When we launched our Pool Rug in 2016, a designer we admire came up to our booth at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, took one enthusiastic look, and said, “Oh, I get it. It’s the new cowhide rug.” You get used to taking in spontaneous first impressions at trade shows, but this one kind of stuck with us because it gave us insight into what it was about the rug that was exciting. This kind of reciprocal relationship with our clients over time has more deeply shaped our practice than I think we’ll ever know.
Over the past five years of making these rugs and seeing where they end up, we have had a chance to witness this design’s ability to create space and movement within a floor plan. Its biomorphic shape breaks up the rectilinearity of an interior and allows designers to reimagine their furniture compositions. So, this newsletter is an ode to our Pool Rug, but even more so, it is an ode to the designers who have used it to envision new relationships within space.
The original design for this rug came to us as a way to play with tradition. At the time we weren’t thinking as much about floor plans as we were about exploring the possibilities of a heritage fabrication process. We were inspired by the American tradition of braided rugs made in New England. They are ubiquitous and for good reason. They can be made with a variety of fibers, are unbelievably durable (there is one in our kids' preschool class right now), are soft and supportive underfoot, and are easy to clean and care for over time.
Because we make all of our rugs to order, the fabrication process allows room for customization which we’ve learned serves both the design and the final environment where it lands. Yarn types and colors can all be custom specified and we work with each custom client to come up with an overall form specifically composed for their space.
This process can start anywhere from a client sketch, a furniture or floor plan, or overall dimensions. From there we create a set of design drawings along with any needed yarn samples for client approval. Once approved, we plot full-scale paper templates for our partner mill in New England. The highly skilled mill team uses our templates as guides to make braided rug rounds that then get trimmed and bound together to form the overall finished rug.
Along with our standard 100% undyed wool and wool blend yarn options, all of our braided rugs are available with the option of Sunbrella yarn. Our Sunbrella yarn is made with 50% recycled content and is Standard 100 OEKO-TEX certified. As well as being our vegan and wool allergy option, our Sunbrella rugs are fade-resistant and can be used indoors and outdoors.
You can find all our rugs through our Bainbridge Island, WA studio, in New York at Colony, in Los Angeles at Lawson-Fenning, and now in Portland at Spartan. Please contact us at [email protected] for more information, custom quotes, or to request braided yarn samples.
Oh, and please keep sharing your photos. We learn so much from all of you!
Photography: Trevor Tondro for Ghislaine Vinas, Charlie Schuck, Tony Cenicola for Dufner Heighes and Brooke Holm for Colony and Regan Wood for Amy Kalikow.