K.Michelle Evans, Creative Director & Founder, Akya Design
K.Michelle Evans is an internationally acclaimed interior designer. In 2003 Evans set up her Lodon-based boutique rug brand Ayka Design and debuted her first carpets at DOMOTEX Hannover in 2014. Since then Ayka's unique and innovative design style has enrned her several Carpet Design Awards and much respect within the industry.
1. How would you you summarise the range or rangers of rugs that your brand produces?
Our design philosophy is based on contemporary and modern designs with a belief in pushing the boundaries of what these two styles are about.
2. How would you describe the style behind your brand? What makes it stand out from other brands?
Our brand is still young but has quickly gained a reputation in the rug world of being modern, edgy and avant garde. Our approach is that of an artist creating a new canvas and we are always inspired to recreate three-dimensional designs in our rugs. This has been recognised within the market as we won the Best Innovation category of the Carpet Design Awards 2014 at Domotex Hannover.
3. Where are your carpets made?
Our rugs are hand-knotted by local artisans in India and Nepal and we work with the same weavers each year, especially when we develop a new technique that is different from our other collections. We work closely with the weavers through all the stages to enable us try out new textures and new finishes. It is like a small family and it always inspires me to learn from their years of experience handed down from generation to generation.
4. Who designs your rugs and what has been the inspiration behind some of the latest collections?
I am the founder and designer of the company. My background as an award wining interior designer creates a different philosophy when designing rugs. Inspired by people, cities and landscapes, each design has its own unique story. The latest collection Vase is a modern interpretation of a classical design adapted using new textures to create a bold contemporary look.
5. What is the secret of a successful carpet?
For us it’s not about a style, colour or design, it’s much more about the personal interaction with our clients. It’s about creating that emotional connection that the design has made someone feel. For us, it’s not a formula that can be figured out and repeated, it’s a more of a personal story for everyone. As a designer I don’t set out to design what I think people want or what is successful, it’s the exact opposite.
6. Which one of your rugs is your favourite and why?
That’s an easy one, my favourite is Beauty—a design that was shortlisted at the 2016 Carpet Design Awards at Domotex Hannover. People inspire me and I’m always drawn to faces. Each year I design a rug with a face, it is something that happens naturally for me. Beauty is made in 100% hand-spun silk and has a three-dimensional texture with over twenty colours including tones of gold, orange, grey and aubergine.
HRND Living Room
7. What kind of interior projects have you worked on in the past or are working on now?
We have had the pleasure to work on various interior projects from around the world - in Europe, India, USA and the Middle East. These have been five star hospitality projects such as the Hyatt Regency New Delhi, Park Hyatt Mallorca and currently a high-end private residence in Princess Gate in London just off Hyde Park.
8. Can you describe one of the most exciting projects you have worked on in the last five years?
Every project has its own challenges and brings a lot of satisfaction to us, as the creating process is always exciting and different each time. Recently we were commissioned to design the rugs for the Park Hyatt Mallorca Resort. When designing the rugs for the guestrooms and suites we researched the local flora of the island—from olive trees to pampus grass—for inspiration. One of our previous designs called Textures was a shortlisted for the CDA at Domotex Hannover in 2013 for Best Studio Artist. The client had seen this in the press and he loved it so much he requested us to design the same concept for the ballroom of the resort. This was very complex to do, as we had to develop the original design of 3 x 2.5m into the ballroom size of 225sqm without loosing its characteristics.
Park Hyatt Mallorca Resort
9. Are your designs already stocked in China or anywhere in Asia? If not how important is it to you that are in the future?
We are debuting our company in Shanghai so Asia is a new market for us. It is very important for us to able to offer our excellent services to our clients here. Therefore, we would be looking to having a more prominent presence in China as we move forward.
10. What new collections are you working on for the future?
We are currently experimenting with some new techniques, which we have not done before using combined textures and various pile heights, which we will be launching at Domotex Hannover 2018. The collections will be a series of black and white designs from modern to traditional, using various yarns of wool and silk and our first collection of mohair rugs.