In the 26 years we have been designing and making rugs we have only ever worked with two architects: Claudio Silvestrin and John Pawson - both incidentally minimalists and former partners. Traditionally architects are focused on the ‘hard surface’ and the interior often takes a second role. Colour, texture and pattern often become the domain of the interior designer. I believe that the connection between ‘Architecture’ and the ‘Interiors’ of a building are crucial. This symbiosis was beautifully demonstrated on our collaboration with John Pawson.
When John Pawson came to us in 2005, he had been asked to design a series of rugs for an incredibly ambitious new project, ‘Hotel Puerta America’ in Madrid, Spain. This high concept hotel was to be designed by 19 different powerhouse architects and design studios from across the globe. Amongst them, Zaha Hadid, Ron Arad, Norman Foster, Marc Newson, David Chipperfield, Richard Gluckman, Kathryn Findlay and Jean Nouvel. Each was to be offered an entire floor where they could represent the best of his or herself - it would become a bold shrine to innovation and freedom in Architecture and Design.
I have always been a huge fan of John’s work, a man, whose love of empty spaces infuses each of his creations. A leading minimalist designer who covets few possessions and those he does have are stored out of view. A designer who has a purist, monastic aesthetic. His rooms are filled with light and space, clean lines and disciplined alignment. And here he was coming to us for rugs, a textile with edges and lines that by their hand crafted construction are never entirely straight!
John had already designed the timber wall cladding which was to be used in the hotel’s lobby. This was the first time we had worked on a design brief that came directly from an already conceived piece of architecture. The rugs would directly echo the light, space and composition of the wooden architectural structure. My business partner Matthew Bourne worked closely with John’s design team, on scale and materials, a flat weave technique simple and ancient was chosen. a pure white colour was required and samples were laboriously dyed and produced by skilled artisans in Turkey. The final rugs harmonized directly with John’s minimalist ideals, defining areas within the environment, enhancing, without taking away from the precise architecture.