by Lara Scolari

Combine one of Australia’s finest rug traders with multi award-winning interior designers, and what do you get?

That would be the new Designer Rugs and Hare & Klein collection, which is just as hot as you’d expect.

These hand-knot rugs were painstakingly woven, dyed and washed by Nepalese craftsmen to achieve their abstract patterns and luxurious texture. 

Yosi Tal, managing director of Designer Rugs, says their vision was to take a piece of fine art and translate it onto a rug, without compromising on functionality.

It’s a brief that Hare & Klein interior designer Belinda Chippendale nailed with flying colours. Her “Palimpsest” rug, which melds rich turquoise and earthy hues, would look equally suitable displayed on a wall as it does on the floor. 

The artist statement for the piece explains: “The word Palimpsest refers to reused ancient manuscripts where traces of earlier texts are discernible.”

Chippendale says her inspiration came from taking a close-up photograph of one of her mixed-media artworks and seeing it in a new light. She set to work on creating layers of print and paint, which were then scraped back and meticulously reworked. “It gave the sense of depth I was trying to [create],” she says.

The translation from photo to rug didn’t happen overnight. “The colour tuffs were selected, then reselected, and reselected … the image was broken down digitally by the team at Designer Rugs and we then allocated the colours to each gradient. It’s incredible to see a small detail from an artwork scaled up to a floor rug.”


When we say these rugs were painstakingly woven, we mean it. Each hand-knot rug takes about six months from conception to finished product. 

Unlike a hand-tuft rug, which takes a comparatively fleeting six-to-eight weeks, these babies need to be made entirely by hand and only by the most experienced weavers.

Designer Rugs makes a point to collaborate only with Australian creatives during the design process. But when it comes to manufacturing, its a different story, and turning to Nepalese weavers for this project was a no-brainer. 

“From spinning the raw wool, silk and hemp through to the dyeing, weaving, washing, stretching, drying and finishing, everything is done by hands that are skilled, and follow long-standing traditions that originated in Tibet,” says Meryl Hare, principal at Hare & Klein. 

According to Hare, it’s the kind of item for which bespoke rug buyers in Australia will happily endure longer wait times and higher costs. 

Tal agrees. “As long as people still want to create rugs by hand, we want to be part of it. We could convert to machines tomorrow but the fact is, people still want to be connected to things created by hand.”


Hare recently made the journey to Kathmandu with members of the Designer Rugs crew to see the weaving process first-hand, from beginning to end. 

“It was a profound experience,” Hare says. “It gave me new respect for both the processes that go into making these rugs and the skilled people that make them.

“One of the techniques used in making our rugs is called ‘abrash’, where the wool, silk and hemp is deliberately spun unevenly. This creates an uneven intensity of colour when dyed by hand.”

Chippendale says the method is part of what makes this collection special – each rug is unique.

“Sometimes colours shift from one rug to the next. There is something exciting about this unknown quality, being surprised every time, like it’s a new rug that you haven’t seen before,” she says.


This is the second collaboration between the two brands, after a wildly successful release they produced together in 2014. 

It’s certainly not new territory for Designer Rugs either – they kicked off their first collaboration in 2005 with Akira Isogawa and never looked back. 

“We’re usually working on three or four collaborations at a time,” says Tal, who adds that most collections take an entire year to hit the market. “At the moment we have one with amazing Balmain artist Lara Scolari and another with [renowned interior designer] Greg Natale in the works.

“The key for us is about letting the designer take care of the artistic vision. We work with them because of who they are; if we didn’t trust their style, why do this with them?”

It’s a game plan that’s paid off here. Hare and Klein’s signature style – mature, refined and moody – is what shines through in this range, the perfect accessories to round off your winter loungeroom look.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.