywhere.

“Life is your catalyst,” he said.

Robert Villanueva can be reached at (270) 505-1743 or rvillanueva@thenewsenterprise.com.