I haven’t really written about rugs and flooring on the blog because, frankly, I hadn’t found anything worthy of living under an Eames chair or Juhl coffee table. Unless you’re going the eclectic route, oriental rugs are generally out of order for modern design. And rugs with contemporary styling are often made by machines, using bleached and synthetic fabrics. They are mass-produced and they look that way.
Of course there are always corners of the world where one can find handmade modern carpets sold by dealers who are not middlemen, but advocates of quality design and high ethics.
One example of this kind of merchant is Gary Coles-Christensen, whose store in Santa Fe, New Mexico offers original, one-of-a-kind designs along with antique pieces. Gary has a relationship with each carpet. He knows the source of the material as well as the lives of the craftspeople who weave the products by hand. His operation has an integrity of design and production akin to that of the mid-century modern movement.
Until now, you had to visit Santa Fe to soak up his collection. Not anymore. This week Gary launched Desi, a new brand with an online shop where you can browse and buy rugs online. Desi offers designs by Y Murata, Todd Scalise, Victoria Price, and Gary himself. The product showings are accompanied with personal descriptions from Gary along with his charming pen and ink drawings inspired by his trips to historical weaving capitals of the world like Turkey, Morocco, and India. In a move that breaks from high design tradition, every rug is in stock and available for purchase and delivery via PayPal.
Desi is an unabashedly modern collection, alternately making use of clean spartan forms and organic, asymmetrical patterns derived from nature. Because the rugs are hand woven with unbleached fibers, they have an irregular, natural quality that would suit a mid-century modern home. All are durable enough to last a lifetime. Here are some of my favorites:
Social responsibility is also central to Gary’s business. He served on the RugMark Board of Directors and every Desi carpet carries the GoodWeave label, certifying that it was woven without the use of child labor.
Full disclosure: Gary is my brother-in-law, so inevitably there is some bias in this post. But at least you know I can personally vouch for the quality of his stuff. I visit his store at least once a year so I’ve seen and touched the rugs. I even have one in my home. Don’t be afraid to hit him up with questions. He knows his stuff and is happy to chat about how they’re made or which design is right for your home.
See more about the launch of Desi on my personal blog.