Traditional luxury: Persian carpets
Persian carpets, for most of history, have been considered the pinnacle of authentic craftsmanship and artistic designs woven on rugs.
The authentic carpet industry in Iran – once known as Persia – may be regaining its desperately needed dynamism. However, while the popular Persian carpets made in Iran, have not been widely exported and suppressed due to trade sanctions, other new forms and players in carpet design had just enough time to prosper in the region.
“While traditional antique carpets hold a big place in our heart, new, contemporary handmade carpets are exciting and are considered a welcome touch in every new home,” said Mohamed Maktabi, who, along with his sister, started Iwan Maktabi galleries, first in Lebanon and then in Dubai, becoming a reputed high-end rug retailer for the region.
“The gallery contains a wide variety and various collections of contemporary hand-made carpets,” Maktabi tells AMEinfo.
Respecting ancient traditions
While introducing new designs and styles better suited to contemporary homes, Maktabi noticed that the industry has not given up on the traditional, authentic methods that have been used to weave these artistic canvasses.
“Using age-old techniques of traditional carpets, we are pushing the boundaries of carpet weaving by enrolling famous designers to come up with revolutionary designs and colours,” he said.
Persian carpets are usually handmade and use different materials including wool, silk, pashmina and cotton.
“The [patterns] are inspired from classical carpets, but pushed to the limit of design. So, each carpet is almost a work of art,” Maktabi says.
Some of the designers whose carpets have been displayed in the Dubai gallery include Jan Kath of Germany, Hossein Rezvani from Iran, Bokja Design Studio – which comes from Lebanon and Karen Shekerjian.
However, this luxury design industry is not limited to regional players. Christopher and Suzanne Sharp, co-founders of The Rug Company, collaborate with the likes of Alexander McQueen and Diane von Furstenberg to create artistic, high-end carpets. The rug company also has a home in Dubai’s Alserkal Avenue.
Maktabi notes that the gallery targets “high-end interior designers and homeowners who have an affinity with design,” he says, adding that this target audience is found in the UAE and other GCC countries.
“We always find that our newest and boldest designs are picked up in the Gulf before the Levant. This is due to a trendy consumer base that is interested in the unique, the bespoke, the rare and the unusual,” Maktabi adds.