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Off the Loom

Our Design Journal

Design Spotlight: When Art Inspires Innovation

The Bauhaus School – which turned 100 last year—presented a new way of looking at art, craft and technology. No surprise that Bauhaus elements found their way into our Atelier 2019 collection, which demanded a completely new way of weaving to make something truly original. 

The story behind our Sahara rug starts with an unlikely inspiration: an octagonal jewel box designed by Koloman Moser, who founded the Wiener Werkstätte with architect Joseph Hoffman. While developing Atelier, Merida art director Sylvie Johnson, struck by the simple beauty of this form, envisioned a repeating pattern that would become a signature rug in the new collection. Translating this pattern to our Sahara rug was anything but simple, however. Woven from Belgian linen, New Zealand wool, and the finest Egyptian cotton, it took the Merida team more than two years to develop a new way to weave on the Jacquard.

Traditionally, Jacquard looms weave rugs face-up, a process that works well for our Portfolio collection. In order to create the structurally layered pattern of Sahara, we had to rebuild the loom to bring the cotton warp forward. To do this, the craftsman found a way to slow the throttle of loom to a fraction of its normal speed. It takes four times as long to weave an individual Sahara rug than our Portfolio flatweaves.

Of course you might say that slowing things down is not smart business. But stopping the presses and reimagining what’s possible is exactly what is required to make something exquisite. By leveraging technology in a bold new way, we are blending looms and handwork to create a work of originality, a balancing act of art, engineering and soul.  

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