When Jürgen Dahlmanns speaks about his rug designs, words like “improvisation,” “unpredictable” and “unexpected” pop up in the conversation. In short, Dahlmanns says, his latest designs are “pure jazz.” The owner of Berlin-based RUG STAR first fell in love with carpets of the more traditional variety while trekking in Nepal. “It was there that Tibetans in exile started their traditional carpet manufacture–the hand knotted Tibetan rug. I immediately conversed with the knotters about lots of technical details, and flew back to Berlin with the idea of one day producing my own rug.” When Dahlmanns set up carpet production in Nepal 10 years later, joining forces with GoodWeave was a natural for him. “It is my conviction that we bear responsibility for our actions, both as producers and as consumers. Everything we do has global and social implications, and we have an obligation to make sure that we cause no damage to the world and its population.”
That philosophy can be seen in action at Dahlmann’s production facility in Bhaktapur, in the Kathmandu Valley. On site you’ll find a school, a day-care facility, and a small hospital. “For the workers, visits to the doctor and medication are free. It is our wish to create a working environment and ethos that we can be proud of. And some of RUG STAR’s designs are even inspired by a charity program that helps hospitalized children create paintings. “We have used some of the drawings for Tibetan rugs,” Jürgen says proudly.
Jürgen Dahlmanns approaches carpet design in a host of unconventional ways. He explains that, “Carpets are like architecture,” a field he trained in “only a lot freer. You can create areas with them without having to tear down existing walls or putting up new ones.” His breakthrough innovation? Carpets produced from high-quality leftover materials. When a Tibetan carpet is knotted by hand from silk and highland wool, not all of the material is used. Each of the rugs made from these leftovers is unique, with unpredictable color blends, the result of using a variety of dye technologies. What’s more, Dahlmanns encourages innovation and improvisation in the designs themselves. The collection earned RUG STAR not one but two awards at the 2011 Domotex Trade Fair.
As for the role the ancient art of rug-making can play in the 21st century, Dahlmanns is emphatically clear. “The carpet, the hand knotted rug in particular, are part of the modern trend of surrounding ourselves with things that have character. There is a yearning for things that can age with us, can develop patina–and thus become more beautiful. Carpets are faces of the soul in our lives, and no home should be without them.”
For more information, visit www.rug-star.com.