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Known for her elegant and simple carpets, Nani Marquina creates with a material and manual process in mind before sketching out the design — instead of the other way around. The results are unique rugs with the precise and essential level of design each material calls for.
Time is the best designer. When we look around us, we can see that many of the products that have stood the test of time were not even “designed,” but have come about from an organic development of an ancient process.
We have previously written about vernacular arquitecture, where the materials and methods of construction are a reflection of the surrounding habitat and resources. When vernacular manufacture and materials are mixed with an original contemporary vision, the results can be incredible.
A renowned designer and entrepreneur from Barcelona, Nani Marquina runs one of Spain’s most international companies, selling hand-crafted carpets in the five continents.
One of Nani’s strengths is creating carpets that fit any modern lifestyle, adding the final touch of design and comfort to any living space. Another one of her strengths — not to be underestimated — is her capacity to choose some of the best designers alive to collaborate with her on the creation of new models.
Above, photos of the process of creation of the Digit carpet, designed by Cristian Zuzunaga. An interpretation of the decomposition of color through pixels, it uses the hand-knotted technique to create a technological look. Depending on the light and time of day, the 26 colors of “pixels” create interesting optical effects.
Above, a contemporary reinterpretation of the traditional Persian kilim, the Losanges, designed by Erwan and Ronan Bouroullec. The name Kilim derives from the Persian word gelim, which means “to spread roughly”, probably in reference to the method of manufacture. Traditionally used as a prayer rug, it is produced and used from Pakistan to the Balkans.
Unique and elegant, the Losanges carpet is made from hand-spun wool, and hand-crafted in northern Pakistan with the traditional method of tightly interweaving the warp and weft strands of the weave to produce a flat surface with no pile. (This one is definitely on my wish list!)
An homage to old-fashioned rugs, the Medina rugs seen below are also made using the kilim technique. Inspired by the rugs widely used in Northern Africa, the Medina represents the modern day transformation of tradition.
Desert nomads built their home on a rug, using it as protection from the ground. They represented an object of daily use, and in addition to providing comfort, they also defined the space.
Kala is the word for “morning” and “art” in Hindi. It is also the name of Nani Marquina’s hand-tufted and brightly colored carpet.
The Kala project was born out of a dream pursued by Nani Marquina since the beginning of her collaboration with the Care & Fair association. She wanted to contribute to the initiatives that help with the development and progress in India — Nanimarquina’s leading producing country. This project brings together the designer’s dream of creating something that would bring together India and her design.
With the purchase of the rug through one of the brand’s distributors, 150 € are donated to the project, thus helping to continue funding the Care & Fare Amita Vidyalaya school in Badohi (India).
I always find it enlightening to see the manual process of the things that surround me. In India I saw how they made beautiful tables with the same method used to make the Taj Mahal. In Vietnam I saw how they made rice noodles (I would have never guessed the method before having seen it!). However, I have still yet to see craftsmen and women weaving rugs. If you also love videos of the process — like me — you will love the following making of of nanimarquina’s rugs. Enjoy: