Ahead of her Abu Dhabi debut at Park Hyatt’s Art and Design Exhibition, we sit with this award-winning designer who turns memories into works of art
My background is interior design in hospitality. We do custom designs like furniture, lighting, carpets… When I was picking rugs I was always designing it anyway so I thought why don’t I just design something for myself.
I designed 13 rugs first and had them made. I had no idea where it would take me, how it would be received. I wanted to think of it [from the perspective of] an artist and see how people would react.
I launched the first 13 rugs in Germany, where there’s the biggest floorshow (Domotex, the “Oscars” of the industry). I was shortlisted for the Studio Artist category. That gave me more confidence that people actually liked my rugs and understood my vision.
Where does your inspiration come from?
People and places. I put a lot of faces on rugs, normal, everyday people – just an image of a beautiful woman is sometimes very graphic.
One collection is based on architectural elements like streets and avenues, snapshots of memories I’d remember from other cities.
I had one that was a chandelier and someone thought it was a dancing lady. It wasn’t what I had designed but if it’s modern or abstract, people see different things; it’s like art in that way: it can blend with what people want.
What is the process?
Sometimes it’s from photographs or sketches. Then I use Photoshop or PowerPoint to scale the rug and work on colouration. Then the weavers rescale it and identify colours and I pick the colours to go in that placement. Then we do a sample to check the colours. When they do a full graph they weave it from that.
They’re all woven by hand, and a 2.5mx3m rug takes about five months to weave.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned as a rug designer?
Not to follow trends; you have to keep your own belief in what you do. I don’t want to think I have to do something in a certain colour because it’s fashionable this year – I want to go with my gut instinct and create what inspires me.
Tell us about your involvement in the Art and Design Exhibition…
My first step was to bring the rugs back to the Middle East; I’d always shown them in Europe and overseas because I wasn’t sure if people would accept it here, as people tend to prefer more traditional rugs. But I had a good reaction at Design Days Dubai so I wanted to explore more in this area.
We’ll have about 15 rugs from different collections. Every rug has a different story behind it so I’m happy to talk to people and see their reactions.
Art and Design Exhibition at The Residence. Until 10th August. Free entry. Park Hyatt Hotel & Villas, Saadiyat Island. Daily 1pm-6pm. Contact: 02 407 1234, abudhabi.park.hyatt.com