Meet Jurgen Dahlmanns, creator of the hottest and trendiest collection of handmade Tibetan floor art. Made in the Bhaktapur, Nepal, Rug Star has quickly received international acclaim for fusing an old traditional handicraft with a contemporary exercise of pattern, colour and material.
Welcome to the Rug Star world of Jurgen Dahlmanns. Now 42, Jurgen became a rug addict at 23, on his first trip to Nepal. Rug Star was founded just seven years ago in October 2002 when Jurgen moved from architecture and in to design. The move fits with Jurgen’s view that a rug is the most liberal form of creating a space within a space without erecting obstacles. He aims to treat a carpet as it was originally intended, as a piece of room -creating furniture.
Rug Star has come a long way in a short time. Besides winning a brace of prestigious awards since 2006, and having one of his rugs on the cover of Modern Textiles and Carpets, Jurgen has also worked on modular designs for IKEA. Rug Star has shops in Berlins, Augsburg and Zurich and trading partners in fifteen countries. During March he was at Samovar Carpets in Kuwait.
THE PERSONALITY OF DESIGN
Jurgen Dahlmanns believes that a textile is the most intimate form of furniture. For him, every carpet has its own personality, so naturally his designs are full of personality. His collections draw on many inspirations, some purely whimsical, and others to fit a purpose. The Quentin Tarantino film, Kill Bill, inspired his gun series, but that fantasy is balanced which combines kids drawings, doodles and scrawls with sophisticated geometries of text and colour. Jurgen respects the traditions of hand-knotted weaving, but he’s no fan of repeated patterns. He prefers what he calls ‘supercharged landscapes with life and colour’. His are rebels in the ranks of standard classical and modern designs.
Of his three collections, Rug Star Classic is closest to conventional designs, varying from simple geometries to organic florals and washed colour fields. The Rug Addict has obvious oriental influences in soft or shocking palettes, Sixties psychedelia and more geometries in squares and rectangles. Love Stories introduces text into the designs, which become increasingly personal. His Works in Progress expand the applications into pop art pieces, furniture, rug sculptures, playful modular patterns and freehand scribbles. Jurgen is fearless about what a rug can look like and do, but that is because he has such faith in the traditional techniques to match his imagination.
All of Jurgen’s rugs come from one workshop in Bhaktapur, Nepal, but this is now much more than a workshop. The four-hundred workers have a day care centre, a school and a small hospital as an extension of their workplace for them and their children. This quality of care has given him a high ranking in the businesses of Nepal by RugMark, which licences operators who observe their campaign to end child labour. Jurgen places social harmony as the most important factor in producing the highest quality rug. As he sees it, one rug will take four or five people working together rhythmically for as many as four months. The harmony in the rug comes directly from the people working together on the rug.
ABOUT JURGEN DAHLMANNS
Originally an architect, Jurgen Dahlmanns’ designs reveal a childlike innocence and curiosity influenced by a childhood filled with chaos and experimental education.
Using only the finest Tibetan wool and silk, Jurgen Dahlmanns brings his rugs to life with the use of natural fibres like nettle and hemp ensuring a long lasting durability and rich feeling.
Being world renowned for his handmade art, Jurgen Dahlmanns is also well known for his social and moral responsibilities as he is 100% against child labour and enforces strict control over his rug production and weaver’s living conditions.
He is a proud licence holder of RugMark International, which works to end illegal child labour in the carpet industry and to offer educational opportunities to children in South East Asia. His workshop is ranked second in the world for the best conditions of his weavers.
It is little wonder that each one of Jurgen’s rugs looks better than the last as they each carry a whole city’s heart and soul in every knot.
ABOUT SAMOVAR CARPETS & ANTIQUES
Born of the Persian Carpet Exhibition in Salmiya, Samovar Carpets & Antiques presents the traditional and timeless beauty of the past with a modern flare, providing a luxurious and leisurely experience worthy of the treasures held within. Being a family-based business the new generation of the family has inherited the skills for searching and selecting premium pieces from around the world and also realise the importance of keeping themselves updated and familiar with the latest interior trends, fabric designs and colours.
Keeping that in mind, they offer a personal learning and buying experience, whilst delivering impeccable professionally supported pre- and post-purchase customer service.
Their vision is to extend beyond the boundaries of the usual carpet store. They strive to assist their clients to find what they are looking for in a comfortable setting without pressure or haste and to enjoy an educational experience with every visit.
They constantly focus on better ways to improve their customer service and continue to provide the best quality products.
For more information, visit www.samovarcarpets.com
First Published in Men's Passion Issue #21 April 2010