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Kvadrat Rugs: Colour & Collaboration

Kvadrat Rugs: Colour & Collaboration

Exploring Kvadrat’s innovative approach to textiles

'A rug can be the difference between a cold space and a cosy room; between a hard edge and a heart-warming aesthetic; between a house and a home. […] A rug that is warm, soft and textured gives comfort. An expressive and symmetric rug can anchor a room by creating a static image, while a sober pattern can carry the promise and potential of human creativity and interaction.' – Kvadrat

Established in Denmark in 1968, Kvadrat is an exemplar in textile design, production and innovation. Open minded and curious at its core, Kvadrat has been a long-time collaborator of some of the world’s leading designers, architects and artists - including Patricia Urquiola, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Raf Simons and Peter Saville. These pioneering collaborations have pushed Kvadrat to explore new ideas for the use of materials and techniques in the design and production of contemporary designer rugs, upholstery, window coverings, and acoustic solutions.

Kvadrat Rug with Platner table Kvadrat Rug with 100 Screen
Zenit Cross Colour Rug from Kvadrat in green and burgundy with Platner coffee tableBamboo Rug from Kvadrat in chocolate with 100 Screen. Photographer: Richard Round-Turner

Beyond its collaborations with designers and manufacturing partners on the creation of textiles and products, Kvadrat actively and enthusiastically contributes to contemporary culture through ancillary projects, installations and individual art and design works. Anders Byriel, CEO of Kvadrat, recently invited Thomas Demand to design a space dedicated to one such work, the immersive conceptual artwork ‘Yes But’ by Rosemarie Trockel. Titled The Triple Folly, Demand’s intervention is the latest addition to the company’s Headquarters in Ebeltoft, Denmark, a Gesamtkunstwerk building co-created by the German artist in collaboration with Caruso St John Architects.

Kvadrat - The Folly
Left: Paper maqette of The Triple Folly by Thomas Demand. Right: The Triple Folly at Kvadrat’s Headquarters in Ebeltoft, Denmark. Photographer: Nic Tenwiggenhorn

Set within the picturesque Danish landscape, The Triple Folly comprises a still life of three utopian volumes, a sheet of legal paper, a paper plate, and an American soda jerk’s hat, which straddle the worlds of art and architecture and embody Kvadrat’s values.

"I have done at least 300 different shades of purple until I got that one: I was looking for a textile colour, a colour that sits well on the hill, as a contrast to the green,” explains Demand of the structure’s violet exterior façade.

Kvadrat Triple Folly
The Triple Folly at Kvadrat’s Headquarters in Ebeltoft, Denmark. Photographer: Nic Tenwiggenhorn

Besides innovation, it is colour, quality and simplicity that Kvadrat value above all else: ‘We treasure colour as highly as we value collaboration’, states its online manifesto. Kvadrat’s longstanding relationships with trusted production partners allow it to exert greater control over its supply chains and production processes, which are in turn guided by its Conscious Design Principles.

With many of its colourful contemporary rugs and textiles made using natural wool, a renewable, durable and recyclable raw material, production begins with its suppliers: sheep farmers in Southern Australia and New Zealand. Having developed a culture based around sheep rearing in the nineteenth century that has been sustained ever since, the farmers here have perfected a sustainable means of production that makes use of traditional techniques. The sheep are sheared once a year, with each fleece weighing around four kilograms.

After grading, a process by which each fleece is valued based on its fiber diameter, crimp, yield, colour, and strength, the fleeces are baled, barcoded and sold at a local wool auction - allowing the ability to be traced back to their farm of origin. The wool is then cleaned in a scouring process before being shipped.

Australian and New Zealand SheepAustralian and New Zealand Wool

Transformed into yarn thereafter, Kvadrat not only partner with but co-own a number of mills and factories throughout Europe. A weaving mill in Gelderland, the Netherlands, that specialises in the production and weaving of synthetic fibres; a factory in Nordfiord, Norway, that specialises in the production of high quality wool textiles and are especially skilful at producing custom made designs; and a textile manufacturer in Yorkshire, England, where generations' worth of knowledge have been applied to produce ever more efficient wool and recycled wool upholstery textiles: Re-wool and Sabi being two examples, both made from forty-five percent recycled wool infused with vibrant colours of different compositional and tonal expressions.

Kvadrat Wool SamplesKvadrat Wool Samples

Both Kvadrat and their production partners are equally rooted in a shared commitment to enhance quality, reduce impact on the environment, and focus on social responsibility. Investment in warping and weaving machines has increased capacity, improving efficiency and using much less energy and water. Likewise, new dyeing machines require only a few litres of water per kilogram of wool in comparison to a once hefty twenty litres. At Kvadrat’s Wooltex textile mill in Yorkshire, a total of eighty-five percent of the water used in production is recycled, solar energy is employed to power the mill in part, and explorations into the possibility of finishing textiles without the need for chemicals or water at all are underway.

Wooltex Mill
Wooltex textile mill in Yorkshire, England. Photographer: Alastair Philip Wiper.

The textile mills co-owned by Kvadrat also exhibit ‘unintended beauty’ - with industrial scenes as colourful, contrasting and symmetrical as the company’s rugs. In a 2020 book project by Alastair Philip Wiper, the British photographer captures the accidental aesthetics of industry and technology. Examining contemporary manufacturing sites, including Wooltex, Wiper’s imagery offers a rare insight into the workplaces that are usually hidden behind closed doors. The highly technical machinery seen inside the mills is characterised by outstanding craftsmanship, meticulous attention-to-detail and tactile structures.

Wooltex MillWooltex Mill

‘There is nothing in machinery, there is nothing in embankments and railways and iron bridges and engineering devices to oblige them to be ugly. Ugliness is the measure of imperfection.’ – an apt quote by HG Wells selected by Wiper for his book’s introduction.

It is these machines which produce Kvadrat’s unusual modern luxury rugs.

Kvadrat Bamboo Rug

Designed by Polish textile and wallpaper designer Ulf Moritz and German interior designer Felix Diener, we display the Bamboo Rug in rich chocolate, which is a contemporary interpretation of one of the hues found in ancient Persian rugs. The design is particularly dense, every square metre of its long pile rug containing over 1.8 million yarns.

Kvadrat Bold Rug 400cm

The Bold Rug is crafted by twisting and then hand-dyeing its yarns, meaning its tones of grey and orange never completely penetrate the core and make for a distinctive yet subtle irregularity.

Kvadrat Bravoure Rug

First produced in 1986 as part of the original rug collection, the Bravoure Rug is characterised by the interplay between strands of thick and thin yarns dyed in delicate colour contrasts. The Dutch industrial designer and colour expert, Hella Jongerius, more recently reworked the palette and from it we have chosen to display the olive brown high-pile. The Bravoure 60 exhibits subtle irregularities in its surface, which change with the light and the perspective of the viewer.

Kvadrat Grano Rug

Developed from the highly acclaimed Corale rug by Dutch rug manufacturer Danskina, the Grano Rug employs a shorter pile of brown felted wool surrounded by another layer of felted wool in contrasting navy to deliver colour-depth.

Kvadrat Sinuous Rug

From the imagination of Dutch textile and product designer Simone Post comes the Sinuous Rug, the result of a thorough research process into how certain colours create a visual ‘vibration’ when placed next to one another. Hand-twined bundles and twisted fringes of smaller yarns ranging from light blue to black create a playful, pointillist rug that, when seen from a distance, seems calm until one arrives at its hypnotic richness.

Kvadrat Sinuous Rug

Meanwhile, the Zenit Cross Colour Rug features a shimmering surface of dense green short-pile with same colour or contrasting burgundy ‘cross colour’ fringes.

All of the Kvadrat rugs shown here are currently on display in store. For more colour options, please contact us.