I first came across The Rug Company at Decorex a few years ago. Before that, I’d only seen them in magazines – never in real life. Although it’s impossible to really describe the feel of their amazing rugs, I wanted to share a little of their story and some of the incredible designs here.
The Rug Company was created by Suzanne and Christopher Sharp and like all the best stories of how a company starts, theirs is one packed with adventure – read the full story here in Vogue. What started in the 90’s with the couple selling rugs to their extensive group of friends, has today grown into a company that involves 1,662 people. It takes four months to make one rug because the spinners and weavers use the same techniques that were used over a hundred years ago.
The rugs are made in Nepal from the hand-processed wool of Tibetan sheep reared in Tibet, and woven using the Tibetan knot – essentially they are Tibetan rugs knotted in Nepal, Tibet’s next-door neighbour. Their creation relies on a mixture of Tibetan and Napali expertise, and on Western design. Obviously Nepal is an exceptionally special place to The Rug Company and Christopher recently posted this very moving message from Nepal about the effect of the recent earthquakes in the area.
It’s no mean feat to design and source the finest rugs in the world, in fact, it’s really quite an undertaking. Inspiration for new designs comes from travelling the globe sourcing and seeking out those super special rarities that ensure the Sharps preserve their creativity, ability and originality and stay at the forefront of the interior design world.
The Catella rug, pictured above, was designed by Emily Todhunter and is one of The Rug Company’s most successful designs. The cool steel grey silk rings and border are in a subtly raised pile which is the perfect highlight against the warm neutral wool background. It’s a classic design that is “strict and sophisticated – it adds glamour to any room” notes Todhunter.
In 1999, British VOGUE’s Fashion Director, Lucinda Chambers, visited the The Rug Company shop in London and suggested a collaboration with Marni’s Consuelo Castiglioni which ended up being the beginning of a long and fruitful series of collaborations with fashion designers including Paul Smith, Alexander McQueen, Diane von Furstenberg and Vivienne Westwood. Entitled “Cave Girl”, the Westwood designed rug above is a hand woven wool tapestry backed with the softest cashmere.
This collection of three tartan designs is quintessential Westwood. The plaid motif has become synonymous with the punk movement and Westwood’s designs have come to symbolise an entire decade of British life.
Geometric patterns never go out of fashion, in fact, you could go so far as to say they are trend proof which is perfect for us as we don’t follow trends – we just do what we love. The background of this stunning geometric rug is natural cream Tibetan wool in a textural flat loop technique, with the blue motif in raised cut pile.
This rug was designed by Suzanne Sharp: “my designs are largely guided by my instinct and much of my style owes its origins to my nomadic childhood. Travel triggers my imagination and my designs are often an updated version of things I have seen. My style is modern and timeless. I’m interested in how people feel in a space and I’m into being able to move things around when I have new ideas: the rug is a perfect example of my nomadic approach to decorating.”.
Kelly Wearstler’s rug design “Array Light” draws on her interest in bold materials and unusual patterns. I was really thrilled to see Kelly’s collaboration with The Rug Company having followed her interior design work for many years – a recent favourite being this stunning Manhattan apartment that also happens to be the home of Cameron Diaz.
The pattern of the Array Light rug is inspired from a hand painted design of Wearstler’s and based on the tessellation of mismatched stones.
The indomitable Tom Dion designed this mid-century modern-esque rug named “Form 2” that has “curvilinear shadows of natural form interacting to create a pop art camouflage’.
You can visit The Rug Company in London at their showrooms in Chelsea, Harrods or Holland Park (pictured above) or find them around the world in such far flung places as Lebanon, Sweden and Los Angeles.