Dorothy Liebes and her studio became famous for creating luxurious, handwoven textiles for high-profile interiors, including Doris Duke’s Shangri La in Honolulu, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, and The Persian Room of the Plaza Hotel in New York City. However, in the postwar period, Liebes desired to move beyond exclusive commissions and sought to create designs that were “priced to reach thousands.”  Therefore, in 1957, she focused on designing for industry, concentrating solely on commercial clients and corporate collaborations.  During this time, Liebes skillfully bridged the divide between handcraft and industrial production to benefit both designers and consumers. One major corporate partnership she established during this period was with Bigelow-Sanford—the oldest carpet manufacturer in the United States—which hired Liebes’s studio in 1957 to create custom carpet designs (Figs. 1, 2). [3,4] This collaboration brought the weaver’s talents into the field of industrial carpet production and enabled middle-class Americans to have the “Liebes Look” on the floors of their homes.
Liebes had been a stylist and design consultant for E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) since 1955, and she used their newest synthetic fibers for the Bigelow account.  Both DuPont and Bigelow—along with dozens of other large manufacturers—leveraged Liebes’s expertise in designing for the masses and relied on her as an arbiter of taste for these corporate collaborations.  She referred to her studio as an “idea factory” for carpet makers, fiber manufacturers, and an assortment of other industries.  With this new partnership and medium, Liebes’s New York City studio became a space for her team to develop skills related to rugmaking and tufting, and she challenged them to translate their textile talents into designs for floorcoverings. Also during this period, Liebes sought the skills of burgeoning artisans and designers, such as the fine artist Emma Amos and recent Cranbrook Academy of Art graduates Glen Kaufman, Harry Soviak, and Anna Kang Burgess.
To iterate prototype rugs in preparation for large-scale production, Liebes developed a fascinating process to test large-scale carpet patterns. A 1962 article from the Indianapolis Star precisely outlines the steps:
A design is created. A large scale drawing is made, covered in cellophane, the yarn samples stapled on. Then one of her well-trained workers does a small square of pattern on a handloom. This is placed on the floor, and looking through a four-way magnifying glass, Mrs. Liebes can see how the pattern looks in repeats and determines its acceptability. 
This method guaranteed that Liebes and her studio employees could maintain control of the final design outcome and ensured that their intended ideas were translated into a pleasing final product.
The “Liebes Look” had woven its way into various aspects of the modern interior—from wallpaper, tiles, drapery, and blinds to upholstery and pillows, and now carpets. Liebes’s other works had become known for their bold use of color, and the Bigelow project followed suit. This partnership also offered an opportunity for the studio to play with pattern within the context of the carpet (Figs. 3,4).  One long rectangular rug with verdant oversized floral motifs set on a green background is aptly titled Garden Path (Fig. 5). The Archives of American Art has the corresponding original sketch of this carpet design, which was painted by studio employee Emma Amos (American, 1937–2020). The vivid sketch illustrates the design process of translating painted strokes into a tufted rug and highlights Amos’s artistic approach to design (Fig. 6). Amos joined Liebes’s New York City studio in 1961, and her creativity contributed substantially to the success of the Bigelow Custom Carpet line.  She designed several of the custom carpets for Bigelow under Liebes’s name (Fig. 7,8).  Amos and Liebes are featured in the lead photograph of a 1964 interview that appeared in Modern Floor Coverings magazine (Fig. 9). The publication had rarely published an entire feature in color before this article appeared, and the spread perfectly captured the studio’s saturated hues. Bigelow also appeared in other trade publications, and Amos’s chic carpet designs for Liebes were featured in the pages of Vogue (Fig. 10). The custom carpets also graced the floors of Liebes’s New York studio, as seen in an illustration showcasing Amos’s vibrant green rug design Garden Path, which complements the studio’s chartreuse walls (Fig. 11).
A sharp businesswoman, Liebes saw the potential of big businesses as patrons of design. In a 1964 interview with Modern Floor Coverings, she states that these corporations “foster art for their office buildings, whether it’s abstract sculpture for a lobby, or an artistic custom rug.”  Her designs for Bigelow could also be custom-tailored to fit large commercial spaces.  Liebes’s studio developed carpet patterns for Hilton hotels across the globe, and in 1963 she worked with Henry Dreyfuss—a frequent collaborator and close friend—to create custom Bigelow carpets for the Bankers Trust Building in New York City (Fig. 12).  The Bankers Trust carpet added a soft texture to the employee lounge while its undulating design, accented in red, contrasted with the rectilinear grid of the room’s ceiling (Figs. 13, 14). The sinuous pattern also mimicked the curved furniture outfitting the modern office space. Liebes’s collaboration with Bigelow continued until 1971 and represents a prolific partnership that coupled her skilled artistry with her democratic approach to design.
 “Weavers Learn New Art: Liebes Approves Mass Production in Providing Good Designs for All,” Oregonian (Portland, OR), May 5, 1955. Series 7.1, Box 14, Folder 9, Dorothy Liebes Papers, Archives of American Art, Washington, DC.
 Monica Penick, “The Liebes Look: Better and Better for Less and Less,” in A Dark, A Light, A Bright: The Designs of Dorothy Liebes, eds. Susan Brown and Alexa Griffith Winton (New York: Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2023), 172.
 “Officers Buy Bigelow Sanford From S. & H.,” New York Times, September 30, 1981.
 Penick, “The Liebes Look,” 172.
 Susan Brown and Alexa Griffith Winton, “Chronology,” in A Dark, A Light, A Bright: The Designs of Dorothy Liebes, eds. Susan Brown and Alexa Griffith Winton (New York: Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2023), 233.
 Penick, “The Liebes Look,” 172.
 Irv Leos, “Dorothy Liebes: Idea Factory,” Modern Floor Coverings, February 1964: 27.
 “Dorothy Liebes’ Name Stands for Good Design,” Indianapolis Star, July 29, 1962.
 Susan Brown, “The Idea Factory,” in A Dark, A Light, A Bright: The Designs of Dorothy Liebes, eds. Susan Brown and Alexa Griffith Winton (New York: Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2023), 90.
 Erica Warren, “Fission,” in A Dark, A Light, A Bright: The Designs of Dorothy Liebes, eds. Susan Brown and Alexa Griffith Winton (New York: Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2023), 188.
 See copy of Bigelow Custom Carpets’s 1967 promotional booklet, annotated by the artist, housed in the Art and Artist Files, Emma Amos Folder, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.
 Leos, “Dorothy Liebes: Idea Factory,” 28.
 See page 24 of Bigelow Custom Carpets’s 1967 promotional booklet, private collection.
 “Dorothy Liebes’ Name Stands for Good Design.”