Christopher and Suzanne Sharp founded The Rug Company in 1997 on “the philosophies of quality and individuality”. In the nearly 20 years since, the public’s understanding of individuality has changed; whereas limited-edition designs once satisfied this desire, today more and more of us want to get involved directly with the design process – and so The Rug Company has added a digital Custom Rug Designer service.
“With our existing custom and bespoke service, the client works alongside our sales team and in-house design studio to create their own unique rug,” explains Christopher. “The digital Custom Rug Designer service enables people to create their vision completely independently and to assume the role of the designer themselves.” Or at least it does once the base design has been selected from the 72 options available, but let’s not quibble – after all, beginning with something created by Tim Gosling (Deco Spiral), Diane von Furstenberg (Python Glory) or Alexandra Champalimaud (Stingray) pretty much guarantees an aesthetically pleasing outcome.
The software is straightforward to use; having selected the base design, you then choose the shape (rectangular, square, runner, round or oval) and input the dimensions. Next comes colour choice; just click on each area of the rug in turn and then select your colour from the chart. (The screen displays a selection of The Rug Company’s “favourite” colours, but if none of these 140 brights and 140 neutrals are quite right, you can contact the store for access to the full range of more than 2,000.) It’s good fun, rather like colouring in, but much quicker. All that remains is to choose the material: wool or silk. The design is then saved to a portfolio to be pondered upon before clicking “send to showroom”.
From here things become a little more low-tech and personal. One of the sales team gets in touch to discuss the design and provide a quote (from £355 per sq m), and clients can ask to see a sample before the design is sent to Nepal. All the rugs are woven by hand, which means these custom creations don’t come quick – be prepared for a wait between 16 and 24 weeks.