Having Dutch, Chinese, Egyptian, Pakistani and German ancestry, what role does culture play in your creative process? “I would like to think that being multicultural allows me to transcend culture. I can draw from so many perspectives and resources, letting that flow naturally in my work. I don’t sit down and go, ‘I’m going to design something with Islamic geometric influences.’ I might start there, but I always find unexpected ways to present them – usually by mixing cultural references.”
How does your background in furniture design, interior design and illustration influence your collections? “It allows me to have a bigger viewpoint when it comes to home presentations. If I focused solely on rugs without thinking how they work in the overall picture, then the approach would not be as successful. The rug is one piece of everyone’s personal jigsaw puzzle. And given that we have all collected furniture pieces over the years, I need to think how these jigsaw pieces can fit seamlessly together.”
Are rugs superfluous in Asia, given the warm and humid climate? “I don’t think so, as a room is unfinished and incomplete without one. To see a space before and after – the difference is like night and day. The rug anchors a space in the most perfect way. I have never encountered a problem because of heat and humidity.”
When it comes to decorating a home, what comes first, rugs or furniture? “The nice thing is that you can design a space around the rug, meaning it can be the first impression or the finishing touch.”
What’s hot in the world of rugs? “I don’t invest in trends and would rather design timeless collections. Trends age quickly, so I focus instead on workmanship, technique and construction. Each rug is painstakingly hand-tufted through a canvas foundation, before a scrim and protective cloth backing are applied. Finally, the tufts are sheared to create the rug’s distinctive pile.
Where is one place you have recently travelled to that was a source of inspiration? “The last place I visited that truly inspired me was Temple Tree, in Langkawi. The owner took century-old houses from all across Malaysia and shipped them to Langkawi brick by brick. I like to rent one of the houses there for a weekend and create. The light, the location and the peace I feel is intensely inspiring.”