Designer Rugs have just released a new collection in collaboration with award-winning Sydney interior designers Hare and Klein. Inspired by contemporary abstract painting on canvas, the collection combines contemporary style and luxury, for which both Hare and Klein and Designer Rugs are known, with a focus on the traditional art of hand knot rugs.
This time-honoured hand-weaving process, which remains virtually unchanged over many centuries, not only results in rugs of the highest quality, but the subtle variations and imperfections created by the natural fibres and human touch enhance the painterly aspects of Hare and Klein’s designs. A traditional technique, many hundreds of years old, is thus a medium perfectly suited to bringing these contemporary designs to life, creating a beautiful blend of the traditional and the contemporary in this collection.
Hare and Klein are known for creating high-end interiors that use colour, texture and natural materials to evoke a sense of ease and luxury. Designer Rugs share an energetic approach to interiors with Hare and Klein and collaborated on their first collection together in 2014. Yosi Tal, Managing Director of Designer Rugs says ‘the first range by Hare and Klein in 2014 became an instant success. The subtlety of the range is its strength. The textures and colours used are more reminiscent of abstract paintings on canvas, crafted by hand from silk, hemp, wool in place of oil paint and raw canvas.’
Much like Hare and Klein interiors, the designs are built up with rich layers and textures – a base palette of neutrals such as smoke and charcoal are accented with coffee, petrol and rust, with silk adding highlights and tactility to the designs. Created for use in both residential and commercial interiors, as every rug is made by hand the designs can also be made in custom sizes and colours. ‘We have applied our philosophy of timeless design to the new collection of rugs’, says Principal and Design Director of Hare and Klein, Meryl Hare. ‘These are hand knotted and will last for many years, so the designs, which are mostly abstract, employ a combination of materials … and a range of colours that will complement both classic and contemporary interiors a well as many furnishing styles’.
‘Aceto’, one of the most vibrant designs in the collection, layers a swirl of almost metallic rust-orange over a palette of smoky blues and greys. The effect is far closer to what one would expect of a splash of paint on the canvas of a modernist artwork than a woven rug. A tiny highlight of a similar rust tone is used in ‘Inlets’ emphasise the design’s focus on abstract vertical and parallel lines. ‘Landscape’, ‘Palmipsest’ and ‘Refraction’ are quiet yet complex designs, with subtle tones and soft patches of colour that evoke the subtlety of nature – a lichen growing on stone, a cloudy sky or the landscape viewed from the air. ‘Wings’, meanwhile, is a more dramatic design that none the less continues the collection’s abstract qualities. A spectacular sweep of kaleidoscopic colour, recalling a rich butterfly’s wing, spills across one side of the rug. In its own way, every design in the collection creates depth of texture and shade – while the colours may not be bright, the tones are considered and subtly complex, with layers of tone and texture resulting in rugs that are interesting and unique, without being brash.
As interior designers, Hare and Klein have the experience not only of designing the collection, but of using rugs in their work. Rugs have an important role in a space, defining areas within a larger space, and significantly influencing the atmosphere and impact of the interior. ‘We use rugs in our interiors to define spaces, create visual impact, add texture and introduce colour.’, says Meryl. ‘A well-placed rug can ‘hold’ together a seating area, making it more comfortable and intimate, sometimes round, oval or rectangular, depending on the shape of a room.’ Indeed, the experience of using the rugs from their first collection in their interiors impacted on their decision to embark on a second collection with Designer Rugs – ‘We have found that the rugs we designed for our first collection work well in many of our projects, and this gave us the confidence to design our second range’.
Part of the process of developing the collection with Designer Rugs involved a trip to Kathmandu to see the hand knot method and the entire progression of crafting the rugs from start to finish in action. ‘It was a profound experience’, says Meryl, ‘and gave me new respect for both the processes that go into making these rugs and the skilled people that make them.’ Every part of the process, from spinning the raw wool, silk and hemp through to the dyeing, weaving, washing, stretching, drying and finishing, is done by hand using traditional practices that originated in Tibet. One technique that caught Hare and Klein’s attention was a process called ‘abrash’, which involves the yarn being deliberately spun unevenly, resulting in an unevenness of the intensity of colour once dyed by hand. ‘We love this method, as each rug is unique and results in a beautiful slightly unstructured texture’ says Meryl.
Choosing to work with such talented designers and use the painstaking hand knot process is a testament to Designer Rugs’ commitment to individuality and quality. With every single rug a unique object, one gets a sense of the journey behind it. Beautifully blending centuries-old tradition with abstract design and contemporary luxury, the rugs in the latest Hare and Klein collection will be the subtle yet powerful focal point of any room.