PaperCity Magazine

May 2018- Houston

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ART + DECORATION I n the world of bespoke rugs, the House of Tai Ping stands out for its extraordinary sculptural qualities achieved with a hand- tufting gun. While most rugs are made on a loom and knotted, tufting is an ancient Chinese technique more akin to embroidery that allows for cutting-edge, multidimensional design. Tai Ping's Kadoorie family began creating these special rugs in Hong Kong in 1956, when one of its textile engineers developed a cut-pile "magic needle" that's a predecessor of the hand-tufting gun used today. One of the company's most famous commissions is a rug created in 1958 for the foyer of Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, and over the years customers have included Elizabeth Taylor, J.D. Rockefeller, and English and European royalty. A new $30 million factory in China employs artisans trained in hand tufting and allows its rug designers to refine nuanced and complicated patterns. The Kadoories have helped other artisan rug makers thrive by bringing them under the House of Tai Ping umbrella. In 2005, they purchased Edward Fields Carpet Makers, the legendary New York 40 rug company started in 1935 by Edward Fields, an innovator who elevated the carpet business into an art form. Fields invented the term "area rug" and produced rugs in collaboration with the most creative minds of the era including Mies van der Rohe, Philip Johnson, Van Day Truex, and Raymond Loewy. Most recently, the House of Tai Ping acquired the dying French heritage rug company La Manufacture Cogolin. Founded in 1924 near St. Tropez by a family of artisans, the rugs are produced solely on antique jacquard looms. Generations of weavers have painstakingly operated the same original looms with creaking foot pedals, creating extraordinary rugs from designs that have been transferred onto punch cards. The process is slow, and at the top of their game artisans can generate only about a meter and a half of textiles a day. The resulting 27-inch wide patterns are hand-stitched together at the factory, or shipped to your home and stitched in place by a trained worker. It's the rarified, old European way of carpeting, Thou Shalt Covet: WHY RUGS MATTER at the LEGENDARY HOUSE of TAI PING Bokheh II from Tai Ping's Blur collection Artisans working on Grauman's Chinese Theatre rug, circa 1958 H ybrid sculptor-botanist Azuma Makoto is no shrinking violet. The Japanese artist pushes the boundaries of art and botanical design with conceptually radical works, which he produces in his Tokyo studio, Jardins des Fleurs. In his often bizarre and beautiful practice, he has set aflame thousands of flowers in a cave, launched a bonsai into outer space, encased flowers in massive blocks of ice for fashion designer Dries Van Noten's Spring/Summer 2017 show, and suspended a dramatic five-foot bonsai with exposed roots, dirt, and handmade resin leaves in a steel frame. Grange Hall has procured four of Makoto's newest works, flora specimens set in acrylic blocks. Orchids, cherry blossoms, pine saplings, and other varieties are preserved with blooms, unopened buds, leaves, and exposed roots intact. $1,950 to $5,500, at Grange Hall, Dallas, Rebecca Sherman and nothing could be chicer. House of Tai Ping collections, including La Manufacture Cogolin and Edward Fields Carpet Makers, to the trade at Ken Kehoe Showroom, Decorative Center Houston, Rebecca Sherman MAD BOTANIST Azuma Makoto

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