It all started with a desire to involve some of our very bright, very talented friends in our new business.
Though Mehmet has a long history with rugs, he's a trained architect. I'm a writer and designer who's worked mostly on web sites, apps, brands and services. We wanted to create Floorplan to bring a fresh perspective to the rug industry — one that's open, creative and attuned to how things get done in 2015. We wanted to make buying great rugs easier for people, and we wanted to support the skilled artisans who keep this timeless craft alive.
As designers, we also wanted to make some really cool things that people would love to have in their homes. One thing we both love about handmade rugs is that their history is rich, long and interconnected with culture and politics — and that this influence is actually reflected in traditional rug designs, sometimes subtly, sometimes overtly.
Unfortunately, the same is not always true for contemporary rugs. More rooted in current design trends, the patterns are conceived more like fast fashion and textiles; they look great, but they lack the storytelling that we appreciate in traditional "Oriental" rugs.
So we started thinking about how we could bring this level of meaning to contemporary rug designs. Ultimately, we thought it made sense to emulate how designs were made traditionally — being inspired by the places around us. But we didn't want this to just be about how we perceive some of these places; we wanted to see how others would perceive and interpret places as rug designs.
Clockwise: The Bahktiari garden design reflects the importance of the garden in family life and homes in Persian culture, pomegranates are symbols of fertility and life; in this Kazak, bird figures, eagle symbols and bright colors embody the lifestyle and tastes of the weavers. A skilled weaver works on a hand-made rug.
New York City is such an icon —and, nostalgic for us since it's where we first met— that we decided to start there. We sent out a brief to friends and colleagues, asking them to participate. The response was so overwhelmingly positive (we had no idea so many people wanted to design rugs!) that we started thinking of it as a beta test that would prepare us to create a platform where designers and people all over the world could commemorate their cities as rug designs, whether they have experience designing rugs or not.
Since our intention is to make this a community-based platform going forward, we thought we'd take the idea to the people through a Kickstarter campaign to produce the first set of rugs. It's also a test for us to determine whether the idea has the kind of interest from the creative community that we hope it does.
Behind the scenes of our Kickstarter video shoot
So that's where we are: knee-deep in the beta test and actively seeking to engage people in an idea that we're really excited about. We have an initial set of rug designs ready to push into production (a process we're very experienced with), eager to start thinking of what city our next brief focuses on, and to open up the design call to a whole bunch of creative minds around the world.
The truth is there are SO MANY cities worthy of becoming rug designs that we're leaving that decision to the people, too. As part of our Kickstarter campaign, we're letting backers vote on which city should be up next.
However you choose to be involved, we hope you'll be with us to bring this idea to life!
What can you do? Back us on Kickstarter! Tell your friends! Share this blog on your favorite social media channel!