Reza Zollanvari, Group Managing Director, Zollanvari AG

The story of Zollanvari began in 1947 when Gholamreza (Reza) Zollanvari joined his father’s carpet business, focusing on the production traditional gabbeh rugs. The Swiss-based company is now an international creative force, responsible for some of the best traditional and contemporary Perisan rugs on the market today. While remaining true to Persian carpet traditions the company has reinvented the gabbeh and continually outputs innovative design. 

1. How would you summarise the range or ranges of rugs that your brand produces?

The Zollanvari International range of rugs is truly diverse and eclectic, from the archaic and archetypal to the contemporary and minimalist tribal gabbehs and kelims, and from the innovative re-invention of classical patterns seen in our Isfahan Collection to the finely woven traditional and transitional rugs that draw inspiration from old ‘city’ carpets with a refreshed and updated colour palette to suit modern sensibilities. The range of our production embodies the spirit of Persian carpet design and weaving, with our passion for the artistic weavings of the nomadic people of southern Persia—where almost all our collections are woven—placed at its very heart. 

2. How would you describe the style behind your brand? What makes it stand out from other brands?

We have striven to push the boundaries of carpet design and weaving techniques in creating our collections.For us the art of carpet making has always exemplified the expression of a culture and a way of life, and as a result Zollanvari’s use of pattern, colour and symbolism has been constantly evolving. What sets us apart is the active encouragement our weavers are given to allow their own aesthetic sense to shine through the designs. Individual, expressive, timeless and unique carpets have been the result—a Zollanvari hallmark that has defined our brand's 'style' and established us as a global trailblazer in creating carpet art.

3. Where are your carpets made?

Almost all of our carpets are made in southern Persia, principally by nomadic people with whom we have cultivated and nurtured extensive personal relationships. Our carpet production distinguishes itself by a sensitive regard for the traditional way of life of the nomads and their natural environment.



4. Who designs your rugs and what has been the inspiration behind some of the latest collections?

I create the initial design concept that I pass to the design team in Iran. What inspires me principally is the rich heritage of Persian carpet patterns but I also look further afield to the weavings and art of other cultures, and of course studycolour, pattern and interior design trends. All of these elements inform our carpet designs. We also sometimes commission designs such as our collaboration with the Milanese designers SoFar SoNear and our planned collections with the Austrian design team at NOV24 for 2017. 

5. What is the secret of a successful carpet?

The million-dollar question. Colour and design harmony, great fluidity, great material (wool or silk or a combination), excellent weaving prowess and above all a great soul!

6. Which one of your rugs is your favourite and why?

I really couldn’t name afavourite rug. Our product range is so diverse and wide that to choose just one would be impossible! I couldn’t even choose one from each design group. Any carpet that has great soul would automatically become my favourite!




7. What kind of interior projects have you worked on in the past or are working on now?

We have worked with exclusive hotels creating bespoke designs based on ourgabbehs and transitional collections. Our carpets have been used principally in suites and public areas. We are currently quoting for an 80-suite hotel project, which is scheduled for completion at the end of 2017.

8. Can you describe one of the most exciting projects you have worked on in the last five years?

One of the most exciting projects we worked on was the Retreat Hotel at Schloss Elmau in Germany. It was exciting and historic! One hundredkilometres to the south of Munich, Schloss Elmau hotel is set against a picturesque landscape on the edge of the Alps. Its annex Retreat hotel, completed in March 2015, was centre stage in television broadcasts in June as the venue for the G7 Summit.
Zollanvari literally ‘rolled out’ the red carpets in the suites and some public areas of the Retreat annex—minimalist design two-tone handmade red carpets woven to a detailed brief given by the hotel’s owner Dietmar Müller-Elmau. He has shown a fondness for handmade carpets and has called all the design shots at his hotel establishments. This is not only evident in the
Amaleh quality carpets made by Zollanvari used for the refurbishment of the original Schloss Elmau hotel but also in the beautiful flooring designed by Müller-Elmau and produced by Zollanvari for the new Retreat hotel. The resulting creations are appealingly modern and radiate from the interplay between two shades of red. Dietmar Müller-Elmau opted for 100% highland wool. The wool was dyed red using common madder—older roots to achieve darker hues and younger roots to produce the lighter shades. The exact composition of the natural red dyes remains the master dyer’s secret but the abrash effect achieved is complex and striking.



9. Are your designs already stocked in China or anywhere in Asia? If not how important is it to you that they are in the future?

Yes we already have a subsidiary in Wuhan, Hubei (Bafang Road, No.1 Dongxhiu) where we hold a great selection of our designs. For us Luxury Brands presents a great opportunity to source partners/agents in China and further in Asia. Elsewhere in Asia, we have our major representatives in Japan in Kobe-city, Carpet Gallery Co., Ltd. (www.carpetandrug.net).

10. What new collections are you working on for the future?

Without giving too much away, beyond the contemporary collection being developed by NOV 24, we have plans to develop ourgabbehs, looking at tribal designs and art from other cultures and traditions as far afield as Japan and South America.