Thread Bare Oriental Rugs – A Growing Trend in Interior Design

If you happen to skim through recent issues of interior design magazines such as Architectural Digest, Elle Décor or Veranda you may have noticed a growing trend of very prestigious designers incorporating worn or even threadbare oriental rugs into their gorgeously appointed rooms. This trend seems to transcend styles ranging from very formal and traditional to transitional and even contemporary.

In my own Nejad Oriental Rug Gallery in Bucks County, PA, we have seen a surge in the number of designers and clients, especially from Philadelphia’s Main Line, Princeton New Jersey, New York and Washington DC suburbs, purchasing antique Persian Rugs that have a good amount of wear and fading. Earlier this month, a client brought in the recent Wall Street Journal Magazine June 2012 featuring renowned furniture maker and interior designer Christian Liaigre’s home on the Rue de Verneuil in Paris. One of the photographs highlighted a beautiful antique threadbare runner in his hallway.  This rug had exactly the look my client wanted for his Manhattan apartment and with our enormous inventory of Antique Persian and Caucasian Rugs he had a fantastic selection from which he purchased several small and large area rugs.

As a designer, I always find it interesting to watch how these early trends find their way into the broader furniture and accessory markets. One example is the recent launch of Restoration Hardware’s Deconstructed Furniture Collection which is made to look unfinished or old shabby chic. Another example is the increase of distressed finishes offered by leading furniture, lighting and accessory manufactures.

Embracing this trend, this month I have begun preliminary designs for a new rug collection that will feature traditional Persian Rug designs such as Heriz, Serapi, Mohtashan, Kashan and Mahal in muted vegetable dyes with plenty of abrash and simulated wear. I am working closely with my master weaver on the best techniques to accomplish the look of wear without compromising the structural integrity and longevity of the rugs. If all goes well, I should have the first samples of this collection in Doylestown by the end of the year.

Happy Rug Shopping!

Contemporary Tufted Rugs Selling for $15,000.00

Clients often ask me which artists inspire me the most.  Having created more and more contemporary and transitional rugs over the past few years, I would have to say that I have most frequently revisited the works of 20th Century modern artists.

My own family boasts two accomplished modern art painters and although both have now passed, I can still feel their guiding presence when I visit the Museum of Modern Art in New York or the modern art galleries in The Philadelphia Art Museum. As much as I am delighted by Picasso, Salvador Dali and Matisse and enthralled by Rathko, Kandinsky and Klimt, I must say it is Yaakov Agam, the great experimental Israeli artist, with whom I really feel a kinship.

World renowned for his kinetic sculptures and prismatic “agamographs”, Yaakov Agam also had several of his fantastic innovative designs made into area size tufted rugs. These textured masterpieces are sought after by international art and rug collectors and sell at auction for $15,000.00 and more.  Mr. Agam’s fabulous rugs have been featured in retrospective expositions at the prestigious Guggenheim and the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris, France.

Like the great Yaakov Agam, I also decided to design many of my modern rugs in the tufted quality using strong abstract geometric movements in bold colors I design my rugs so they can be used as both floor and wall art and the tactile nature of tufted rugs works very well. I find the impact especially dramatic when one of my rugs is used as the central focal point of a monochromatically designed interior. My main ambition when designing my contemporary rug collections is to create a feeling of transcendence and balance within a space. Although it has always been very difficult to explain verbally, modern art can communicate an artist’s inner vision and I have been told by many clients that my rug designs speak to them and that gives me a great sense of well being.

Happy Rug Shopping

How Technology Has Changed the Handmade Oriental Rug Industry
Part Two – How Rugs Get to Market

Advances in technology have dramatically impacted the way handmade rugs are brought to the market. Not only have printed catalogs been replaced by cds or online catalogs, many buyers are able to limit their trade show travel time and expense and simply place orders from established manufacturers from the comfort of their office chair, pretty much the same way consumers purchase items online.

Nejad Rugs had two beautiful wholesale trade showrooms in Atlanta, Georgia and High Point, North Carolina. These huge multi building complexes housed thousands of big and small manufacturers and importers. Twice a year in each location the trade markets are held and retailers from around the country and world attend. Before the internet took hold, it was like watching an empty city fill up for five days and empty in one. Sometimes I would go to our High Point Showroom off market and it was like the proverbial ghost town, half expecting to see tumble weeds blowing down the main streets. Ten show days a year really wasn’t the best use of very costly real estate. Our High Point, NC showroom was my favorite trade location because furniture design is another passion of mine, and High Point was the furniture capital of the world. 
Whenever I could find time to steal away I would visit my friends at the
furniture and accessory showrooms. Baker, Henderdon, Hinkle Harris, Kindel, Karges, Stickley, Matland Smith and my favorite Italian Furniture Maker, Giemme Francesco Molon. My designs worked so well with Giemme Francesco Molon they used my rugs for their gorgeous catalog as seen on their website. 

It was fantastic to walk the furniture galleries of some of the most talented
interior designers and imagine the next rug collections to coordinate with the latest furniture and fabric trends. Many of my rug designs were conceived during these trade shows. In High Point, we had taken over the Shaw Rugs space in the IHFC building. We had really great neighbors including Oriental Weavers, Momeni, Bokara Rug, Couistan, Jaunty, and Mohawk. It was always a pleasure seeing these tremendously talented and hard working people during the shows. Unfortunately Oriental Rug retail stores have a reputation for unprofessional, super aggressive
salespeople more interested in ripping apart their competitors than talking about their own business, making the buying experience confusing, stressful and unpleasant for customers. This is something you will never find at our Doylestown, Bucks County rug gallery and was also the complete opposite with the Oriental Rug Importers during the trade shows. Although we were all competitors, the level of mutual respect and cooperation was tremendous. If one importer didn’t have what a buyer was looking for, they would often send them to another importer who did. I am very fortunate to have made lifelong friends with many of these people and wish each of them continued success.

Our Atlanta trade showroom was another beautiful space with again many of the leading rug importers as neighbors including Safavieh, Feizy Rugs, Home Fries, Jerry Aziz, Lofty and Sons, Megerian, Moosavi Rugs, Peel, Renaissance, Shalom Brothers and directly across the hallway Kalaty. Because Atlanta also had an accessory trade show, I was able to see the latest designs in from home fashion icons such as Ralph Lauren and Barbara Berry to name two.

But technology made our trade showrooms redundant. More and more of our buyers stopped attending these quarterly shows and started ordering from our digital catalogs. This meant we didn’t have to wait three months to see our buyers to show them our new Nejad Rugs’ designs. We could send emails and JPEGS the moment a new design was ready to be introduced – all from of my Bucks County design studio Not only did this save everyone a tremendous amount of money previously spent on
expensive air travel and hotels, buyers could spend more time on product selection and less time running from showroom to showroom.

For buyers who prefer to see our rugs in person, we will make travel arrangements for them to come to Philadelphia and visit our warehouses in Doylestown Township, Pa. and Quakertown, Pa. I have found that this makes for a much more personalized and relaxing buying experience for our Nejad Rugs dealers. Although, I still think trade shows play an important role in the market place, they are not the necessity they once were before the age of the Internet. We still may decide to open another
trade showroom at some time in the future but for now, the internet is working for our wholesale business just fine.

Happy Rug Shopping!