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Jan Kath

Haute couture for the floor

Architonic: In recent years, carpets have enjoyed an amazing comeback. What do you think are the reasons for this?
Jan Kath: I believe many people secretly prefer carpets, and that this preference is firmly rooted in their subconscious. We have banished the traditional oriental rug used by our parents from the living room and got accustomed to polished concrete or wooden flooring, believing that they suit our lives better. But at some point we have also discovered that this clean ambience lacks warmth and security. With our contemporary designs we have dusted off the image of the carpet and broken with the old way of seeing things.

To what extent can architects and designers influence the design of a carpet?
We offer 25 collections. Essentially they are suggestions. Planners can determine all parameters such as size, colour, material mix and design themselves according to their own wishes. Almost 90 percent of our carpets are thus manufactured according to individual requirements.

What role does a carpet play in a room for you?
A carpet can be used almost like a sculpture as an object in space or deliberately placed in the background. The effect of a carpet in an interior can be tested with the new Jan Kath app: The user takes a photo of the desired space and then instantly lays down our carpets with the touch of a button.

Which sources of inspiration do you use?
I see inspiration everywhere - when visiting a museum, looking through an aeroplane window, or on a jungle trek, for example. My family history, too, is a source of inspiration. My father and grandfather were carpet dealers, and I have a strong attachment to traditional patterns. With my Erased Heritage collection, for instance, I go 'back to the roots' and 'marry' old designs and techniques with a contemporary concept. In doing so, I work in different layers. The traditional carpet, for example, is the lowest level, and on it lies a so-called effect level.

How do your designs come about?
I realise my designs using 3D renderings. We look at each knot as a pixel. The finer the carpet, the more knots it has per square centimetre, and the closer you get to photorealistic renderings such as in our Spacecrafted collection. We can realistically represent almost all ideas before they go into production.

How long does the weaving take?
Four weavers spend around three to four months on a custom-made 2.5 x 3 metre carpet. For large-scale projects such as for hotels, shops or VIP lounges in airports, we have for the past six years also offered hand-tufted carpets. The delivery times for these are much shorter, including for extremely large sizes.

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