Rachel Parker’s Northmore design features twice as many colours as a typical rug

Katie | October 19, 2016

Design studio Flock has collaborated with Floor Story and Rachel Parker to create a hand-woven wool and silk rug that uses 26 colours instead of the typical 12.

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Taking an existing Rachel Parker fabric for design studio Flock and working with rug retailer Floor Story to turn it into a rug seemed like a simple enough idea, but it quickly became apparent that there were big differences between the two media, especially when it came to colour.

“When Rachel and I sat down with [Floor Story founder] Simon Goff it quickly became clear that the biggest challenge would be creating the tonal nuances we can achieve in print and the sheer number of colours required to do that,” says Flock founder Jenny Wingfield. “What is achievable with print is simply not possible with rug making – I was slightly concerned when I learnt that most rugs only used a select amount of colours and even the best were often limited to around 12 or so.”

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However, Simon was committed to the idea, and so the team of three set about making it happen. “Simon, Rachel and I had a clear vision for where we wanted to go with Northmore, so we set about ripping up the rule book and pushing our artisans to the edges of possibility,” says Jenny.

Rachel managed to reduce the hundreds of colours in the original design down to just 26, which is still “astounding” by rug-making standards. “Even with all her experience as a designer, this wasn’t an easy task,” says Jenny. “She spent hours using a digital rendering to replace colours here and there with one of the selected 26, or making a multi-coloured shape into a solid colour block. Taking this revised 26-strong palette, Simon and I had to compare her design to the wool samples available to get the truest match, not only in colour but also character.”

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The result is a slightly muted version of the original fabric, with added vibrancy due to the inclusion of Chinese silk. “The slightly muted palette works well for a rug and the Chinese silk helps to give certain colours a tonal shift that mirrors Rachel’s original creation,” says Jenny. “To date, this is Floor Story’s highest colour count in any rug, but I really don’t think we could have captured the character of the original any other way.”

The result, which is handmade by Tibetan artisans, features a blend of 80% semi-worsted New Zealand wool and 20% pure Chinese silk and each one takes more than 12 weeks to weave from start to finish. And best of all, it is Goodweave certified, meaning buyers can be sure no child labour was involved in its manufacture.

“It really is an exceptional rug that challenged our creativity here at Flock, Simon’s knowledge at Floor Story and the craft of the makers,” says Jenny. “We’re all really proud of the result.” The Northmore rug was launched at designjunction during the London Design Festival.

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Further Reading for the Especially Geeky ::

Founding Editor – Katie Treggiden

Having established confessions of a design geek in 2010, Katie Treggiden has gone on to a career in design journalism, writing for titles such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, Elle Decoration, Stylist, Design Milk and Ideal Home. In 2014, she launched Fiera, an independent magazine dedicated to discovering new talent at the world’s design fairs. Her second book, Makers of East London, was published in 2015.

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