Date: 19 Jul 2021 194 Views
The centuries-old journey of modern carpet designs 
An Antique Aubusson rug in a contemporary setting

When you consider that the world’s oldest known carpet, the Pazyryk carpet, has been dated to around the 4th century BC, manufacturing rugs is nothing new. Throughout the centuries, the design of carpets has gone through countless transitions, reflecting the trends of the era and the traditions of their place of origin.

In recent years, there has been somewhat of a Renaissance in interior design, with many professionals looking to the past for inspiration when purchasing modern and contemporary rugs. Not only has this seen a renewed interest in traditional rug designs but an improvement in the quality of weave and wool compared to what was being manufactured in the early 20th century.

From ancient Persia to the heart of France
A traditional Hadji Jalili inspired carpet in lighter colors 

From ancient Persia to the heart of France

To understand modern rug and contemporary carpet design, it’s worth looking at the design progressions that have taken place throughout history and the influences from the global centres of manufacture. Among the most important influences on modern carpet design are Persian rugs, which are characterised by their thick pile, rich colour combinations and often floral designs. In most cases, Persian rugs were named after the village or region in which they were woven, such as Tabriz, Kerman and Kashan. 
 
Persian rugs are embodied with meaning, with the patterns, weaves and palettes reflecting that of the indigenous culture or nomadic tribe. According to ancient tradition, the designs employed in rugs could even protect the owner from evil and misfortune. Generally speaking, more floral patterns were woven in urban areas while geometric patterns were associated with tribal groups. Patterns that appear to flow in a particular direction were usually intended as prayer rugs.

A persian rug pattern recreated by The Carpet Cellar
A persian rug pattern recreated by The Carpet Cellar

Today, many modern carpet weavers are drawing on traditional Persian designs, reflecting a renewed interest amongst homeowners and interior designers. Their florid and highly ornamented aesthetics work perfectly in contemporary homes that are characterised by minimalist furnishings and clean lines. A modern rug inspired by Persian carpet weaving traditions can be a statement piece in a room while also being imbued with cultural meaning.

An Antique Aubusson rug in a contemporary setting

Also manufactured in the former Persian Empire were traditional kilim rugs, which are instantly recognisable due to their simple and bold geometric designs. Kilims are sometimes referred to as “slit woven” rugs due to the small vertical slits along the edges of the pattern that help to highlight the geometric designs. One of the main differences between kilims and other types of handmade rugs is that they are made using a flat weave on a loom, rather than being hand-knotted. 
 
Modern kilim rugs are becoming increasingly popular as floor coverings in contemporary homes, not only because of their bold colours but also their affordability. This is largely due to their flat weave design, which is less intensive to create than hand-knotted Persian rugs.

A vintage Kilim made by tribal nomads
A vintage Kilim made by tribal nomads

Another style of carpet that employs the flat weave technique was developed in the French town of Aubusson. Aubusson carpets are unmistakably European, with soft colouration and designs that range from Baroque to Neoclassical. They often reflected the royal trends of the period and depicted scrolling acanthus leaves and cabbage rose bouquets. 
 
Today, owning a modern Aubusson rug is still a symbol of sophistication and prestige, just as it was in the 15th century. Contemporary carpets inspired by Aubusson rugs are ideal in refined and elegant rooms with an interior design approach that is classically European. 
 
Creating new rug designs according to centuries-old traditions 
 
When it comes to modern rugs and contemporary carpets, new designs are constantly being envisioned that draw on the traditions and techniques of times gone by. Architectural innovations are also influencing carpet designs, with vintage-style rugs helping to “ground” spaces in open-plan homes and provide features in otherwise minimalist rooms. 
 
At Carpet Cellar, we offer rugs across the entire spectrum, from old to new, including contemporary carpets inspired by ancient trends. Purchasing a modern rug for your home is so much more than just a floor covering. It can be a work of art that embodies traditions passed down through generations and reflects the changing trends in global cultures.

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