Love of ancient traditions endures

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 April, 2012, 12:00am


It is often said that every carpet comes with a story, and shoppers visiting the 17th floor of Horizon Plaza will soon discover just how true that is.

At CarpetBuyer, customers can hear about the tradition and techniques that go into making an antique Persian or a 100 per cent pure silk kashan, or learn how the natural colours of Tibetan wool differ from the vibrant dyes of a patchwork Pop Art design.

Along the way they will also receive an impromptu geography lesson. The intricate floral patterns and indigo blues of the workshops in Nain in Iran may be on display next to a 50-year-old masterpiece from Baluchistan. A room-size antique American saruk, made of the finest wool more than a century ago, could be across the aisle from a contemporary classic from Turkey or a flat-weave kilim reminiscent of the Navajo Indian styles.

'When selecting any carpet, we take account of quality, colour and style, whether it is classified as contemporary, old or antique,' says Heena Mir, consultant for CarpetBuyer, who has been in the business for close to 25 years. 'Every piece undergoes a stringent check and, if anything doesn't please us, you won't see it in our outlet.'

At any one time, about 4,000 pieces are in stock. They are sourced with the help of specialist dealers, some of whose families have been in the carpet trade for generations. Their contacts stretch from production centres in Turkey and Iran to the tribal areas of Pakistan.

In contrast, modern designer rugs, famous for their vibrant colours and eye-catching motifs, will usually come from workshops in Europe or the United States, where the latest collections also represent the very best of their type.

'One of our great assets is being informed about what is happening where,' Mir says. 'That means we know where there may be another treasure trove, but it also allows us to buy competitively and provide good value for money.'

Fashion is also a factor, making it important to track new trends and concepts. Lately, vintage and patchwork carpets have been a big hit. Old World styles, such as the William Morris or Ziegler, have been re-thought in the past 25 years. Where once pale colours and subdued elegance were the norm, designs may now feature vivid pink, blues and greens never seen before and creating real Pop Art feel. 'These pieces work with either contemporary or traditional furniture,' Mir says.

'Clients really love these styles because they bring more colour into the home.'