Tuft love: practical 3D textured rugs

To fully experience Alexandra Kehayoglou’s new artwork at the Kunsthal KAdE Museum in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, you’ll need to take your shoes off. Then the Argentinian artist’s piece of cloth, the Parana de las Palmas, can be walked over, laid on and even rolled up.

Part of the exhibition scrape paradise (until July 3) Extending 12 meters from the wall and above the floor, it is a woven documentation of the Paraná de las Palmas Wetlands, 50 kilometers from the city of Chiayoglu in Buenos Aires. The textured 3D surface translates muddy riverbeds, green pastures and crawling into farmland into shaggy tufts of multiple heights and a shorter texture: a mystical landscape that is both visually appealing and also demanding to touch. Made with traditional hand processes, it is a captivating testament to the technical possibilities of rug making.

“Trying to reproduce the landscape of the pampas grasslands in Argentina first inspired me to work in this way. In 2009, I made a high-grass-like carpet and pasture that continues to disappear as intensive farming progresses,” says Kehayoglou of her project “Pastazales” (grasslands), Which included private commissions, museum shows, and a large selection of hand-tufted fabric for the Dries Van Noten catwalk.

During the epidemic I moved to an island in the Paraná wetlands. “This new tissue was a reaction to the fires and developments that are altering the area, causing a massive loss of biodiversity,” she says. It is a reverence for this river and this land. It tells the story of how humans relate to this fragile ecosystem.”

Choosing textiles to increase environmental awareness was an obvious choice for Kehayoglou. “I was born into a carpet-making family,” she says of the business her grandmother started in the 1950s. I tried to go in another direction and studied art, but the carpet came back to me. I fell in love with their way of telling stories. Carpets can be areas, shelters, gates, ships.”

Alexandra Kihaioglu’s artwork “Parana de las Palmas” is 12 meters long © Mike Pink

Kehayoglou’s thought-provoking practice takes floor coverings into the world of fine art. So do the woven, latched panels and sculptures by Peruvian-American artist Sarah Zapata, whose work is on display at the John Michael Kohler Center for the Arts in Wisconsin.

But designers are also exploring the 3D potential of rugs for the home.

Some do it skillfully. For example, La Manufacture Cogolin’s India Mahdavi rugs offer graphic patterns in two tones as well as two different heights. Christopher Farr Red Meander does the same with Bauhaus artist Anni Albers’ maze-like design (produced in 10th edition), while Nordic Knots brings Scandinavian minimalism to the pile, creating monochromatic rugs with linear relief patterns as well as more organic but still design rugs. New River is very simple.

“With different cuts and pile heights, it gives the rug a very luxurious feel,” says Lisa Lizzero, co-founder of Nordic Knots. “I think the texture is a bit like a Lucio Fontana painting. They are all white but there is a cut in the middle. It creates such an interesting depth.”

3 Foxes of Wool and Silk by Christophe Hefti

3 Foxes in Wool and Silk by Christoph Hefty © Jeroen Wehrcht

Other designers push the 3D possibilities of rugs while making a bold statement with their color palette. In Amsterdam, graphic designer David Kulen refers to himself as minimalist, but minimalist Green Grid uses 32 colors and four different pile heights in a grass-like composition first designed for his home.

“It works almost like a plant,” he says. “Plants don’t clash with furniture. They just elevate them. I really thought of it as a texture, a mood enhancer, and exterior entry. It’s very three-dimensional, and that also creates a more complex story with colour, and adds shadow and highlight tones to the overall effect.” ”

By creating Kulenturato rugs and furniture, Kulen started working with a small manufacturing company in Croatia. Each piece is made to order and can be customized in shape and color. “For one client in New York, we made a giant green mesh in more shades of blue, as well as smaller ‘island’ rugs scattered throughout the room,” he says.

“I think people have fun and frolic. Kids really love them. And dogs. I mean, they’re weird. They aren’t ordinary rugs.”

Kulen’s latest design is The Pond. Inspired by Monet’s paintings as well as Japanese woodblock prints, the aqua-green background harmonizes with flashes of coral and white, similar to carp. Two versions of this rug are now in interior designer Rebecca Corner’s London home, where Coleen says, “The size has been raised to 11. Her style of design is very eclectic. She made a rug in her original colors and one in one I call Kim Kardashian.”

The living room features a rug by India Mahdavi

Rug from India Mahdavi for La Manufacture Cogolin © Frances Amiand

Korner laughs at this description. “It took about six months to prepare the second,” she says. “We’ve changed the colors to be more traditional: different shades of blonde but also crazy purple and green, which looks dingy but is the prettiest thing. It brings the whole room together.”

Other elements of the space include a canvas designed by Nathalie Farman-Farma that “looks like an explosion of fireworks” and her coffee table – a three-tiered meandering lagoon in stacks of purple, pink, and blue selenite (available via The Invisible Collection). “I just love the colors.”

In Berlin, Mareike Lienau uses only vegetable dyes for her Lyk Carpet designs, but the color combinations are still eye-catching. Inspired by the Bauhaus women’s weavers, the geometric shapes intertwine at different heights, adding further detail with cut-line patterns, tufted sections and long fringes.

She refers to the Medley rug as “the ultimate 3D hit,” but she also uses the same compositional techniques on three new sculptural cushions, as well as a series of wall hangings and seat cushions recently installed (in collaboration with interior architects Raumkontor) in her Berlin office. For IT service provider Adesso. It is a meeting of high technology and high touch.

Lienau, who works with carpet makers in Nepal and uses only Tibetan upland, combed, and hand-spun wool, suggests Lienau. “They use traditional methods of stitching, but we’ve come up with new combinations.”

David Kulen Green Grid rug with green sofa in the background

David Kulen Green Grid Rug

Nordic Knotts River Rug

Nordic Knotts River Rug

The use of traditional crafts in a contemporary context is a major focus of Christophe Hefty, a printed textile designer who has worked with Jean Paul Gaultier and Dries Van Noten, and currently creates fabrics for the fashion label Paris Mugler. For the past 10 years, he’s also been producing limited-edition rugs in Nepal, a number of which were on display in April at the Brussels Design Fair Maniera.

“I went to Nepal because I was interested in the Tibetan knitting technique, and immediately one of the manufacturers said, ‘Bring us the design and we can get started,’” he recalls. “So I went back to the hotel and started painting.” The result is a vibrant mix of patterns and texture, like a woven collage. that come together to reveal abstract faces, animal elements, or landscapes.

Like Medley Rug by Marek Lenau

Like Medley Rug by Marek Lenau

Figurative elements also feature in the woven and hand-embroidered textiles by Swedish fashion designer Alfield Sarah Kolber—head of design at fashion firm Viktor & Rolf—who took up rug-making as a hobby in 2018 to “counter life full of screen.” She has created her own obscure friends for commissioning, and like Kulen, Lienau and Hefti, her creations blur the lines between art, craft and design. Colin says his rugs are often hung on walls.

“They almost function as a work of art, but I would never call them a work of art.” Hefty’s pieces are designed first and foremost for the floor as a functional object, “but then some people see it and say, ‘But it’s art.'” “”

It would certainly be a shame not to touch them either with feet or hands. Because, as Hefti adds, “Oh my goodness they feel good.”

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