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Contemporary Design, Traditional Craftsmanship

June 4, 2018

Begüm Cana Özgür collaborates with international rug maker Nani Marquina to create a contemporary collection based on traditional craftsmanship.

When it comes to rug making, designers Begüm Cana Özgür and Nani Marquina have a parallel approach in terms of innovation, aesthetics, contemporary design, and social impact. It should be of no surprise then that the simple meeting between the two at Wanted Design 2016 during NYCxDesign has now turned into a captivating, colorful contemporary design collection known as Shade.

Originally a self-initiated project, the Shade collection was created by Turkish designer Özgür in 2015. On display at Wanted Design’s LaunchPAD section, it caught the eye of Marquina, rug maker and founder of nanimarquina, who quickly moved to collaborate with Özgür. “I got excited when Nani showed up in front of my work,” Özgür told i+s. “I knew the brand and I knew her work. It was an opportunity to get her feedback. After that, a future collaboration became the subject.”

Contemporary Design Inspired by History

In 2014 Özgür opened her own studio in Istanbul where the cultural richness of the land has been a major theme in her work along with developing her interest in ancient craft practices. Her background with age-old weaving techniques aligned with that of Marquina who also has an appreciation for traditional craftsmanship.

“My father, Rafael Marquina, played a huge part in where I am today,” Marquina said. “He was one of the first industrial designers in Spain; he was a pioneer. Every day when he got home with new designs he had created, I was totally captivated and he passed on to me his great passion—designing.”

Marquina didn’t start creating rugs overnight, however. “I started out by designing prints for interior decor after studying product design,” she told i+s. “When I started in the ‘80s, I realized there were no rugs in accordance with the new aesthetics of design.”  

Pictured: Designer Begüm Cana Özgür integrates design, art, and crafts into her work with a hands-on design process.

Marquina founded nanimarquina in 1987 with a clear goal in mind: design unique and surprising handcrafted rugs for people to enjoy. The family-owned company outsources production to countries that offer cultural value and unlimited possibilities for rug craftsmanship. Over the years, Marquina has collaborated with local and international designers such as Özgür to create unique collections and ensure a diversity of themes and experimentation with various textures, materials, and shapes. “Collaboration brings freshness, inspiration, experimentation, and guarantees the diversity of styles in our catalogue,” Marquina added.

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The Shade Collection

The Shade collection is inspired by magical moments in nature where colors melt and speak for themselves. “For example, at dawn when the sun begins to rise in the clear sky, or at dusk, on the seashore just before nightfall … in the same way that colors flow in the sky, the Shade rugs achieve an intricate and emotional gradient,” Marquina explained. The flat-weave rugs are handmade with Anatolian wool and generate a well-rounded diffusion of color that is comprised of four different ombré palettes, including turquoise to eggplant, russet to Klein blue, raspberry to forest green, and gray to brownish garnet.

Highly skilled artisans use traditional horizontal looms to create the intricately weaved rugs line by line, crafting rugs that walk the line between contemporary design and tradition.

Due to the collection’s resounding success, it was just expanded with eight poufs that launched during Salone del Mobile in April. The cylindrical seating accessory is light, manageable, and comes in a wide variety of colors. Each rug coordinates with two poufs that are upholstered with the main color gradient.

Shade is available in four ombré palettes: from turquoise to eggplant, russet to Klein blue, raspberry to forest green, and gray to brownish garnet.

Overall, the Shade Collection is of exquisite simplicity and unique in its approach to contemporary design. “When different creative minds work together, so many new ideas grow,” Marquina reflected. She suggests other designers give collaborating on collections a chance. Because as Özgür put it, “Collaboration is always informative and nutritive. It sometimes requires compromise from both parts but as long as there is trust, the end result is stronger than ever.”

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About the Author

Adrian Schley | Associate Editor

Adrian Schley is an Associate Editor for i+s, where she has been covering the commercial interior design industry since 2018. Her work can also be found in BUILDINGS and Meetings Today. 

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