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Artist Alex Proba’s New Pet Collection, ProbaPaws, Is Pure Aesthetic Joy

Is it wrong for your pet’s bed to be the most beautiful piece of furniture in your living room?

by Charles Manning
November 3, 2022
Portrait of a german shepherd dog laying on a colorful array of dog bed with a plant shaped toy in front of her
Photo: Parker Fitzgerald

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Can a pet bed make you rethink your entire interior design aesthetic? If it’s a ProbaPaws pet bed, then yes, in fact, it most certainly can. 

I’m currently in the process of redecorating my living room. I thought I wanted a sort of minimalist ’70s-meets-’90s vibe, full of clean lines and earthy browns with pops of bright white and black, but having looked at the new ProbaPaws collection from artist and designer Alex Proba, I’m not so sure. That might sound like hyperbole, but I assure you, I am completely serious. Although I’ve always thought of myself as something of a minimalist, Proba’s designs — for pets and humans alike — have my inner maximalist scratching at the door, desperate to be let out.

The collection was inspired by Proba’s rescue dog, Sam, and two percent of all proceeds are being donated to Three Little Pitties Rescue in his honor.

clear colorful glass
Courtesy of Parker Fitzgerald

The inaugural ProbaPaws collection features everything from toys and bowls to bandanas, beds, blankets and more, with most pieces priced between $24 and $500. Almost all the items are handmade and utilize natural dyes and sustainable materials, such as recycled PET plastic, whenever possible. 

The aforementioned pet beds are my personal favorites and come in two varieties: rectangular and splat-shaped. The rectangular beds feature abstract, tufted designs in a riot of colors that could only have been chosen by an artist trained in color theory, while the splat-shaped beds are smooth and solid with contrasting borders.  

The collection also includes three rugs, which are sure to be the focal point of any room they occupy, and two blankets. The blankets are made in the U.S., of 100 percent Egyptian cotton, and are perfect for artfully draping over the couch to keep your dog or cat’s claws from scratching up the leather.

dogs wrapped in colorful sweaters
Courtesy of Parker Fitzgerald

In this incredibly aesthetically pleasing collection, you’ll also find chew toys made out of food-grade silicone and bandanas with curved, organic shapes reminiscent of dripping paint. “I think always having [bandanas be] triangular is a missed opportunity,” Proba tells The Wildest.

Proba previously created dog/cat food mats for her ProbaHome collection, but ProbaPaws is her first major foray into the pet space. “I pick projects that I don’t know how to do, because challenges lead me to new ideas,” she adds. 

Newness and originality are at the center of Proba’s design process. “I’m personally not inspired by any specific movement or time period, [and] I try not to be very inspired by trends,” she says. “I’m inspired by the outdoors and by my childhood, so if I notice a cool texture on a walk with my pup, Sam, I take a photo for reference; it’s a constant process of abstracting the everyday.”

dogs in colorful sweaters and on flower shaped pillows
Courtesy of Parker Fitzgerald

Proba lives in the Forest Park neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, but works on projects all over the world. She has created designs and installations for everyone from Samsung and Google to Rag & Bone and Louis Vuitton and she loves to collaborate. “I always hire local artists to help me produce my murals,” she says. “Being out there in the world and meeting people who live where these works live, rather than solely in your studio, it connects you with people.”

Her first collection for ProbaPaws includes three collaborations: glass food and water bowls by New York-based artist and designer Sophie Lou Jacobsen, brass pet tags from LA-based pet brand Blink, and a 14-karat gold “owner’s necklace” from fine jeweler Marrow. Retailing for $1,000, this necklace is the most expensive piece in the collection and features an enameled 14-karat gold charm, embossed with the phrase “play thing,” that hangs from a solid gold chain.

It’s an ambitious first collection overall, but one rooted in Proba’s many past successes in the home design space. It’s colorful and abstract, well-made and just plain beautiful, and if it makes you want to redecorate your entire apartment in its image, well…just know that you are not alone.

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Charles Manning

Charles Manning is an actor, writer, and fashion/media consultant living in New York City with his two cats, Pumpkin and Bear. Follow him on Instagram @charlesemanning.