It is no surprise that Milan-based designer Kristiina Lassus has recently won three international design awards for her collection of hand knotted carpets. After receiving a Master of Arts in Design Leadership and a second Master of Arts in Interior Architecture–both earned in her native Finland–Kristiina worked for several highly regarded design firms before striking out on her own. She fell in love with Milan where she founded Kristiina Lassus Studio. “I had been following the rug market and thought that a niche for me might be the combination of artisanal techniques and modern design,” she said. When Kristiina finally created her line of hand knotted carpets, she immediately turned to GoodWeave®. “I just felt I wanted the people doing the weaving to benefit, not just by having work but by providing shelter and education for their children.”
Her rugs, hand knotted in Nepal of wool, silk, linen and bamboo, “speak softly and don’t dominate.” They speak the language of contemporary design and simplicity but the techniques and connotations are rich with history and heritage. “I love emptiness. When I look at an object, I don’t just see volume, I see the space around it,” she says. That sense of space, she explains, comes from her roots in Finland. An image which she finds “so essential and so beautiful” is “the archipelago with its rocks made bare and smooth by the ice age.”
She says she looks at all her projects with the eyes of an interior architect and she aims for coherence with “culture, identity and style.” The rugs speak the language of modern design, but the techniques are rich with history. For example, Onoko and Oyo are new interpretations of nomad rugs, but unlike the high pile and low knottage of these rugs, hers are made with low pile and 100 knots making them more contemporary and higher quality. “I don’t follow trends,” she says firmly. “I want the rugs to last for decades.”
A rug in the end, she believes, isn’t just material and a design. A rug is passed from hand to hand in the process of being created and it takes in the warmth of human energy. It is a process that as a result creates a unique product. “I want the people who make it know how much their energy is appreciated,” she says.
Though she lives in Italy (which she loves for its beauty, culture and appreciation for fine craftsmanship) and has spent, a lot of her time in India, her values are fundamentally Finnish. “Duty comes first and we take a lot of responsibility for our work, ourselves, the environment and, of course, others.”
For more information visit to www.rugs.kristiinalassus.com.