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art for the floor By Jenni Finlay

Far right: Tabriz Canal Aerial, from the Erased Heritage collection by Jan Kath Right: The Beast, from the Line and Spot collection by Zoe Luyendijk

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hen it comes to handmade rugs, there really is a whole, wide world out there. A world of varying qualities and manufacturing techniques, a world of colour and design ideas, and a world of limitless possibilities to create that special piece that will set your interior environment apart from any other. I have been fortunate enough to be able to travel that world over the past few years, in search of the most exquisite and interesting handmade contemporary carpets. I have learned a lot along the way, witnessed masterpieces in the making and also viewed some very low quality and poorly made replicas (okay, I won’t hold back on calling them knock-offs) of talented designers ideas. It is an ever-changing and evolving industry, where younger, forward thinking players have created such a demand for modern rugs, that many established traditional rug producers have joined in on the quest to provide consumers with modern works of art for their floors. The concept of ‘art for the floor’ has been embraced by interior designers across the globe in both residential and commercial spaces. The pairing of good design with the work of highly skilled artisan weavers puts the stars of this industry ahead of all the rest. Jan Kath, the renowned German designer and a genius at his art, has won numerous awards for his work year after year. While he has obvious respect for traditional design, his signature manipulation of each classic pattern allows his rugs to be used in the most contemporary of interiors. He has found a way

to blend old world design with new ideas and colours, as well as blending ancient weaving techniques with different fibres and fascinating textures. Of special note at this year’s recent European show was his new collection called “Lost Weave”. The concept was inspired from old Moroccan boucherouite rugs, done in a loose, antique Tibetan technique. Even though Kath introduced the trend a few years ago of mixing traditional design

The desire for artistic hand-knotted carpets …is becoming a major component of today’s interiors… and modern elements with his highly acclaimed “Erased Classics” collection, this idea is still taking flight. Presented this year, and winning the prestigious title of ‘Best Collection Traditional’ is his new series called “Erased Heritage”. This collection is a modern interpretation of centuries old Oriental carpet designs, and will be appreciated by contemporary art and antique lovers alike. Walking the halls of the design shows in Europe, Asia and all over North America, one can clearly see that many manufacturers are following Kath’s lead — and there is no sign of this trend coming to an end. In fact, what I see is a newly discovered modern appreciation for tradition, quality, and all things handmade. Aside from Kath’s work, there are some incredible examples of modern design pro-

duced by carpet manufacturers worldwide. After searching the globe for the best of the best, one of the most talented rug designers is right here in our own backyard: Zoe Luyendijk. She designs unbelievable custom contemporary carpets from her home studio in Langley, B.C. and is an industry leader. She and her partner Murray are responsible for creating, together with highly skilled artisan weavers in Nepal, a technique of blending infinite colours and natural fibres to create her nature-inspired works of art. Drawing insight from her surroundings — our beautiful coastal waters and forests — as well as myths and stories from other times and cultures, Zoe has gained international recognition. Other producers have tried to embrace the trend of recreating organic beauty from nature in an artistic modern carpet, but Zoe’s pieces stand above all the rest. She has recently launched four new collections, including the highly anticipated Tofino collection and the Line and Spot collection. All of her designs can be made in any colour combination imaginable. The desire for artistic hand-knotted carpets made of natural fibres is becoming a major component of today’s interiors, and not just in the home. High fashion retail shops, boutique hotel lobbies, corporate executive offices, reception areas and meeting rooms are now becoming common places to spot a beautiful handmade rug. Again, art for the floors is the idea. The rug can become the focal point for the whole setting with bold colour combinations that stand alone, or it can be a subtle backdrop to transform previously uninviting spaces into luxurious and welcoming rooms. Interior designers are increasingly embracing the idea of having custom rugs designed specifically with their client’s needs in mind — especially in corporate environments where durability and longevity are key. For this, they rely upon industry professionals who can guide them in the right direction and to the right product to suit the space. DQ Jenni Finlay is the rug buyer for Colin Campbell, with showrooms catering to the design trade in both Vancouver and Calgary. She has worked closely on many custom residential and commercial projects with some of Western Canada’s most well known interior designers. Spring 2013 | DESIGN QUARTERLY

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