When Julia Tonconogy Pfeiffer talks about how she happened to launch her business, The Buenos Aires-based JT Pfeiffer, there is still a little bit of amazement in her voice. She had been in the design business for years but was simply always “just too busy” to follow her dream of designing her own rugs. There was, however, she explains, just one particular moment when she knew she would not wait any longer. She made the decision to strike out on her own. That decision, she says, went hand in hand with another. She decided she must use her art to do her part to help others. That meant joining GoodWeave®. “A rug certified by GoodWeave just has some extra quality for the customers and I feel more confident. It’s important to support this type of organization.”
Julia, who trained in graphic design in Buenos Aires and at the prestigious Parsons School of Design says that graphic design is still the aesthetic underpinning of her work. Driven by a principle that she calls “functional art” or “walk on art”, Julia’s rugs are meant to be practical in any sort of space and as she explains, able to live at the same time with other pieces of art in the room. Today JT Pfeiffer rugs can be found in luxury hotels in cities such as Miami, NYC and Buenos Aires, three cities she loves, in which she has lived and, she adds, flourished. With a goal of creating deeply textural pieces, carved pieces, primarily in 100% wool, she says her inspiration for a rug could be anything from a painting, a shadow made by the sun coming through blinds or recently ornately carved wood.
The raked textures of Japanese Zen gardens have her interest lately. Of her piece Big in Japan, she says, “It’s basically a Zen Garden in a rug.” Although her rugs can come in any colors, the palette she prefers are neutrals, sand colors, grays and off-white tones. Her rugs, she says, are the perfect balance of geometric and organic shapes. In Andeloos (the Dutch word for garden) she has created another piece inspired by Zen gardens. A more subtle nod to a Japanese sensibility is an early piece called Le Jardin, a rug she admits to which she was so attached that she was loathe to sell it. In the case of Le Jardin, Julia says the inspiration was the complex, textured and floral Jacquard textile from the 70’s. The interesting thing about Jacquard textiles, Julia explains, is that its characteristic velvets are different levels which is what she does with the rugs’ pile heights.
JT Pfeiffer rugs are in iconic hotels from Morocco to Miami but Julia never loses the sense of wonder about the power rugs have to create an ambience nor does she ever lose her profound respect for the weavers who make the rugs. She wants her customers to share that respect. The GoodWeave label helps her do that she says. “Rugs enrich a place. Rugs bring life.”
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