Tuft love: tactile, textured rugs that are practically 3D

Gerard Ortiz

To completely encounter Alexandra Kehayoglou’s new artwork at the Kunsthal KAdE museum in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, you’ll need to have to choose your sneakers off. Then the Argentine artist’s textile piece, “Paraná de Las Palmas”, can be walked on, laid upon and even rolled around on.

Element of the exhibition Abrasive Paradise (until finally July 3) and stretching over 12m in duration from the wall and above the ground, it is a woven documentation of the Paraná de Las Palmas wetlands, 50km from Kehayoglou’s hometown of Buenos Aires. The tactile 3D area translates muddy river beds, verdant grasslands and encroaching farm land into shaggy tufts in multiple heights and tighter shorter weaves: a woollen landscape that is visually enticing and also needs to be touched. Designed with common handworked processes, it’s an arresting testomony to the artistic options of rug-earning.

“Trying to reproduce the landscapes of Argentina’s Pampas grasslands to start with encouraged me to function in this way. In 2009 I manufactured a carpet that resembled the significant grasses and pastures that are nevertheless disappearing with the progress of intensive agriculture,” claims Kehayoglou of her “Pastizales” (grasslands) venture, which has provided personal commissions, museum demonstrates and a wide hand-tufted tapestry for the catwalk of a Dries Van Noten style show.

Through the pandemic she moved to an island in the Paraná wetlands. “This new tapestry was a reaction to the fires and improvement that are transforming the spot, leading to a critical reduction in biodiversity,” she suggests. “It is a reverence to this river and to this land. It tells the tale of how individuals have been relating to this fragile ecosystem.”

Deciding upon textiles to raise ecological consciousness was an noticeable alternative for Kehayoglou. “I was born into a carpet-producing loved ones,” she states of the organization that was started off by her grandmother in the 1950s. “I tried using to go in another course and analyzed artwork, but the carpets arrived back to me. I fell in enjoy with their way of telling tales. Carpets can be territories, shelters, portals, ships.”

Alexandra Kehayoglou’s 12-metre artwork ‘Paraná de Las Palmas’ © Mike Bink

Kehayoglou’s considered-provoking follow requires ground-coverings into the realm of great art. So much too do the Technicolor woven and latch-hooked canvases and sculptures by the Peruvian-American artist Sarah Zapata, whose get the job done is on demonstrate at the John Michael Köhler Arts Middle in Wisconsin.

But designers are also checking out the 3D probable of rugs for the home.

Some do it subtly. India Mahdavi’s rugs for La Manufacture Cogolin, for occasion, current graphic designs in two shades as effectively as two diverse heights. Christopher Farr’s Crimson Meander does the exact same with the mazelike style by Bauhaus artist Anni Albers (manufactured in an edition of 10), even though Nordic Knots delivers Scandinavian minimalism to the pile, making monochrome rugs with linear relief patterns as effectively as the much more organic but even now supremely easy new River structure.

“With the cutting and the distinct pile heights, it offers the rug a pretty magnificent experience you want to lie on it bare,” says Nordic Knots co-founder Liza Laserow. “I feel of the texture a little bit like a Lucio Fontana painting. It is all white but then there’s the cut in the middle. It creates this kind of exciting depth.”

3 Foxes, wool and silk, by Christoph Hefti
3 Foxes, wool and silk, by Christoph Hefti © Jeroen Verrecht

Other designers are pushing the 3D probable of rugs though also generating a daring assertion with their palette. In Amsterdam, graphic designer David Kulen refers to himself as a minimalist but his Green Grid rug works by using 32 colours and 4 diverse pile heights in a grasslike composition that was initial conceived for his own property.

“It just about functions like a plant,” he states. “Plants don’t create clashes with furniture. They are just uplifting. I actually assumed about it as a texture, as a temper enhancer, bringing the outside in. It’s extremely 3D, and this also creates a more elaborate story with the colors, incorporating shadow and emphasize tones to the overall result.”

Location up Kulenturato carpets and tapestries, Kulen started functioning with a compact production business in Croatia. Each piece is built to purchase and can be customised in conditions of both equally form and colour. “For one particular customer in New York we manufactured a big Eco-friendly Grid in much more blue shades, as properly as smaller ‘island’ carpets scattered around the home,” he states.

“I assume men and women love the playfulness, the joyfulness of them. Young ones truly like them. And dogs. I necessarily mean, they are unusual. They’re not ordinary carpets.”

Kulen’s most up-to-date structure is The Pond. Influenced by Monet paintings as well as Japanese woodblock prints, a background of watery blues and greens is offset with elevated-up, carp-like flashes of coral and white. Two versions of this rug now reside in the London house of interior designer Rebecca Körner, where, states Kulen, “the volume is turned up to 11. Her take on layout is really eclectic. I produced a person carpet in the authentic colours and another in what I simply call Kim Kardashian tones.”

Living room featuring rug by India Mahdavi
Rug by India Mahdavi for La Manufacture Cogolin © Francis Amiand

Körner laughs at this description. “The next a person was about 6 months in the creating,” she says. “We shifted the colours to be extra unconventional: a variety of shades of blond but also two ridiculous purples and a inexperienced, which appears vile but it’s the most lovely detail. It pulls the whole place together.”

Other things of the room consist of material by Nathalie Farman-Farma “that appears to be like a firework exploding” and her own whimsical espresso table — the curvy, three-tiered Lagoon in stacks of mauve, pink and blue selenite (readily available through The Invisible Assortment). “I just enjoy colour.”

In Berlin, Mareike Lienau employs only plant-primarily based dyes for her Lyk Carpet styles, but the colour mixtures are however placing. Motivated by the gals weavers of the Bauhaus, she overlaps geometric styles in diverse heights, adding even more element with reduce-in linear designs, tufted sections and extensive fringes.

She refers to her Medley rug as “the complete 3D hit”, but she also takes advantage of the identical textural methods on 3 new sculptural poufs, as perfectly as a sequence of wall hangings and seat cushions that have recently been put in (in collaboration with inside architects Raumkontor) at the Berlin business office of IT company service provider Adesso. It’s a meeting of higher tech and significant contact.

“If people can contact the items and sit on them, it can make them think about the craftsmanship and the story driving them,” indicates Lienau, who performs with rug-makers in Nepal and makes use of only Tibetan, hand-combed and hand-spun highland wool. “They use standard procedures of knotting, but we have labored out new combinations.”

David Kulen Green Grid rug with green sofa in the background
David Kulen Inexperienced Grid rug
Nordic Knots River rug
Nordic Knots River rug

Making use of traditional crafts in a modern day context is a key concentrate for Christoph Hefti, a print textile designer who has labored for Jean Paul Gaultier and Dries Van Noten, and is now producing fabrics for Paris vogue label Mugler. For the past 10 a long time, nonetheless, he’s also been developing limited-edition rugs in Nepal, a range of which have been on look at in April at Brussels design gallery Maniera.

“I went to Nepal due to the fact I was intrigued in the Tibetan knotting system, and straight absent a producer stated, ‘Bring us the design and style and we can start’,” he recollects. “So I went back again to the lodge and started off sketching.” The success are vibrant mash-ups of styles and texture, like woven collages that appear with each other to reveal abstracted faces, animal elements or landscapes.

Mareike Lienau’s Lyk Carpet Medley
Mareike Lienau’s Lyk Carpet Medley

Figurative components also characteristic in the hand-tufted and embroidered textiles by Swedish trend designer Alfhild Sarah Külper — the head of design at trend corporation Viktor & Rolf — who took up rug-earning as a interest in 2018 “to counter a display screen-large life”. She results in her Fuzzy Good friends to fee, and like Kulen, Lienau and Hefti, her creations blur the strains among art, craft and design and style. Kulen claims his rugs are normally hung on walls.

“They pretty much functionality as an artwork, but I would never get in touch with them an artwork.” Hefti’s pieces are intended very first and foremost for the floor as a purposeful object, “but then some men and women see them and say, ‘But it is art.’ ”

It would certainly be a disgrace not to contact them with possibly ft or palms, however. Because, as Hefti provides, “Oh my God, they feel fantastic.”

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