Falling in Love…with a Rug

08Aug06

Roses Rug
It’s true. When Nani Marquina debuted its Roses rug in 1995 to the design world, I was besotted. A bed of overlapping, felt petals woven together as if they’d fallen randomly, magically from the sky. Roses quickly started capturing design awards the way Cupid stores up arrows. It’s been a darling in every design magazine’s Hot Product List with good reason: it’s innovative, sumptuously textured, unexpectedly gorgeous and, now I’ve learned it’s sustainable too. Oh I almost can’t take it!

Roses has birthed a personal company challenge: each rug creates 27 scraps: how could they transform them into a beautiful new product? Nani Marquina invited guest designers to participate in a hands-on workshop called Extra Roses last month to work with the die-cut felt and create all kinds of products that will be included in the Nani Marquina line of products. Now that’s a rosy ending.

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4 Responses to “Falling in Love…with a Rug”

  1. 1 Anonymous

    i don’t think it is rosy at all.
    watch the video http://www.nanimarquina.com/dev/frontoffice/nanimarquina.php

    took a lot of handmade power. and what are their wages? and working conditions. and who likes to spend time hand weaving. hand knotting.

  2. 2 Steph Z.

    Thanks so much for pointing out the video I watched this morning! Yes, the rugs are made in India, and one can definitely feel the undercurrent of classism between Indian workers and the seemingly well-off consumers video [that’s a whole other topic we all can chat about!]. According to the video, nanimarquina is a member of Care and Fair, a European organization that fights against child labor practices, while building schools, hospitals and so on in developing countries. nanimarquina mentions at the end of the film they use no child labor and donate a portion of their revenues to the Care and Fair program.

    Since nani marquina is based in Spain I haven’t talked with them directly, but I do receive their monthly newsletters which are also on their website [they’re actually a fun read!]. They’ve worked with the same Indian manufacturers since 1992 and share stories about their annual visits with photos in their newsletter (see Feb 2005 #17 for example). They also promote other product companies doing interesting sustainable things (see issue #18 on recycled products and the rug nani marquina makes from recycled bicycle tires).

    Rugmaking is labor intensive for sure–whether made in India, New Zealand or New England. It’s an age-old tradition that many people take pride in continuing today. I appreciate your vigilance and will e-mail them to find out more specifically about wages and working conditions for their workers. Your point is excellent and I’ll report when I hear back so stay tuned!

    It’s hard to find a perfectly green product since there’s a cost to anything that’s manmade. And definitions of eco-friendly vary on who you talk to [even organizations like LEED the standard for green building reassess their criteria regularly. It’s far from perfect.

    For FG, the green aspects here for the Roses rug are its use of biodegradable materials (wool felt); efficient use of materials (reusing virtually all scrap); and social responsibility (no child labor and donations to Care and Fair).

    Thanks again for your thoughtful point and for reading. This site is made better by readers like you who share knowledge, opinions and input.

    Best wishes!

  3. 3 Anonymous

    You are writing about Nani Marquina.
    As far as I know the felt rug was new in October 2005 (see MOCOLOCO)and for sure not in 1995. As far as I know this rug didn´t receive any awards so far. The mentioned Spanish Award in 2005 was as I read, it was for her work, not for the rug. The reason for this is that there is someone else who invented this type of rugs. It is Mary-Ann Williams from Illu Stration Germany who received a number of International Awards for her felt rugs like FORM 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, IF Design Award GOLD 2004, IF Material Award 2005, GOOD DESIGN AWARD 2005, ID 2006…. Those rugs are really sustainable and ecofriendly. Without Illu Stration there would be no shaggy felt rugs on the market.
    In Western-Europe there is no need to talk about child labor. There are also ecological laws which really exist.
    By the way Europe (especially Germany) has for sure much higher eco-standards than India.

    I also wonder why she needs to make a workshop for die-cut felts. She only should ask directly at a desiger who already has a perfect collection of felt design products: Mary-Ann Williams. It would be much easier for her and better for her reputation. She should avoid to be once called best copying designer of the year.
    Please don´t forget to compare the rugs at:
    http://www.illu-stration.com

    Regards Kylie from Belgium (Europe)

    PS: I am sure Nani Marquina already knows this website.

  4. 4 Fabulously Green

    Hi Kylie,

    I just checked out Mary-Ann Williams’ work and it’s beautiful. I will definitely contact her personally to learn more about her products. Really appreciate the introduction to her work. Thanks!


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