Contemporary designers and carpet manufacturers are still finding ways of creating innovative textiles. A combination of the traditional weaver’s art, design, and customized production methods of contemporary carpets and rugs provide insight into the keynote theme for Domotex 2018, Unique Youniverse.
At this year’s Domotex in Hannover, Germany, Simone Post was the winner in the “Best Design in Studio Artist Rugs” category of the Carpet Design Awards (CDA) for her Vlisco Rug. With this project, the young Dutch designer not only highlights the many exciting possibilities for upcycling scrap materials, but also channels an entirely new aesthetic for “floor tapestries.”
Innovative materials are the key to the success of manufacturers such as the Belgium-based brand, Papilio. Papilio’s rug, Canvas, made from patches of canvas cut from recycled army tents, cross-stitched together with leather thonging, was one of the finalists in the “Best Innovation” category of the Carpet Design Awards in 2016. This year, Papilio unveiled its on-trend Rope Hope rug, which was designed by Sep Verboom as part of the LIVABLE project, and is made from recycled ropes used by fishermen in the Philippines.
Every year in April, carpet manufacturer Nodus presents a new collection of hand-woven and hand-tufted carpets at the Milan Design Week. Estudio Campana’s Circus rug for Nodus, made from hemp and rag dolls, impressed the CDA jurors at Domotex back in 2011, when the company was named the winner in “Best Innovation.” This year’s Design Week showcased the rugs Bala Perdida and Veneza Carioca by David Elia, the former featuring cartridges and bullet holes as design elements, while the latter incorporates plastic flip-flops.
In January 2017, at the most recent Domotex, the Turkish firm Kirkit exhibited a range of flatweave rugs made from recycled hemp, blending of traditional and contemporary motifs. Similarly, Zollanvari’s Trompe L’Oeil Roman Empire collection, designed by the Italian label SoFar SoNear, fuses Eastern and Western design motifs and won an award in the CDA 2013 “Best Innovation” category.
The 17th Century Modern collection from the London label Knot Rugs takes antique carpet designs and overlays them with modern motifs. Special processes such as oxidation are used to create a distressed, aged look, without diminishing the intensity of the colors or the sharp definition of line. The new Rug Star Tuft collection from the Berlin carpet label Rug Star, unveiled at Domotex 2017, includes hand-knotted designs, inspired by ancient Persian rugs, reinterpreted as boldly tufted landscapes.
The surface of a rug can show its origins and history to the trained observer. Even minor adjustments to the surface texture can have a dramatic effect on the overall design. These rugs not only embody the innovative processes that brought them into being, but also illustrate the richness and diversity of the contemporary carpet weaver’s art. Today’s designers not only consider the artistic merits of new materials and techniques; they also take their environmental responsibilities seriously, and embrace the possibilities of upcycling and eco-friendly production methods.