Maximalism has been deemed one of TikTok’s top home decor trends for 2022, according to a study commissioned by Stelrad. The research team found that #maximalistdecor roped in more than 25 million views on the app, making it the most popular interior design trend after “vintage revival”.
Lively and exuding oodles of personality, maximalism calls for more colours, more patterns and more accessories. But before you begin bringing out all of your clashing clutter — forgotten figurines, framed artwork, mismatched cushions and the like — consider investing in statement rugs to liven up your space while still grounding it with a sophisticated edge.
Although we reside in the Middle East, we need not limit ourselves to traditional Persian and Oriental rugs, for there are a handful of local designers and interiors aficionados who are creating one-off styles that make bold statements. From colourful gemstones and sneaker-shaped rugs to designs that combine pop culture with a punch of pizzazz, here are the UAE brands making carpets for the style-conscious consumer.
Rugs in Vogue
"Make your home reflect your personality." That’s the motto behind Dubai brand Rugs in Vogue. And if you’re a sneakerhead, or admire a celebrity or even a pop culture mascot, this brand can hand-tuft you a carpet shaped to look like a pair of Air Jordans, Cristiano Ronaldo or Pikachu, to name but three of potentially infinite possibilities.
Farida Master, who launched Rugs in Vogue last October, says while the brand produces a range of designs, its best-selling pieces take the shape of popular trainers. “Our best-selling sneaker rugs attract a young crowd, who love Air Jordans, Habibi Dunk, which features the colours of the UAE flag, and more.” The brand offers rugs in the form of solo trainers or clusters of different varieties.
Its celebrity-shaped carpets, meanwhile, are best placed as wall hangings, with past designs showcasing Kobe Bryant, Lionel Messi, The Weeknd and even a carpet shaped as an emoji of Drake crying. For complete customisation, customers can supply images in jpeg or vector format, to be transformed into a rug of any size, shape and colour.
Fabric choices include wool sourced from India and New Zealand or viscose, which is more cost-effective than natural wool, and looks and feels like silk.
Cover Magazine, which features the latest trends in carpets and textiles, deemed “bolder colours” to be one of the top five rug trends for 2022. “Pattern on pattern”, “personality” and “storytelling” were some of the other focal features, and it’s safe to say the new designs by Fatma Almulla of FMM tick all of these boxes.
The Emirati graphic illustrator and designer known for her statement kaftans, has put her creative touch on everything from stationery and travel accessories to a Toyota Land Cruiser. This year, she trained her sights on carpets.
“To be honest, like everything I do, it begins with an idea and the love for experimentation,” Almulla tells The National. “I've always expressed how I would love to see my art on different mediums, and with the trend now on people creating tufted rugs, I wanted to see how my art can be applied to products that can be enjoyed around the house.”
Almulla’s rug designs embody her distinctive Khaleeji pop culture aesthetic and her brand’s philosophy is “you take a piece of culture with you wherever you go”. Some appear in the shapes of gold Rolex watches and traditional Din Oud bottles, while larger area rugs are decorated with Dubai architecture, colourful clovers and bold evil eye emblems.
“A lot of people are attracted to the colours and love the designs because they are inspired by Middle Eastern culture,” says Almulla. A rug featuring two hands, adorned in Bulgari Serpenti-style watches, outstretched towards a majestic blue evil eye, has been Almulla's best-selling design so far, and it’s also her personal favourite.
Wear the House
Jennifer Black, the designer and embroidery extraordinaire who previously worked as senior womenswear designer and brand manager for S*uce boutiques in Dubai, launched her own home decor and accessories label, Wear the House, in 2019. The brand is an ode to all things eclectic and maximalist punctuated with peppy pop art motifs.
Inspired by the rectangular, jewel-emblazoned cushions she designed in 2021, this year Black has added gemstones-shaped rugs to her portfolio of cushions, poufs, posters and pyjamas. Shaped in circular, teardrop and rectangular octagons, each gemstone rug features a colour theme, and is panelled with various hues of that colour to mimic the reflective and resplendent appearance of real jewels — such as rubies, amethyst and turquoise stones. These can serve as large area rugs, or be arranged in smaller sizes in a cluster or line along a hallway.
“I couldn’t live without my gems; they are like jewelled art for the floor,” Black tells The National. The rugs, which are made from 100 per cent New Zealand wool, are hand-tufted in India and can be produced in any size.
“We offer a customisation option, where you can add your favourite quote, which is hand-tufted and carved into the rug,” says Black, who recently created one emblazoned with the words “It’s hard to be rich”, in hot pink block letters. She explains these words are not meant to be boastful, but instead point to the fact that it's difficult to “make it as a small brand”.
Black says her gemstone rugs have been particularly popular among clients in the United States, and that this year, she plans to focus on both the US and UAE markets: “My dream is to produce our largest gem yet. I would love to make one for a palace!”
“The intention when designing them were to make them a focal point of the room. They are conversational pieces that I think will break any ice and portray a story wherever you put them in the home.”