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A Sophisticated, Geometric Rug Collection With Style to Spare

This week, Brooklyn textile designer Dana Haim released the fruits of an exploration into what her dream product might be — a collection of beautiful, naturally dyed rugs, with geometric prints that reimagine traditional Zapotec patterning through a more modern and minimal lens.
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Our New Secret Source for Amazing — and Affordable — Rugs

A few years ago, we were asked by one of the glossy magazines to name our go-to source for amazing, affordable rugs. At the time, we cited Rugs USA as the place to buy insanely cheap, reasonable facsimiles of ultra-trendy floor coverings — think Beni Ourains or overdyed Turkish kilims that look great in photographs, but won't exactly be passed down as heirlooms. But lately we've found ourselves scouring another extremely unlikely source for textile gems.
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Week of November 30, 2015

A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. After spending the week culling our gift guides to just 75 items, we're still including a Shopping section — there's just too much good stuff! Plus: a sneak peek at our LA show, a mega-design auction preview, and Oyyo's new rug collection (above) styled by one of our favorite photographers.
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Portuguese Designer Célia Esteves of GUR Rugs

While Portugal is probably best known, these days, for manufacturing clothing and shoes for big brands like COS, Zara, and Camper — or if you're a product designer, for supplying 50% of the world's cork — Porto-based designer and printmaker Célia Esteves homed in on its longtime flat-weave rug-making tradition when she founded GUR two years ago. After meeting a weaver in her hometown of Viana de Castelo, who for 15 years had been handcrafting the style of rug that she'd seen on "every Portuguese kitchen floor" since she was a child, Esteves decided to hire the weaver to use the same technique to produce colorful limited-edition designs commissioned from illustrators she knew and admired, like Atelier Bingo and Ferreol Babin. We recently interviewed Esteves about the project, which has collabs with Après Ski and Reality Studio on the way; scroll down to read more about how she transformed a local craft into a contemporary design brand.
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Aelfie x Studio Proba Rugs

For the rest of this week, we'll be bombarding you with our favorite finds from last week's Milan furniture fair, but we'd be remiss if we didn't first highlight one of the best things to recently launch on our shores: A colorfully graphic series of limited-edition rugs, pillows, and prints that represent a powerhouse collaboration between two Brooklyn designers, Alex Proba of A Poster a Day, and rug designer Aelfie Oudghiri. The two designers have strangely similar backgrounds — both attended medical school in Europe before finding their way to Brooklyn's collaborative design community — as well as a complementary aesthetic that's heavy on geometry and asymmetry.
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Campaign for Oyyo shot in the Manvar Desert of Rajasthan.
Photo: David Magnusson / www.davidmagnusson.se

Oyyo, Swedish Textile Designers

Lina Zedig and Marcus Åhrén, of the Stockholm-based studio Oyyo, take a best-of-both-worlds approach to their work. If Zedig is the self-described perfectionist who obsesses over color and composition, Åhrén is the “action person, always keen to get new projects going and thinking that everything is possible.” For their first collection, which launched in 2013, they employed age-old techniques to craft flat-weave dhurries, but imbued the familiar form with unexpected geometric and architectural patterns. And while their carpets — in combinations of pastel pinks, yellows, and oranges, deep blues, greens, and black — have a cozy, at-home feel, they also reflect the restless, roving spirit in which Åhrén and Zedig, avid travelers, created them. It’s design for settling in, not settling down.
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CC-Tapis Rugs

An offshoot of a 1940s-era French-Persian rug house, CC-Tapis is a contemporary design label founded in 2011 and based in Milan. Each rug is hand-crafted by Tibetan artisans in Nepal using natural fibers, dyes, and processes to create a high-quality work of art. The company occasionally collaborates with artists and includes more traditional degradé wool patterns in its archive but we fell hard for these perfectly styled, geometrically-inclined specimens from their most recent catalog. Shot by Lorenzo Gironi, the photos of the collection are a perfect blend of simple colors and minimal props that bring the rugs into the third dimension with style. Check out some of our favorites below.
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20th Century Carpets at Wright

At the modern design auction house Wright, rugs have long suffered that classic rom-com affliction: Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Despite being the key focal point of most interiors and often being as artful as art itself, they've only played supporting roles in larger furniture auctions — a tendency not exclusive to Wright, either. Next week, though, the Chicago- and New York–based dealer is hosting its first sale devoted entirely to the genre: "20th Century Carpets," comprising nearly 150 lots curated by Nader Bolour of Doris Leslie Blau, beginning with a late 19th-century animal-themed Indian tapestry and ending with contemporary kilims. In the middle, there's an incidental emphasis on Swedish rugs, particularly mid-century examples made by the manufacturer Märta Måås-Fjetterström. To jazz up the sale's catalog, Wright shot the images you see here, pairing some of its most beautiful lots with furniture and art by the likes of Jonathan Muecke and Ben Jones. Read more about it after the jump, in our interview with Wright's Senior VP, Michael Jefferson.
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Carwan Gallery Launch: Samare

Through today, Sight Unseen is showcasing the work of half a dozen designers and design firms exhibiting together at the Milan Furniture Fair under the umbrella of the soon-to-launch Carwan Gallery in Beirut. Here, Nicolas Bellevance-Lecompte, one quarter of the Montreal and Milan–based design studio Samare and the co-founder of the Carwan gallery itself, tells us about the group's new and strikingly geometric felted-wool rugs, made in collaboration with the Belgian textile designers Antonin Bachet and Linda Topic. The project is the latest addition to Samare's ongoing Pays d’en Haut Legacy series, which investigates and then reinterprets the vernacular forms and decorative motifs of Canada's upper country, home to its logging and fur trades. Since their studio launch in 2008, they've worked with local snowshoe craftsman, weavers, and furriers in an attempt to show the world — and their fellow Canadians — how these longtime traditions and crafts can still prove relevant to contemporary culture. After the Milan fair, the rugs will travel to New York, where they'll be presented by the design store Matter during ICFF.
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Helfand’s Garland rugs, which debuted at this year’s ICFF, were inspired by Nepalese prayer flags. But the process by which she arrived at a final design was more complicated than simply basing the rugs on her original photographs. True to her multidisciplinary past, Helfand created this imagery by producing a series of sculptures, tracings, drawings, and photographs that all informed the final product.

Amy Helfand’s Garland Rugs

Even though Brooklyn-based artist Amy Helfand has been designing rugs on commission from her Red Hook studio since 2004 — hand-knotted wool rugs, it should be mentioned, that sell for at least $125 a square foot — she still has trouble defining herself in those terms. “Up until recently, I never really thought about rugs,” she says. “I thought about making my artwork, and some of that artwork I’d make into rugs. But it was never like ‘Ok, this one comes in 5x7 and 6x9.’
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