Bold colors, lavish patterns, and customizable design options define the new world of carpets.
Decorative carpets have existed for thousands of years, with the earliest known piece having been identified as the 2,500-year-old wool Pazyryk carpet—covered with patterns featuring griffins, deer, and lotus buds—found in the Eastern Altai Mountains. Since the earliest days of the craft, carpet design has had plenty of time to evolve to include new materials, weaves, thicknesses, colors, and styles. For Emma Gardner, a Petaluma, CA-based designer, carpet patterns have always been a particular passion.
Says Gardner, whose firm offers fine carpet styles featuring florals, geometrics, and other silhouettes and shapes taken from nature, “I stay true to my inspiration [by] looking at reference books, keeping an open mind, going to museums; [putting] myself in a visually acquisitive place.”
What’s trending most in the world of rugs? It’s going in “three different directions,” Gardner explains. “The first is graphic and colorful. Color is coming back, which I’m thrilled about. Another one is texture; a lot of people are playing with materials and construction to play with texture, or things that shimmer, look soft, look appealing.” Finally, “Organic shapes, like a flower…tree bark, [or] shells.” She cites two designs of her own that illustrate her point: the “Flow” carpet, on which a curly blue design suggesting waves pops against a white backdrop, and “Whole Baby Fish,” which lives up to its name through orange, blue, and green hues that bring the ocean inside.
Another couture carpet design firm, Edward Fields Carpet Makers, offers strikingly modern design, particularly for a company that opened its Manhattan showroom in 1935, catering to clients like Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, CT, and First Lady Jackie Kennedy. Today, “Our collection is about colors and a bold, new interpretation of geometrics,” says Yasmina Benazzou, director of design and creative development of Tai Ping Carpets, which acquired the iconic brand in 2005. When customizing clients’ one-of-a-kind pieces, Benazzou takes every detail into consideration, from the blend of the wool to the finish.
Anita Bell, a Colchester, England-based fine carpet maker and artist, offers a fresh perspective on carpet design as well. The near-photographic images on her Ocean Rug Collection bring the beach inside: “Seahorses” is an area rug featuring an image that looks
like choppy waves crashing, and “Sapphire Ocean” exhibits an oceanic image of rich blues and whites. “Clients want a bespoke service to allow for the customization in colors and different textured rug finishes,” Bell states. And for those who wish to take the personalization a step further, Bell has developed her own method of applying carpet to furniture, pushing the design into a new direction—and dimension.
Now you can customize your entire room—even the walls. MyWallArt, the Eersel, Netherlands-based firm, offers embossed and three-dimensional wall panels in creative and subtle shapes and sizes. “Caryotas” looks like an abstract flower, while “Craters” is a raised-dot design. The panels, available in 20 varieties and designed to form a pattern when assembled together, are comprised of bagasse, a byproduct of sugarcane, making them entirely eco-friendly. Best of all? As the light changes, tiny shadows created by the three-dimensional elements reveal a new look by the hour.