Like shoes complete an outfit, a rug completes a room – a rug can tell a story and the latest Designer Rugs collection does just that.
Entitled COMMUNITY, the new collection designed by Senior Designer Christine McDonald and Junior Designer Chloe Boudib, explores their respective changing environments during the global pandemic and the greater sense of community they both experienced.
To learn more about the inspiration behind the designs and the designers, including sort after tips, read our interview with the duo.
How long have you worked for the company?
Christine: Almost 20 years
Chloe: Just over a year
Describe your 2020 lockdown in three words.
Christine: Consciousness, challenging, calm
Chloe: Calm, togetherness, change
During lockdown, puzzles, painting and baking were popular creative outlets for many – as creatives, other than designing one-of-a-kind rugs, what’s the creative outlet that brought you the most joy?
Christine: Before Covid I was rarely home to spend quality time with the children during the week as my commute is an hour twenty each way, being home meant we could do puzzles, play board games and draw together. I enjoyed having more time to prepare meals and found this one of my favourite outlets. I also relished the time to read magazines from cover to cover, feeling inspired and excited about design.
Chloe: I definitely attempted to go down the painting route. I am so used to working on a small scale and my design work, whether it was at University or here at Designer Rugs, usually revolves around creating a range of motifs that then can be manipulated and rearranged digitally. I have so many blank canvases sitting at home and thought I’d use the extra time I had up my sleeve to try painting on a canvas again, which is something I haven’t really done since high school. I found it to be such a relaxing process, accompanied by some music or podcasts, it is definitely my ideal downtime project. There is something really special about creating things by hand, it just makes the outcome unique, so I do hope to continue this throughout the year.
The COMMUNITY collection explores changing environments – how did your own environment change last year?
Christine: As mentioned above, I was home more which I loved. Home schooling had its challenges, but we all were in a place we hadn’t experienced before and made it work to best suit us. During lockdown I realised I was happier being able to be home for the family and I now split my time between the office and working from home.
I appreciated the simpler way of life with less commitments. I cherished the Zoom catch-ups with my friends and family, walking the dog and when we were able to go to a restaurant it was even more special.
How long were you in lockdown and how did you best communicate during this time with fellow designers?
Christine: I was in lockdown for approx. three months. The design team continued our weekly Wednesday meetings via Zoom. These meetings were a chance to discuss any issues arising over the past week, talk about new collections we’d like to propose to the Designer Rugs team and generally check in with each other. Our daily communication continued via email and SMS.
Chloe: Being in Sydney we were pretty lucky that the lockdowns weren’t too strict, but I ended up working from home for around 3 months. It was an interesting time though, almost like all life as we know it came to a standstill. With all functions, events and sport cancelled, as well as working from home, the craziness of a full-time schedule suddenly disappeared, and I definitely had more downtime. More time was spent at home with my family, walking the dog and there was a strong focus on digital communication from trivia nights via zoom with friends or weekly video meetings with my fellow designers. At Designer Rugs our main form of day-to-day communication is email, so that stayed quite prominent but also needed that visual interaction to debrief and discuss any other matters that was too difficult via email.
Nature and nostalgia play an important role in the new collection, either in a distorted form or an ode to traditional design elements such as Art Deco geometry. What was it about these two concepts, that resonated with you during lockdown?
Christine: As we spent more time at home in our own backyard, we rediscovered the joy of the simple things in life, prior to constant commitments and interruptions. I live in an area that is a mix of older people and families. I loved watching my neighbourhood become closer during this time. More people spoke to each other, we sat out the front of our homes having a drink with the neighbours and saying hello as they walked their dogs by.
During lockdown made me reflect on what it must have been like for those living prior to the digital age. It’s astonishing how fortunate we are that we live in a time that we can simply call, Zoom, SMS, FaceTime, and communicate over social media with friends and family – how we can see what is happening around the world all through one small handheld device.
Chloe: For me, inspiration comes from nature and travel. With travelling out of the question during lockdown, it meant that I could draw ideas from nature around me. The camera roll on my phone was filled with photos of plants and flowers that I’d take whilst walking. Elements of these images actually helped form the rug design ‘Evie’ in this collection which was taken from a bird of paradise plant that I painted.
Art is so often representative of the sign of the times and admirably the new collection follows this logic. Why was it important to you to create rugs which are in-tune with what is happening in the world?
Christine: As we were all restricted with our travel and spending more and more time within our homes and communities, we wanted to mark this time with a collection that we feel represents it. We were also aware that as this was happening, people were focusing on their own interiors. Our collection had this in mind and COMMUNITY was about adding joy to your home. The colour palette is playful with neutral bases, and as we can custom colour and size, it’s not difficult to adapt the designs to suit each and every home.
Chloe: Now more than ever, people are eagerly awaiting new content, new designs and new products to feast their eyes on. As we have all been spending a lot more time indoors, there has been a strong focus on the interiors industry people looking to refresh and update their spaces. With this in mind, we wanted to create a collection of rugs that had an element of playfulness to them, yet also very versatile.
What is your go-to tip for choosing the perfect rug?
Christine: The first step in choosing your perfect rug is to decide if you want your rug to be the star of your room or to simply anchor your room. Once this is decided, next is to ensure the right size – bigger is always better! Mark the area out with newspaper, this always helps to visualise the rug within the space.
Chloe: I think it is important to find a balance between a practical rug that is fit for purpose and a timeless design that will help bring a room together. Make sure the space is measured properly and pick a design that brings you joy, complements its surroundings
February 8, 2021