Understanding Sustainability in High-End Rugs Today
The desire for eco-friendly rugs and natural fibers on the market is becoming more relevant to our industry than ever before.
Hand-knotted and handwoven rugs and flat weaves with recycled materials are becoming a more widely recognized alternative in beauty and functionality to non-sustainable styles, with more gorgeous and chic variations on the market all the time. With the rising appreciation of materials like organic wool and silk, hemp and aloe, sisal and jute to name just a few, the trend towards all natural, organic and renewable materials has become more active in the decorating process than ever.
Some of our own long-time favorite trends Josh has seen in the industry — including all natural silk like that in the most exciting of our modern collections — are beginning to earn more love amongst our colleagues as well. To wit, as new techniques and material blends for all natural rugs and kilims join the market, today we hope to educate new luxury carpet buyers and decorators on the basics in sustainable rug design.
What Makes a Rug Eco Friendly?
As an encompassing term, “Eco friendly rugs” mostly refer to:
Rugs with undyed, natural yarns – like those reimagining the vintage colorways in our Scandinavian Collection — are another example of an eco-friendly rug with a biodegradable feature that still looks fabulous underfoot.
[Photo—Eco 2 with caption: From the modern living room on Fishers Island, featuring our custom sisal rug. The richness and natural luster inherent to this style sits beautifully by the water with light-and-dark furniture alike.]
Why it Matters Most
Sustainable rugs and flat weaves can help reduce one’s carbon footprint, nudge the industry towards relying less on eco-toxic materials and also encourage material innovation among young and experienced weavers alike.
The process of handweaving rugs with natural materials itself is not new — one example being rugs made from hemp grass, which has been a prevalent material as old as 10,000 years in society. It’s the relevance to a modern society struggling more with climate change than any generation prior, in part, that has turned high-end rug makers more to implementing and innovating organic rugs today.
What Materials Make Rugs Sustainable?
Aloe and hemp rugs are among the most widely regarded organic rugs on the market as they’ve become more mainstream. Similar weaves in all-natural silk, sisal, and especially jute as it’s become more popular in the industry, are becoming as sought after by designers and decorators today as they’ve gleaned throughout the history of Architecture & Design.
These natural fibers enjoy a variety of distinctions, but one commonality they share is the rich earth tone and chunky texture in the rugs made from hemp, jute, sisal and similar organic materials.
Benefits of Designing with All-Natural Rugs
On top of the ever-important task of protecting the environment, organic rugs lend both a visually and atmospherically refreshing quality to welcoming spaces.
In terms of practicality, rugs with natural silk offer an inviting play of the light that lends a brilliant sense of movement and openness underfoot. Jute and sisal pieces exhibit a similar luster when, playing off their naturally chunky weaves, lend a consistent, soothing decorative option in luxury rugs for the modern interior. Even among more colorful, pattern-present options in these weaves, pieces favoring vegetable dye further enjoy more resistance to fading overtime than, arguably, anything else in our industry (hence the ancestral preference of these dyes like that of the classics in our Kilim & Flat Weave Collection).
Durability is among the most desirable qualities in hemp rugs in particular, as even among the variations of hemp available today this remains a consistent feature in rugs made this way. Relevant to all rugs but especially to Kilims and flat weaves, which are normally more vulnerable to buckling and shifting underfoot, durable rugs lend the obvious benefit of longevity as a piece becomes a part of a home.
Josh’s All-Natural Custom Rug Picks
In addition to exciting new hemp, jute, and sisal additions to our custom collection, our all-natural hemp & aloe Scandinavian weave is among our newest endeavors joining the flagship of our modern collections. Spiritually, as Josh has always seen the Scandinavian Collection as both a resurrection and contribution to the style, the all-natural flat weave option represents both that and the contribution to eco-friendly design as a leader in our industry.
While our varied Scandinavian Kilims all have variations of natural fibers, from the hemp and aloe option designers are coming to love the warm tones, textures, and overall chic in the look of this line to such a point that we anticipate some very exciting projects in our future.
Equally promising, our line of patchwork Kilim rugs features a range of versatile sizes and an ample line of samples capturing their appeal. The core concept of these flat weaves’ appeal is married to their surprising appeal to an eco-friendly market — namely, their use repurposed materials intrinsic to the look.
The use of vintage, recycled yarns in the panels of patchwork Kilims lends each one an innate originality to their gentle power. Samples help capture the sensibility, but the employ of old materials creates a completely individual aesthetic in each piece. The kiss of color against neutral tones is ideal for beach vibes, coastal projects, wicker furniture, and natural lighting to name a few benefits of designing with such refreshing flat weaves.
Our Principles as Makers
The psychology of eco-friendly rugs goes hand in hand with our own ambition to observe free-trade materials, best standards and practices and the most modern ways of approaching our field — the ideal being a shift toward organic materials and integrity as a normalized practice among leaders like ourselves.
What this means for our custom rug clientele is that we continue to offer access to not only the best looms in our industry, but the most ethical and environmentally conscious looms for these creations. Avoiding chemically treated materials and embracing sustainability as the new norm in luxury rugs might prove as practical as it is enriching to the home if the interest continues to skyrocket as it has.
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