Everyone wants an art rug

Is it art for the wall or for the floor? is a question we find ourselves asking more and more often thanks to the current hype for handmade luxury art rugs. From the Venice Biennale to Museums of Contemporary Art to stylish living spaces across the globe—high-end carpets with an artistic flair are taking over.

At the heart of the success story is a growing number of collaborations between innovative rug companies and visual artists. A firm favourite with the Art Basel crowd this summer, the Woven Forms Collection pools the talents of Italian carpet brand Amini and New York-based gallery R & Company with its stable of distinguished 21st-century designers. For those who like to imbue their home décor with a sense of fun, the limited-edition Chet Snaker shaped rug designed by The Haas Brothers ticks all the boxes.

To find a true painterly rug, one may turn to the likes of London’s Knots Rugs, a prestigious brand that has perfected the art of painting with wool. Transforming the compositions of artists like George Morton-Clark means delighting in translating the texture of impasto brushstrokes into weaving, and capturing subtle colour variations through an extensive range of dyed yarns. There is a big difference between one artist working with a palette and canvas and the twenty-five people—designers, dyers, weavers and other artisans—the process of producing a hand-knotted luxury rug may involve.   

Getting a rug based on a famous artwork is a sure way to add an interesting focal point to your interior. Henzel Studio is responsible for Andy Warhol’s iconic Marilyn Monroe imagery hitting the floor, and regularly collaborates with blue-chip contemporary artists. That artists can really thrive on seeing their work reborn in a different medium is something American brand Creative Touch discovered through a collection with painter Carol Benson-Cobb. The dramatic hand-knotted wool and silk Coastal’s End rug is a section of her painting Coastal Landscape. ‘The best way to create derivative works and cohesive collections,’ Benson-Cobb explains, ‘is to crop sections from the original painting.’

To make a bona fide art rug, it of course helps if the founder of your company is a master image maker. Enter Jürgen Dahlmanns of Rug Star. From the figurative to the abstract, Dahlmanns creates high-end rugs guided by the principles of ‘Diversity, Movement, Colour and Quality’. His Waterlily designs in the Persian weave combine primary colours in blurred blocks, channelling the refined colour gradations of a watercolour.      



1. Chet Snaker rug, The Haas Brothers in collaboration with Amini Carpets

2. At the End of the Day Everyone Has a Skull Behind Their Face rug, George Morton-Clark for Knots Rugs. © Knots Rugs, 2018

3. Waterlily 12 Beach Day rug, Rug Star by Jürgen Dahlmanns