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Magic carpets between art, nature and territory

The carpet is one of the oldest furnishing objects: the oldest carpet discovered, known as the “Pazyryk carpet”, dates as far back as the 5th-4th century BC. Since then, the art of the carpet (woven or, more commonly, knotted with very different techniques) has greatly evolved: and yet even in 2024 we find design and aesthetic directions rooted in tradition.

First of all, in materials: wool, silk, cotton, hemp, coconut and other natural fibers dominate the most interesting proposals. These are materials that tell stories of territories and local manufacturing traditions, through the use of which it is possible to recover and save resources and exploit them in the best possible way. 

One example is the project “Tinto in Pecora” by Mariantonia Urru, presented in the exhibition “Il cielo in una stanza”. It is a collection of seven iconic carpets from the Sardinian company made exclusively with colors derived from natural wool purchased from local farmers and shepherds. The entire color palette is made without any chemical intervention; mixing different amounts of black and white sheep wool results in a final palette of seven colors ranging from ecru to dark blackberry.

Image courtesy Mariantonia Urru

From natural materials to used or reclaimed materials. 

G.T. Design provides two examples of how creativity and upcycling can result in sustainable and eye-catching products. MeatPacking Antique Hemp is a collection of rugs produced using salvaged antique hemp fiber cloths. While the rugs in the MeatPacking Patchwork collection are produced using fragments of vintage rugs between 30 and 50 years old, mainly from Turkey. The fragments are bleached, dyed with nitrogen-free and non-toxic dyes, and reassembled to create original and fascinating designs.

Image courtesy G.T. Design

We then witness recovery from old carpets but also from discarded materials. Inspiration that brings us back to a project featured in the Material Library under code 716801. These are three-dimensional carpets handmade by women in the villages of northern Thailand. Small tubes of cotton fabric scraps salvaged from textile industries are sewn around a base fabric, resulting in colorful, playful-looking and fun carpets.

Material ConneXion Library code 716801

Paragraph apart is dedicated to Lila Valadan, a German-Iranian artist with a long family tradition in the world of carpets, who presents “Night Time in A Palace”, a series of spectacular installations in which carpets are placed in a decorative context that enhances their textural and chromatic aspects.

Valadan, who masterfully employs the unique traditional Persian techniques of knotted carpet, explores the theme of the “worn effect” in a wholly original way, developing interrupted patterns, mixing shiny with matte and working with different reliefs. The installation is enriched by suspended objects that descend from the ceiling – lamps, feathers, tufts – and by direct or soft spotlights that, together with dominant warm colors such as red and beige, contribute to creating a magical, timeless atmosphere.

The result is an “ethereal combination of dream and reality, a surreal encounter between art, design and carpets,” as the artist herself describes it.

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