Creating Rugs Inspired by Urban Landscapes

Having a rug that reflects the personality of your space is as essential as buying sturdy furniture – a good one will last you a long time. And for minimalist homes, a rug that blends the right amount of elegance and function can often be difficult to find. Always on the look out for that perfect combo we got in touch with Lena Jiseborn, the design director of Kasthall, to tell us about their latest rug collection inspired by urban landscapes.

The theme for Kasthall’s 2017 collection is Arrival of Origin. Their collection reflects a play of opposing concepts such as restraint and excess, adding and subtracting. Paired with a color palette of light neutrals drawn from nature, their rugs result in shades that combine rich, elegant hues from muted oil paintings, ethereal perfumes, pigmented glass, artichokes, mussels and naturally colored textiles.

 

Tell us a bit about Kasthall and your design philosophy.

Kasthall embraces Scandinavian design and Swedish design, which has a high-cred factor worldwide and is associated with quality, natural materials and sustainable production. In line with this, we care about every single step in the production chain. We work with honest, quality, natural materials, and have a profound respect for handcraft. Everything is pared-down, unfussy and understated. Our playfulness is in the design, but with a twist – a play on color in a sumptuous, harmonious balance. 

Who are the designers involved in the 2017 collection?

This year, four of the new rugs were created by the Kasthall Design Studio, and four were created by Maja Johansson. Then we’ve further developed some of Gunilla Lagerhem Ullberg’s classics.

Maja Johansson uses an expressive palette of color and pattern, with artistry in the nuances, and a beautiful sheen and depth in the mottling. While understated, her work always flaunts a something bold or exciting.

Gunilla Lagerhem Ullberg was Kasthall’s lead designer for 28 years. She found great inspiration in fashion, but always ended up with nature. Flowers were often a part of her design language. She experimented with binding techniques in such a subtle way that the colors alone formed a pattern. In this year’s products, the Kasthall Design Studio built on Gunilla’s tasteful color selection.

The first two rugs to come out in this year’s collection are Field and Madison. Inspired by nature, the Field rug is launched in five colors and is available in a wide stripe and smaller stripe version. Using their LOOP technology, the rug features stripes reminiscent of wooden floor planks and the shadows that fall through venetian blinds.

Meanwhile, Maja Johansson turned to inspiration from urban environments and architecture in creating the Madison rug. Its patterns will remind you of building facades and blueprints of the city. Even the color schemes, in muted shades of blue and gray, are an ode to pavements and concrete.

Describe your design studio.

Our studio is located in the Kasthall factory, located in Kinna, around 35 miles east of Gothenburg, where we’ve been for 128 years. Our ideas come to life in the atelier, among the spools of yarn, hand-tufting and weaving looms. We also have looms for Wilton weaving and a tufting machine for wall-to-wall carpeting.

Design ideas for woven carpets are then further developed in an ongoing production process. First we weave the samples on our looms, where we all do our “mini-tests”, then we try them on a full scale. We tuft our initial design ideas by hand on looms with a looser tension and move on to larger scale production as soon we feel that the idea holds and is interesting on a larger scale.

We put together the color mix by botanizing in our vast yarn archive, which contains more than 6,000 colors, and has naturally been expanded and developed over the years. We also develop our own, unique, Snutter and Chenille yarn in-house. This is quite unique. We use this yarn primarily for weaving as it gives an interesting structure and surface.

What goes in the design process?

The design process for a new collection is an annual process. Every year we have a new theme, this year it was Arrival of Origin. We start with a kick-off, drawing inspiration from something current. This year we visited, among other things, an artist in her studio for a discussion and cultural exchange. The collection is built up with a cohesive color palette so that the products can be combined with each other. 

What were the challenges in coming up with 2017 collection? 

We had so many good ideas this year that our challenge lay in narrowing it down to the best – that’s why we had 12 new products in 2017, which is unusually many.

Another challenge was that many architects have been asking to blend colors in the tufted rugs in the same way that we do in the woven rugs, for which we work with a yarn chart of 160 colors. This is now possible thanks to our new LOOP technology.

Tell us more about LOOP Technology. How is it different from the traditional way of creating rugs?

Kasthall has developed a new way enabling us to tuft bouclé (looped yarn) in different pile heights. Before, we used to cut the high bouclé in a cutting machine. Here, the nuances between the cut and uncut bouclé formed the pattern. In LOOP technology, all the bouclé remain uncut, creating an interesting surface, and a new expression between the different heights of the uncut bouclé. The height difference in the pattern creates a shadow effect, enhancing the three-dimensional expression in a subtle way. In LOOP technology, we use our fine ‘hair’ yarn, for which we have a fantastic color palette of 116 colors.

Which home style would fit the Field collection and the Madison collection, respectively?

Field draws inspiration from origami, floor planks, shadows falling through Venetian blinds and nature – a field that has just been ploughed. This is combined with a playful feeling of tweed and knitted sweaters, making Field ideal for younger, more contemporary and dynamic homes. The raw, cut edge gives Field an honest, organic feeling.

The LOOP-tufted rug Madison with its architectural grid pattern suits a more muted and elegant interior with an international edge. This chic, sturdy rug, which is also framed with a cut edge, is inspired by architecture, scaffolding, libraries, silence, footsteps, knitted sweaters and matelassé. 

Placing rugs in our living spaces are often seen as an after thought, yet rugs have a great impact on the overall design of our rooms. It’s nice to draw influences from our surroundings, be it the serenity of nature or the hustle and bustle of the city.

How do you choose your rugs? Which matters more to you, colors or patterns? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

For more tips and inspiration on how technology revolutionizes the way we design our homes, check out some of our other articles on home and technology.