A wise man once told me: each member of our team is a story unto themselves.
After three years beside him, naturally he’s strived to impart that same fundamental lesson to how we relay the world that hides behind a handmade rug. We strive to be different in the way we talk, the attention we pay, the details we capture and, most of all, the people we bring into the fold to handle these herculean labors.
The problem — albeit a good one to have — is to keep up.
Keep up with that exponentially growing collection of 5,000 plus that needs a prolific, devoted staff. Keep up the same care and detail in every rug’s photography, design and description to keep up a rapidly growing, ever-vital eCommerce presence (itself born to keep up with the exciting boom in home furnishings that’s helped us thrive these last few years).
Proud as a family team can be of its success, naturally the people behind that success seldom see the credit they deserve. While many of our friends and colleagues have become acquainted, just as many have yet to put a name to a face, and vice versa, behind what’s new, and who’s new, here in the showroom. So in the name of keeping up, why not get two birds with one stone?
Here, in the first of our Rugs of the Month features, we highlight the home team at Rug & Kilim and shed a little more personal light on their favorites from June 2022.
Those who know our esteemed Founder & Principal Josh Nazmiyal could never truly expect him to pick a single favorite piece. Even after 42 years of collecting and custom creation, the now is all that matters.
June’s “now” for Josh is a delicious custom sample, previewing the living room piece of long-time collaborator Brock Forsblom. One must almost hunt for the pattern, enjoying subtlety you’d rarely see in this vibrant range of coral reds.
Rug & Kilim’s newest VP & General Counsel Sina Nazmiyal has had an exciting few months since joining the family team. Youngest son and brother to Josh and Cyrus respectively, the lawyer-turned-leader made a big investment in his long-hoped addition to the team, lending both passion for growth like that of his father and a level-headedness like that of his brother.
Sina’s June pick is a 9×12 medley of melting colors and regal Oushak inspiration from our Burano Black-Weft Collection. Classic floral patterns in most unusual green and golden-orange hues exemplify the antique-meets-modern look Sina loves in this line.
Four years leading a team into modernity and maturity have taught VP Cyrus Nazmiyal the value of rarity. The business & hospitality aficionado is directly responsible for, among many tasks, cultivating this team with an eye for talent.
Experience and ambition like his father’s will always need the ever-elusive x-factor Cyrus offers, and attracts, to our team. The ambitious, forward thinking and uncommon creative mind that changes everything is exactly what he covets.
To wit, Cyrus’s June pick is a rare antique Persian rug of Kerman provenance and stupendous 12×17 palace size. Kaleidoscopic colors, meticulous craft and grand historic pedigree all embody the richness and rarity of a one-of-a-kind hand-knotted rug.
Leave it to a world-traveler trained in design, fashion and education to exemplify that je ne sais quois that defines us. Unsurprisingly, Sales & eCommerce’s Nina Gilden is among the fastest learners to ever find her niche with our atelier team. Her priority is a simple one: that her clients leave with a piece they simply couldn’t find anywhere else.
Nina’s June pick is where the atypical meets the outstanding, among the most uncommon antique pictorial rugs ever curated. This 9×12 like a surrealist painting of characters and cartouches that jump off the ‘canvas’ is exactly her style. Iconic creations like that of this Tabriz rug, to her, are more modern than any classic of its time. This writer is confident both she and I will eat those words when Josh’s next curation comes in.
After three years at R&K, Lead Designer Nikita Nagpal heads a design team unlike any in her craft. The SCAD graduate and Red Dot Award Winner is the right hand of our custom department, and perhaps the most prolific maker in our Art Department’s history.
Therefore, we forgive Nikita’s June pick for being her own design; a favorite 10×14 rug from our Homage Collection. After all, this second edition of her ‘brushstrokes’-inspired design presents her innovative layering of colors more clearly than ever before. Playful patterns, careful color variations and a unique marriage of art and shabby-chic all attest to Nikita’s bold composition. (No, we are not humble about our love for Nikita’s work, either.)
If a picture’s worth 1,000 words, few are needed to commend the head of our Digital Imaging team. Even so, it’s worth noting that Andres Mercado had his work cut out for him upon joining Rug & Kilim. Handmade rugs and Kilims are, as some know, among the most difficult mediums to capture in their subtle craft. A library later, we are proud to be as renowned for Andres’s photography as any facet of our team.
The keen eye of Rug & Kilim is in love with a most unusual, yet quintessentially vintage Kilim this June. This 9×10 believed to be of Bessarabian provenance plays an intriguing palette of reds and blues for this style. Such arresting florals and flame-like hues so evocative yet organic alike are exactly what Andres strives to capture.
“Beware the quiet man. For while others speak, he watched. And while others act, he plans. And when they finally rest… he strikes.” eCommerce Director Andy Yoon doesn’t share this author’s melodrama, but after four years working together he certainly expects it.
Little else gets by Andy in the vital role he’s played to build our online presence from scratch. It takes a meticulous leader to wrangle writers, designers, photographers and fellow departments to make the leaps we have. If the soul of this month is celebrating behind-the-scenes leaders, one might call Andy the unsung soul of the new R&K.
Andy’s June pick is an exemplar of mid-century Kilims, and one that certainly appeals to his eye for precision. Where archaic pattern meets refreshing, whimsical colors and classic becomes modern couldn’t be a more fitting favorite for Andy.
For all the challenges bespoke rug ateliers face today, the personal touch remains our greatest advantage. Todd Neitring’s pre-R&K career alone spoke to a history of excellence, but to see his communication is everything. Next-generation neophytes and A&D luminaries alike enjoy Todd’s passion as much as his sophisticated custom and classic curations.
Naturally, Todd’s June pick is a 12×20 antique hooked rug that embodies the irreplaceable, personal touch. Even this extremely collectible technique rarely boasts such eccentric, funky colors and brilliant craftsmanship — let alone magnificent palace size. Just like Todd, there are so few of its kind we’re as proud and lucky to host.
In 20 years as Josh’s oldest and dearest colleague, Logistics Manager Wilson Ojeda has seen it all. Four showrooms and thousands of pieces later, he remains every bit the foundation of Rug & Kilim as ever. Providing clients a seamless logistical experience means bearing the burden of a million moving parts on a daily basis. Even so, as our senior inventory expert and shipping guru to whom we owe our reputation, Wilson bears it all with an infectious grin we, too, rely on daily.
Wilson’s June pick is among the few remaining, earliest treasures of Josh’s collection — an iconic 9×15 Abstract-meets-Art deco rug. Its graphic, gliding strokes and brilliant large scale remain as energetic and one-of-a-kind as they were circa 1920-1930.
Justin King’s colleagues can always count on his creative perspective in a project (like they can count on this author for alliteration). The Florida native turned New Yorker has a knack for curating refreshing, livable rugs with just-right punctuations of attitude.
Justin’s June pick is a 10×13 take on Moroccan rug styles, recapturing Berber attitudes in soothing off-white and blue. Where any can admire the cozy pile and comfort, what calls to Justin is a border few might appreciate. His favorite shade of blue in this chaotic-meets-clean nature “appeals to the nerd in him” that loves the understated.
Fine, 11 picks, you caught me. Your not-so-humble author has read, frankly, far more articles on the decline of ‘loud’ rugs than she can stand. So, my June pick is a rebellious 9×15 wool-and-silk painterly flat weave, where the only subtleties are in the technique and the tale behind this masterpiece.
I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears when I was told this piece was a vintage Swedish flat weave. Even those in our field acquainted with the brilliant Ege Ryas and mid-century flat weaves from that movement might agree. The condition, the subtle movements of color for a flat weave, the scale — even among the boldest works of the Scandinavian renaissance, these attest to one of the most modern, meticulous pieces even we could make.
Still, baffled as I might’ve been to learn the provenance, everything I loved in the piece made that much more sense with context. After all, it takes skill to achieve curves in such a large scale that capture this watercolor-like beauty. So, too, does it take irreplaceable, ever-vital experience to see how some of the finest classics age like fine wine, and 60-70 years later I still feel as if I’m looking at a new rug. Those who know Josh like I’ve come to know when he seldom indulges in abstract rugs, they stand alone. His is an investment in a more luxurious, less-generic take on the style like this riot of color I’ve come to adore. Rather than denouncing rugs of somewhat bombastic presence, he and I eagerly await the bold project that welcomes them.
So, too, would we love to hear your favorites this June from any you’ve seen here and beyond. Let us know what you love in handmade rugs and kilims or reach out to anyone on our team — otherwise, look forward to next month when we share more of our favorites.