It is so easy to overlook where one treads their footsteps. In our contemporary lives, our floors are neglected as we live above ground level on couches. That is the argument of Nani Marquina, a Spanish textile designer who was the first to work on the concept of designer rugs.
Marquina studied industrial design in Barcelona, and was successful with her first made-to-order textile designs. Established in 1987, in what was then the unknown field of design, the brand today creates carpets intended to reassert the importance and pleasure of rugs.
“The floor is the basis, and for me it’s important because the rug is the tool where you delineate the space of where you live, Marquina said.
“Bedouins started in doing so by building a house on top of a rug.People need to recognize a space for themselves, and by putting a carpet or rug on the floor; they can then recognize their house, she added.
Today, and particularly in Egypt, wooden parquet, marble or tiled floors are sparingly covered, if ever. As children we are told that floors are dirty and are forced to play on higher ground. Marquina’s creations demand that you reach down to touch and experience them, to walk barefoot and feel the rugs tickle your soles.
“I want people to be sitting on the carpet, living on the carpet. We want people to touch down and feel the carpet. .[Also], I want to transform the products in becoming something contemporary for young people. The work is a mix, she said.
Marquina has no fears about how her creations will be received in Egypt.
“It’s easier to introduce a product into a country where they already have such a history, she said. “I hope that the work is a success here. The Egyptian people are, I think, emotional people and I think that they will like the colors and textures.
Colors and textures are plentiful in her work. “I like to change the notion of a carpet with its textures, she said. Flower shapes are cut out of thick felt, and arranged on a carpet which she calls “Little Field of Flowers.
“Roses too, as well as “Bicycle, clearly identify the respective forms of the carpet.
“It depends on the rug, whether it will be focused on the design or texture, she said.
She has introduced a variety of materials into her designs, wool, cotton, jute and some novel choices too.
“Bicycle is slightly different, a carpet made from the inner tubes of old bicycle wheels, shredded and weaved – a most original creation. However it may feel to sit and live on such a textured rubber carpet, Marquina clearly illustrates how she perceives the world and her versatility as a designer.
There is of course a great deal of playfulness in her designs, but Nanimarquina is a brand with consciousness. Marquina’s carpet entitled “Global Warming is entirely blue in color save for a blob of white with a small 3D polar bear figure in the center. Simple in design yet loud the message, Marquina’s green-consciousness extends not only to statements but to the very production of her work.
The company partnered with Care & Fair, an initiative founded in 1994 that works against illegal child labor and in support of workers in the rug making industry in India, Nepal and Pakistan. All of Nanimarquina’s rugs made in India are guaranteed to not entail child labor. In addition, Nanimarquina donates 1 percent of the value of its rug imports to Care & Fair to build and fund schools, hospitals and health programs for those living in rug making industrial zones. Marquina has collaborated with many other designers, recently with Ron Arad, an architect from Tel Aviv who works across both design and architecture. Jointly designing “Do-Lo-Rez it is a witty interpretation based on the concept of the pixel, a most crucial component of the virtual world.
“Do-Lo-Rez stands for ‘do low resolution.’ Arad designed the couch for the Italian brand of Moroso, and with Marquina’s carpet, the concept is intended for the consumer to play with volume and shape as the designs allow for a variety of arrangements.
And how is it that she gains inspiration for her endless designs?
“Observation and travel, she said with a smile.
Art of Form opened its showroom on June 6 at Designopolis, the new furniture strip mall on the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road. The sprawling store brings together high-end furniture brands from Italy, Spain and the Netherlands all under one roof.