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Making Bespoke Design Accessible for All

Until recently, most people associated ‘Bespoke’ with an eye-watering price tag. After all, aren’t you paying for something which is unique and completely personal to you, and that requires the highest level of expertise from both the designer and the manufacturer? At Topfloor, we want to delight every one of our clients by designing and weaving rugs just as they want them, down to the colour, palette, size, shape and texture.

topfloor-esti-dolores

DOLORES

Nowadays, everyone is interested in owning a rug that has been ‘designed’ for them, without the need for taking out a second mortgage. In response, rather like the fashion houses, we employ a number of ‘diffusion line’ options and techniques in order to make the brand affordable to all.

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Creative Director Esti Barnes at work in her home studio

With over twenty years of working in bespoke rug design, our Creative Director Esti Barnes has acquired a wealth of expertise to help Topfloor make custom creations more accessible.

We contract to weavers in different parts of the world. Since manufacturing costs vary between countries, we can choose those with the right combination of skills, quality and price to suit a particular client brief. Each has their own level of finish, but this means that you can still have a hand-crafted rug without having to resort to a cheaper, machine-made or mass-market rug.

The choice of materials is another area where a small compromise can yield savings. It’s no surprise that asking for metres of silk, or the finest merino wool will come at a cost! Thankfully, nature has provided plenty of excellent options, and on-going yarn development research frequently gives us new materials and techniques to use.

topfloor-rugs-kaleidoscope-brocade

BROCADE

Bamboo is a great alternative to silk because of its natural sheen, and as a bonus is also more durable. The bamboo fibres of our hand-knotted KALEIDOSCOPE collection for instance are virtually indistinguishable from a natural silk alternative. Using some viscose yarn is another option.

We also use the finest quality Tencel, another yarn with its origins in nature, which gives a luxuriously rich pile. Our PLUSH collection is a great example of the softness and sheen that can be achieved with Tencel.

topfloor-rugs-esti-caress

PLUSH

Esti has personally developed several techniques that create a more affordable finished product, while leaving the design almost unchanged.

Ombré and graduated colour effects are one of the signature design features that Topfloor by Esti has become recognised for. While we can create sweeping washes of colour by using a whole spectrum of shades, with some technical know-how it is possible to produce a similar effect with fewer tones, lowering costs.

topfloor-gradient-rugs-esti

ECLAT

topfloor-rugs-ethereal

ENVELOPE

Another signature Topfloor technique is 3D pile sculpting, which Esti has used to create the twice award-winning design ESQUIRE EVOLUTION – awash with geometric mountain peaks – and the floral swirls of ETHEREAL.

topfloor-rugs-esquire-evolution

ESQUIRE EVOLUTION

topfloor-rugs-esti-ethereal

ETHEREAL

Due to their intricate design these rugs can only be sculpted by hand, but we can also use colour contrasts to create stunning flat pile trompe l’oeil versions. Not only more affordable, these rugs are a marvel in themselves for translating 3D detailing into two dimensions with a realism which will make you look twice!

topfloor-rugs-esti-even

EVEN

There are a few other areas where savings can be made. While we normally use airfreight to ensure our rugs reach our customers as quickly as possible, it’s also possible to ship by sea when time is not of the essence. This can make a considerable difference to the overall cost, especially when shipping a larger consignment of rugs.

We also offer discounts for large orders. So if you’re an interior designer working across several projects, it’s worth planning ahead and speaking to us early on, to see if you can benefit from these options.

Brexit may already have had an impact on currencies and exchange rates, but we are highly experienced at minimising any effects on the final cost to the customer.

topfloor-rugs-esti-re-weave

RE-WEAVE

Finally, exploring new avenues of design can present some surprising – and cost-effective – results. We have just launched the RE-WEAVE collection, a collection of rugs and runners that features re-worked, vintage kilims. While using vintage materials gives a new, affordable entry price, Esti applied her creative skills to introduce new colours, patterns and detailing to each design, producing a thoroughly unique collection of one-off pieces.

See more of the RE-WEAVE collection here, or contact us to discuss your ideas for a bespoke rug.

Topfloor by Esti is truly a design-led company so even if your budget is tight, don’t be afraid to ask, we’d love to see if we can make that perfect bespoke rug that is just right for you!

London Design Week 2017: Introducing TOPFLOOR’s Re-Weave collection

Next week will see designers, architects and style seekers from all over the world make their way to Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour for London Design Week 2017 (12-17 March). We’re excited to announce that TOPFLOOR’s brand-new Re-Weave collection of flat weaves will be officially launched during the event.

close-up of three kilims in shades of brown and taupe with striped patterns

Hand-made kilims have been used as prayer rugs, dowries or simply as decorative floor coverings and wall hangings across Turkey, North Africa, the Balkans and beyond for centuries. They have become increasingly collectible in the West in recent years, valued for their warm colours and one-of-a-kind designs.

The vintage kilims that comprise the Re-Weave collection are around 100 years old and were sourced from Esti’s homeland of Turkey. They have been reworked to enhance their durability and re-dyed in TOPFLOOR’s signature contemporary colours, resulting in the perfect fusion of heritage and modernity. The designs are tightly woven from hemp, wool or cotton; some incorporate other fibres such as goat hair and ribbon into the weave to add textural depth.

Closeup of textural surface of a Re-Weave kilim

Traditional kilims feature bold geometrics and embroidered ethnic motifs, sometimes with symbolic value, but the designs in the Re-Weave collection have a more subtle aesthetic, making them a versatile choice for a contemporary home. Designs include checks, tweed and two-colour weaves as well as simple, primitive patterns.

Full kilim with checked pattern Closeup of white kilim with simple pattern

Each piece is a one-off to be sold from stock – prices range from £502 for a runner to £1,592 for larger pieces measuring 277cm x 309cm. A made-to-order option is also available, enabling interior designers to select the kilim style, colour and texture that best suits their room scheme.

Kilim runners from Re-Weave collection - checked design on the left, striped on the right

TOPFLOOR’s sensitive reinterpretation of these vintage pieces retains all of their beauty and natural characteristics, while at the same time making them relevant for the 21st-century consumer. Their rich textures and ‘abrash’ (the colour variations that occur with natural dye) are celebrated as inherent components of their beauty.

Re-Weave kilim in neutral colours with simple cross design

‘Kilim-making deserves our respect – it is one of the oldest traditions in the world,’ says Esti. ‘Every one of our kilims has its own story and is, in a sense, a work of art. For us, the irregularities and imperfections only add to their beauty. Traditionally it is said that one’s kilim becomes more beautiful each year, and we would have to agree!’

Iilim from Re-Weave collection in shades of blue with dappled pattern

‘The launch of this collection is very timely,’ adds Esti. ‘Because flat-weave rugs don’t have a woolly pile they are very lightweight and cool, making them particularly well suited to summer houses and conservatories. If you buy now, your TOPFLOOR kilim will be in situ in plenty of time for the spring and summer months.’

Striped kilim in shades of blue, with a summery feel

With the Re-Weave collection, Esti has breathed new life into old designs, ensuring that they will continue to be enjoyed for years to come. If you’d like to view this varied selection of beautiful one-off pieces, visit our showroom during London Design Week or make an appointment via our website.

STOP PRESS: ‘Grow Your Interiors Business through Social Media’

Join us and industry experts Decorum Media at our showroom on the second floor in the South Dome at 12.30pm on Monday 13 March, for an ‘Access All Areas’ discussion about the importance of social media and blogging for the luxury design industry.

Topfloor’s Global Approach to Rug Design

Global interiors might be enjoying their moment in the limelight right now, but TOPFLOOR’s innovative designs have always been rooted in Esti’s love of travel. The sights, sounds, culture and colour that Esti discovers during her field trips to places as diverse as New Orleans, Vietnam, Oman, New York and, most recently, Kerala, influence her designs in ways she cannot always predict. Equally important to Esti are her Turkish roots and her beloved hometown of Istanbul.

‘Beautiful colour and pattern can be found everywhere – you just have to look!’ says Esti. ‘I love using Instagram as a visual diary for my travels. Looking back at my photos can really help to kick-start the creative process in my mind.’

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Some of Esti’s Instagram images

Some of Esti’s Instagram images

‘Not only is travel important to me as an artist, it also makes good business sense,’ she adds. ‘Our customers range from global hotel brands to individual homeowners and they are located all over the world, so we look to a wide variety of cultures when designing our rugs.’

To lift our spirits in this grey British winter, we’re taking a little tour of some of Esti’s globally inspired rugs. Sometimes the creative muse behind a design is explicit; in other cases, more abstract – but every design has a story! The OTTOMANIA collection, for example, draws on Esti’s Turkish heritage and is inspired by the cultural riches of the Ottoman Empire:

KAFTAN

KAFTAN

PRINCESS GEHVER

PRINCESS GEHVER

And one of Esti’s favourite countries, Brazil, was the starting point for the ALLURE carpet collection. Each of the eight designs represents a place close to her heart, from the bustling cities and beautiful coastline to the dense jungle. RIO references the city’s art-deco architecture (the most iconic example being the Christ The Redeemer statue on Corcovado Mountain) while BRASILIA, like the city itself, has a modernist aesthetic. BUZIOS and BAHIA pay tribute to Esti’s favourite coastal spots while BONITO, AMAZON, SELVA and IGUASSU reference rich natural landscapes – lush vegetation, tropical rainforest and dramatic waterfalls.

RIO

RIO

SELVA

SELVA

Another collection with a strong sense of place is JAZZ AGE. With art-deco-inspired designs that carry names such as Marlene, Garbo and Harlow, it alludes to the glamorous music and movie scene of the roaring 20s in America.

GARBO

GARBO

HARLOW

HARLOW

The SCRIPT collection also has strong cultural roots. The result of a collaboration between Esti and the world-renowned Iraqi artist Hassan Massoudy, it features stylised Arabic calligraphy characters chosen for their aesthetic value as well as their poetic meaning. The designs are tagged with an (optional) proverb or line of verse, each of which has been taken from a different country or culture.

PATIENCE

PATIENCE

DREAM

DREAM

Other designs are connected to place in a more subtle or abstract way, the idea behind them perhaps triggered by a particular memory. This is the case with the fun, contemporary EMBED design, whose quilted surface and colourful silk buttons represent the mattress shops Esti used to walk past as a child in Istanbul.

EMBED

EMBED

‘For me, crafts and cultures from around the world have always helped to spark the creative process,’ says Esti. ‘But great design can also elevate the everyday into something exceptional – my EMMENTHAL rug, for example, began with a hunk of Swiss cheese!’

Emmenthal design

EMMENTHAL

It can be tricky to create a ‘global’ interior without losing coherence – it can all-too-easily become a mish-mash of styles. TOPFLOOR designs, however, hint at far-flung influences without resorting to clichés or gimmicks. ‘The effect can be achieved in the most subtle of ways – with a certain colour or choice of material, for example,’ explains Esti. ‘Fibres such as alpaca, silk and bamboo, which we associate with specific regions, can become part of the story – the skill is in weaving the different elements together, both literally and figuratively.’

SUNSET IN PHUKET (in wool and silk), in collaboration with Pam Weinstock

SUNSET IN PHUKET (in wool and silk), in collaboration with Pam Weinstock

The sheer variety of TOPFLOOR’s collections proves that inspiration really can come from anywhere. In her next rug collection, Esti will be looking to another culture – but you’ll have to wait until March to find out more! In the meantime, if you’d like to make an appointment at the TOPFLOOR studio to discuss our designs, contact us here. To follow Esti on Instagram, click here.

Christmas in Kerala

TOPFLOOR’s Esti Barnes and her husband Russell spent Christmas and New Year in India, taking in the sights, sounds, colours and tastes of Mumbai and Kerala. In this blog post Esti shares some of the experiences they enjoyed.

MUMBAI

‘We knew Northern India (Delhi, Rajasthan and Agra) from several previous trips, but this was our first trip to Mumbai, says Esti. ‘We stayed at the Oberoi, which is situated on Marine Drive overlooking the sweeping shoreline of the Arabian Sea. With its stunning view, décor and service, it was the perfect start to our journey. We also held our first business meeting here.’

View of Arabian Sea from Oberoi Hotel, Mumbai

‘Noisy, crowded, colourful and buzzing with energy, Mumbai is a city of contrasts, and it is this diversity that makes it a fascinating and eye-opening place to visit. It is the wealthiest city in the country and boasts some of the grandest and most beautiful colonial architecture in the world – one of our favourites was the breathtaking Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus railway station, formerly Victoria Terminus, which was opened in 1887 to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. It is an elegant example of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture and has been made a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Exterior of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus railway station, Mumbai

‘Then, in contrast to all the wealth and grandeur, there are the slums, where roughly 40% of the city’s population lives. The most famous one is Dharavi, where some of the scenes of the film “Slumdog Millionaire” were filmed and which is home to around 1 million people. We spent half a day there, marvelling at the many small-scale businesses producing textiles, pottery and goods made from plastic, metal, glass and paper, among other materials. The products are sold both domestically and internationally, generating an estimated annual turnover of up to $1billion a year.

‘Another place that left an impression on us was Dhobi Ghat, the world’s largest open-air laundry. Against the backdrop of the city’s skyscrapers, the male workers (or ‘dhobis’) hand wash the clothes and bed linen of Mumbai’s citizens, hotels and hospitals. The laundry gets collected every morning and is returned within 24 hours, without any mix-ups or lost items. It was interesting and humbling to observe such industriousness.

Dhobi Ghat open-air laundry

KOCHI

‘After Mumbai, we flew to the vibrant port city of Kochi, in the southwest state of Kerala. Kochi was a spice-trading centre for many centuries and was occupied by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British; as a result, it has a rich, multi-ethnic culture. Its cosmopolitan character is reflected in the distinctive and varied architecture and the harmonious co-existence of Hindu temples, Catholic churches and synagogues.

St Francis Church exterior, Fort Kochi

St Francis Church in Fort Kochi is the oldest European church in India

Woman sorting a huge pile of fresh ginger roots

Ginger sorting in a spice warehouse

‘We stayed in Fort Kochi on the southern peninsula. Said to be the oldest European settlement in India, Fort Kochi is steeped in history and is, as a result, a popular tourist enclave. It is well worth wandering its streets to soak up the colonial charm. You can also take a tuk-tuk, complete with a driver/guide – but beware the lack of suspension and the heavy focus on shopping!

‘Our hotel, The Brunton Boatyard, is a delightful colonial-style building on the site of a former Victorian shipbuilding yard. We would recommend it wholeheartedly for its first-class service and delicious food.

The Brunton Boatyard hotel exterior, Fort Kochi

The Brunton Boatyard

Main hall at The Brunton Boatyard hotel

Hotel reception hall, with its manual punkah fans

‘Near Fort Kochi is Mattancherry, where we visited the Dutch Palace, which was built in around 1555 in the traditional Keralan architectural style. Today it is a museum, its main attraction being the exquisite murals depicting Hindu myths and legends.

Exterior of the Dutch Palace in Mattancherry

Mattancherry Dutch Palace

‘Kochi also has a burgeoning art scene, most notably The Kochi-Muziris Biennale. It is a celebration of contemporary art from India and around the world and it was being held across 12 venues during our stay, so we were able to see some of the works being showcased.

Go Playces art work by Orijit Sen

Go Playces, Orijit Sen

KUMARAKOM

‘Our next stop was the town of Kumarakom, which is a hugely popular tourist destination because of its location next to Vembanad Lake, with its labyrinth of tranquil backwaters. The best way to explore is, of course, by boat – the waterways are dotted with kettuvallums (traditional Kerala houseboats), which were originally grain barges but which have been converted into “floating cottages” for tourists wishing to take in the enchanting scenery.

Vembanad Lake with houseboat Topfloor_Kumarakom-backwaters_houseboat

‘You can sleep on a houseboat or opt for terra firma – we stayed at Hotel Vivanta Taj, which is made up of a series of villas around a beautiful lagoon.

Hotel Vivanta Taj - villas viewed from across lagoon

Hotel Vivanta Taj

KOVALAM

‘Our final destination was the seaside town of Kovalam, with its three beautiful crescent beaches. Once a sleepy fishing village, it is now Kerala’s most developed resort. We got away from it all at Niraamaya, an amazing spa retreat known for its Ayurvedic treatments. After the hustle and bustle of Mumbai and the colour and culture of Kerala, it was the perfect way to end our holiday!

Kovalam Samudra beach viewed from hotel terrace Niraamaya spa resort infinity pool and ocean

We loved Kerala’s beautiful backwaters, beaches and tropical greenery. It seemed cleaner than the north of the country, and we saw far fewer animals sharing the roads with the traffic! The climate was hot and dry, but tolerably so, and the people warm, smiley and eager to help. The Keralan cuisine was also a real highlight – invigoratingly spicy, with lots of pepper, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, cumin and coconut as well as wonderful fresh seafood and fish. A curry lover’s paradise! They consider cooking a very important craft, preparing each meal with great pride.

‘It’s no wonder that Kerala has become one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in Asia. There is so much more to tell about the region, but for now, we can say that we have returned to London feeling inspired and energised by everything we saw!’

Buddha statue

 

Chalet chic: Floor fashion at 5000 feet

With the ski season already here, we’re focusing on ‘chalet-chic’ style this month. With an emphasis on natural materials, simple colour palettes and rich textures, our handmade rugs work well with both traditional and more contemporary interiors. TOPFLOOR has a wide range of bespoke hand-tufted, hand-knotted and hand-woven rug designs that will complement any winter scheme perfectly.

Stylishly snug

Mountain homes need luxury flooring, but above all comfort and warmth. Designs in white and other pale hues make a room feel brighter and work well with natural materials such as wood, leather and stone, which tend to feature strongly in chalet interiors. They also reflect the winter landscape – TOPFLOOR’s prize-winning ESQUIRE, with its hand-sculpted surface, brings the surrounding peaks straight into the living room.

Close-up of surface-carved pyramids of Esquire rug

ESQUIRE EVOLUTION

The textured surface of EROSION reminds us of the ripples of a snow drift, while ELM makes us think of the snow-covered branches of a fir tree.

Erosion rug

EROSION

close-up of ELM rug

ELM

Another of TOPFLOOR’s most popular hand-tufted rug designs is EVERLASTING, which, with its swooping curves, fits right in with the ski slopes outside the window.

EVERLASTING rug on a wooden floor

EVERLASTING

When it’s dark and gloomy outside, the soft, velvety surface of a handmade designer rug seems even more inviting – almost like it’s calling you to kick off those ski boots and hunker down in front of a roaring fire.

Our take on the perfect chalet look is ‘rustic luxe’, which calls for super-soft, natural yarns such as mohair, Merino wool and silk, like TOPFLOOR’s ROMA rug in pristine snow white.

Close-up of Roma rug in snow white

ROMA in Merino wool

At the top end, chalets are morphing into small luxury ‘hotels’ for individual families and friends. This has driven demand for a sleeker, more streamlined style for which TOPFLOOR’s collection of hand-woven alpaca rugs is perfectly suited. ‘FLUX is proving popular because it is hand woven from alpaca fleece, which is soft, luxurious and even warmer than wool, but the flatter weave provides a more “minimalist” finish,’ says Esti Barnes, Founder of TOPFLOOR.

Rumpled rug close-up

FLUX BLEND Oak

Wall-to-wall carpet

Carpet is popular in colder climates, and for good reason: it looks warm, feels warm and helps to insulate a home. The thicker the carpet, the greater the thermal insulation it provides, which could result in reduced energy costs – no small matter in a winter retreat! Our ALLURE collection is made from the highest quality New Zealand wool, making it a sumptuous choice. Opt for a neutral colourway so as not to distract from those stunning mountain views…

BUZIOS carpet in sitting room of amazing mountain retreat

BUZIOS White

Wood on floors and walls

Whether you take a traditional or more contemporary approach to the ‘chalet-chic’ look, it’s a fair bet that wood will be a key feature. TOPFLOOR’s range of engineered wood flooring comes in a wide variety of formats and finishes, from rustic boards to Scandi-style blond woods, so there’s something to suit every taste. What’s more, it can be installed over underfloor heating, ensuring toasty toes even in the depths of winter!

Close-up of fumed oak wood floor with brown rug

BLACK OYSTER FUMED OAK

We’re noticing a growing trend for using wood on walls at the moment – it is perfect for the alpine look, bringing an organic feel to a scheme. The beauty of wood’s natural grain pattern adds interest and textural detail, making walls a real focal point. This gorgeous walnut is smooth and sophisticated; rustic boards would bring a totally different but equally stylish aesthetic to your space.

Walnut boards used as wall panelling

EUROPEAN WALNUT WALL PANELS

If you’re renovating a winter bolthole or are perhaps looking to inject some warmth into an existing scheme, TOPFLOOR’s timeless collection of bespoke contemporary handmade rugs, carpet and wood flooring could be the answer. To speak to us about a commission or to view our rug and carpet designs, contact us for an appointment at our Design Centre Chelsea Harbour showroom.

An Insight into Yarns

When it comes to buying a rug or carpet, customers are faced not only with a huge range of styles but also a confusing array of yarn choices. From polyester and polypropylene to sisal and silk, each fibre has its advantages (and, of course, its price tag).

Your natural instinct will probably be to choose the design that best suits your (or your client’s) colour scheme and budget. There are, however, practical considerations that are equally important. Do you want a soft, velvety finish or something more textured? Are easy maintenance and durability at the top of your priority list? Your final choice should, to some extent, be dictated by the planned location of your carpet or rug, your expectations with regard to its longevity, and your lifestyle.

Como rugs from the Caress collection

Como in wool, silk and viscose, CARESS collection

All carpets and rugs are made from natural or manmade fibres, or a combination of the two – as in the design above. The fibres are spun, which involves twisting two or more strands together to make a carpet yarn with high tensile strength. The yarn is then woven or tufted to make the finished product. Colour is introduced either at the raw fibre stage, or when the yarn is spun.

Natural fibres

Wool remains the most popular and practical choice for rugs and carpets. As well as coming from a sustainable source, wool is resilient, fire-retardant, long lasting and naturally resistant to stains. It is, as a result, more expensive than manmade fibres. To make it more affordable and to enhance its natural properties, many manufacturers use an 80/20 blend – 80% wool and 20% synthetic yarn.

New Zealand sheep’s wool is generally recognised as the highest quality wool for rugs and carpets. We chose it for ALLURE, our beautiful wilton-weave wall-to-wall carpet collection.

Less commonly used wool types include lustrous, silk-like mohair (from the Angora goat) and soft merino (from the hardy Merino sheep), both of which feature in Topfloor’s CARESS collection; durable alpaca, from which our FLUX collection is made; and warm, luxurious cashmere (from the cashmere goat), which is used in our hand-knotted collections from Nepal.

Rumpled rug close-up

Blend Oak in alpaca, FLUX collection

Silk was first used in China thousands of years ago. It is the most expensive fibre used in carpet, admired for its plush, luxurious aesthetic. Often perceived as very delicate, it is in fact one of the strongest natural fibres; it does, however, stain easily and is not as sturdy as wool. Because of this (and its high cost), it is often used together with wool.

‘Silk and wool are a winning combination,’ says Esti. ‘I like to use silk in intricately patterned rugs because it dyes better than other fibres and its lustrous appearance really makes the design stand out.’

Emerald rug in shades of blue, made from wool and silk, on wooden floor

EMERALD in wool and silk

‘A natural alternative to silk is bamboo,’ adds Esti. ‘It has a soft, shiny appearance, is strong and flexible and, because it is incredibly fast growing, it is also an eco-friendly choice.’

Boca lifestyle image

Bohca in bamboo, OTTOMANIA collection

Linen yarn is made from the flax plant, which originates from Europe. It has a bright, slightly silky appearance and is relatively easy to care for, but it is not the most resilient fibre so is best reserved for low-traffic areas such as bedrooms.

closeup of hand-knotted rug made from linen, in neutral colour

Hand-knotted rug in linen

Other natural fibres used for rugs and carpets include jute, sisal, coir, hemp, nettle and allo, all of which are hardwearing and provide an attractive depth of texture.

Manmade fibres

Manmade fibres include nylon, polyester, polypropylene and viscose. Although still generally a lower-budget option, synthetics have improved significantly in look, feel and performance since their introduction in the early 1950s. Many have been developed to mimic natural fibres or to add specific benefits such as resilience or stain resistance to a product. Viscose, for example, is sometimes referred to as ‘artificial silk’ because of its shiny appearance; and nylon is often blended with other fibres to increase durability and texture retention.

close-ups of textured indoor/outdoor rugs made from polyester

Berry (left) and Cobbles in polyester, both RAIN OR SHINE collection

Woven designs

Hand-woven and hand-knotted rugs both use the traditional loomed method and require great skill. A woven rug is made by passing the weft over and under the warp alternately, with each row being pressed down against the row below to create a dense, flat weave. Hand-knotted rugs are made using an even more elaborate, time-consuming process in which thousands of knots are tied by hand to a foundation and then cut to create the pile. The higher the knot count, the better quality and more expensive the rug. It is also possible to combine the two techniques to create a rug with different textures.

Hand-knotted rug from the Script collection

Roots (hand knotted), SCRIPT collection

Tufted designs

A hand-tufted rug is made by punching strands of yarn through a backing using a tool called a tufting gun. Although the finished effect is not dissimilar to that of a hand-knotted rug, the process is quicker, usually resulting in a more affordable option.

Hand-tufted rug from 3D collection

Excel (hand tufted), 3D collection

Topfloor’s archive includes rugs in a wide range of materials, styles and production techniques. Visit our showroom to browse our designs and find out more about the craftsmanship that goes into their creation.

 

Feedback from FOCUS

FOCUS, which is held every September at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour, is the ultimate interior design event, showcasing products from around 600 prestigious luxury brands as well as hosting over 120 inspiring and immersive talks, demonstrations and workshops.

This year’s show, which ran from 18 to 23 September, pulled in more visitors than ever before, cementing Chelsea Harbour’s position as the premier destination for design professionals and enthusiasts looking to keep ahead of the curve. Topfloor was, as always, an exhibitor.

Esti Barnes in front of Brocade rug in the Topfloor showroom

Topfloor founder and creative director Esti Barnes in our showroom

The show seems to up its game each year ­– this time, added attractions included delicious Spanish and Italian tapas at Salt Yard’s pop-up restaurant in the North Dome, and a lavish party on Monday evening, at which we were entertained by a troupe of 22 Brazilian dancers.

Colourful Brazilian dancers at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour

Photos courtesy of Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour

For Topfloor, FOCUS is a wonderful opportunity to reach new potential clients from the world of luxury design and architecture – especially those from outside London and overseas, who make the trip to the capital for this important industry event. We’re also happy to catch up with existing clients, of course, but many of them are more local and prefer to visit us before or after the show to avoid the crowds!

Our new Kaleidoscope collection, which was officially launched during FOCUS, proved a big hit with all our visitors. Inspired by the multi-coloured patterns of a child’s kaleidoscope, the five bold designs each have distinct personalities.

Amber rug from Kaleidoscope collection

Amber

It’s not uncommon for our new collections to take six months or so to take off – perhaps because Topfloor tends to be a trend setter rather than a trend follower. Kaleidoscope, however, has had an instant impact; it quickly became clear that there is currently a voracious appetite for strong pattern and colour, as opposed to the muted monochromes that have dominated interior design of late.

Lavender rug, Kaleidoscope collection

Lavender

‘We often say that our rugs are like pieces of art for the floor, so it’s exciting to see a growing interest among designers in our more exuberant, daring designs,’ says Esti. The positive feedback we received at the show leads us to believe that the orders will start flowing in sooner rather than later…

Brocade rug from Kaleidoscope collection

Brocade

Of course, vibrant colour and pattern are not suitable for every interior, so it’s lucky that the sheer variety of styles in Topfloor’s archive means we have something for everyone. Designs such as ELBA, ENVELOPE and EZ PZ, albeit a few years old now, still attracted a lot of attention during FOCUS. It just goes to show that Topfloor has an unrivalled ability to create design classics that stand the test of time!

Envelope rug from 2D collection

Envelope

Overall, FOCUS/16 was a success for Topfloor. Our showroom attracted a high level of visitors, several of whom were already at the specifying stage; one or two are now very close to placing an order.

We love the buzz and opportunity created by FOCUS and its sister show, London Design Week – they’re a useful platform for debuting collections and a great way to reach a fresh new audience. At the same time, we prefer not to tie our product launches too closely to these events – our creative process works all year round, so whenever you choose to visit our showroom you can be sure there’ll be something new and interesting to see.

To read more about the new Kaleidoscope collection, click here. To explore our designs or talk to us about a commission at a time that suits you, don’t hesitate to contact us for an appointment.

KALEIDOSCOPE – a new collection from Topfloor launches at FOCUS/16

Topfloor’s latest rug collection, KALEIDOSCOPE, was – as the name suggests – inspired by Esti’s fascination with the constantly shifting, multi-coloured symmetrical patterns of a child’s kaleidoscope. Her aim, beautifully realised, was to capture some of the exuberance and complexity of the toy’s infinite design possibilities.

Each of the five hand-knotted rugs in the KALEIDOSCOPE collection features a different motif (shown in the images) that is repeated – or ‘reflected’ – regularly across its surface. A welcome departure from the abstract, so-called painterly style popular with many contemporary rug designers, KALEIDOSCOPE is all about colour and pattern with a nod to symmetry.

The coloured streamers motif of Banderole rug

BROCADE

With the KALEIDOSCOPE collection, Esti has again asserted the rug as a focal point in a room scheme rather than simply a complementary accessory or neutral backdrop. ‘Brocade’, for example, has a celebratory feel that demands attention. The dark-to-light ‘streamers’ cascading across its surface create a sense of movement and energy.

The repeating motif of Lavender rug, with green 'splodge'

LAVENDER

The confident, refreshingly flamboyant designs in the collection are perfect for those seeking an antidote to the neutral colour palettes that have prevailed in recent years. The vibrance of ‘Lavender’, with its purple background interrupted by bursts of intense green, really lifts the spirits.

The repeating motif of Amber rug, with amber/brown detail on rich blue background

AMBER

The rich colours, refined materials and apparently random pattern of ‘Amber’ have a relaxing, almost hypnotic effect. Made from hand-spun wool and bamboo, the incredible detail and depth of this design invite the viewer to look more closely.

‘The literal meaning of “kaleidoscope” is “observer of beautiful forms”’, says Esti. ‘As with a real kaleidoscope, I hope that observers will each interpret these show-stopping designs in their own way, picking out different shapes and spotting something new each time they look at them.’

The repeating pattern of Ebony and Ivory rug - looks like stylised cowhide

EBONY AND IVORY

Statement shapes and bold patterns are making a strong comeback in interior design. The not-quite-symmetrical repeating figures in ‘Ebony and Ivory’ (in wool and bamboo) and ‘Fragments’ (below, made from 100% bamboo) result in a softer, less angular effect than the geometry of a real kaleidoscope.

The repeating motif of Fragments rug

FRAGMENTS

The new KALEIDOSCOPE collection will be officially launched during FOCUS/16 at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour. The theme of this year’s show is how art can provide new perspectives on interiors, which is a concept that has long interested Esti, who trained as a graphic artist and is a keen art collector. Her rugs are artistic interpretations of often very personal experiences – childhood memories, places she has visited, her love of the natural world – and KALEIDOSCOPE is no exception.

Has your curiosity been piqued by these tantalising preview images of KALEIDOSCOPE? To see this diverse collection in its entirety, enjoy the kaleidoscope of colour and appreciate the exquisite craftsmanship that went into their creation, visit the Topfloor showroom.

STOP PRESS: Topfloor will be hosting an open-to-all discussion on trends and developments in wood flooring as part of FOCUS/16’s ‘Access All Areas’ programme. ‘DESIGN UNDERFOOT – GETTING CREATIVE WITH WOOD FLOORING’ is scheduled for 12 noon on Tuesday 20 September at Topfloor’s showroom on the second floor in the South Dome at Design Centre Chelsea Harbour.

What my heart wants to see on the floor: the emotional approach to buying rugs

We often talk in this blog about the practical side of purchasing a rug – pile height, material, texture, durability, size, shape and so on. Of course, these are very important considerations that should not be overlooked, but today we’re going to focus on decisions of the heart rather than the head!

When shopping for a new rug, your initial feelings about any design will be based on how it looks and how it makes you feel. Your (or your client’s) emotional response is incredibly important – you will, after all, be living with your choice every day. If your reaction at first sight to a design is negative, it’s not likely to find its way into your home, no matter how many practical boxes it ticks. The rug you choose is a reflection of your personality and can influence the mood of a room (and, by extension, your own mood), so you should let your inner voice have its say.

Energising

Colour plays a large part in how we perceive the world around us, and we tend to be drawn to shades that resonate with our personality. Reds, oranges and yellows are generally considered to be creative, high-energy colours; green has soothing, harmonious qualities; and certain shades of blue can promote calm.

ENERGY rug in dark blue with red pattern

ENERGY

 

Just as a bright item of clothing can lift one’s spirits, a colourful rug can have an uplifting effect on the occupants of a room. If you fall head over heels for a vibrant, attention-grabbing design, we would recommend giving it pride of place in a communal, sociable space such as a living or dining room – it will always be a conversation piece!

ROCK'N'ROLL rug in bright funky colours

ROCK’N’ROLL

Dream rug by Topfloor in vibrant red

DREAM

 

Relaxing

While bold colour and strong pattern are powerful choices, they are perhaps too lively for a bedroom, where an atmosphere of calm is usually preferable. Instead, opt for soft pastels or grounding neutrals that will aid relaxation. Texture will help to provide interest.

EZ-PZ rug in neutral colourway on wooden floor

EZ-PZ

close-up detail of Eroica rug with textured self pattern

EROICA

Eclat rug with subtle colours

ECLAT

 

Stress busting

Décor that reminds us of nature has a positive effect on our mood, reducing stress and increasing our sense of wellbeing. For this reason, natural materials such as wood and stone are very popular in interior design, as are depictions of foliage, flowers and natural landscapes. In our last blog post we covered floral rug designs, but there are many other Topfloor designs that connect us to the outdoors.

One very literal interpretation of a landscape is the SUNSET rug, which is based on a photograph taken in Phuket by British photographer and designer Pam Weinstock. Esti transposed the image onto a wool and silk rug that captures the spectrum of colours, from the changing blues of the sky to the yellow and fiery orange of the sunset. Those who have seen this design in our studio have commented on the feelings of peace and calm that it elicits.

Topfloor-rugs_Sunset-rug

SUNSET IN PHUKET

 

Topfloor’s 3D collection entices the senses – it’s hard to look at the sculptural surfaces without imagining how they feel underfoot. This design is evocative of the swirls and eddies of water or wind-blown sand.

Eddy rug in a living room

EDDY

 

This design, on the other hand, echoes a snowy forest scene and yet looks perfectly at home in front of a blazing fire.

Elm rug

ELM

 

With clever use of shading, Every Stone, from the 2D collection, creates a Zen-like illusion of stones floating above the surface of the rug. We’re picturing ourselves paddling in clear waters – such a soothing image!

EVERY STONE rug in contemporary home

EVERY STONE

 

Intimate

If your aim is to create an intimate, atmospheric space such as an evening entertaining space, a palette of shadowy blacks, inky blues or dark greys will fit the bill. In the right setting and with the right lighting, they will look glamorous and add drama rather than being sombre.

Fire rug in shades of black and grey

FIRE

Epic Flying rug in black and grey stripes

EPIC FLYING

 

If you like glamour, introduce metallic accents into your scheme –Topfloor’s METALLICA rugs incorporate metal threads which give them their wonderful reflective quality.

Enrich rug in black with metallic pattern

ENRICH

 

For a truly magical effect in a darkened room, consider Topfloor’s LUMINOSO rugs. They include thousands of tiny twinkling lights that can be static or follow a moving light pattern – what a floor show!

Luminoso rug with 'mixed-mode' function

LUMINOSO

 

A pragmatic, trend-led approach to interior design has its place, but following your instinct and intuition is more likely to result in a space you feel emotionally connected to and reflect your personality. When planning your room, it’s important to be tuned into your instincts and needs, so that the final result reflects both your lifestyle and the mood you are trying to create. To talk to us about a commission that is perfectly suited to you (or your client), please contact us here.

Topfloor in Bloom: Floral Rugs

Vibrant colour and bold pattern are enjoying a strong revival at the moment, perhaps as a backlash against the calm neutrals and minimalism of recent years. In particular, florals of all shapes and sizes are ‘blossoming’ and are proving surprisingly versatile in interior design schemes.

One of Esti’s main sources of inspiration has always been the forms and colours of nature, so within her collections there are many floral-themed motifs ranging from the traditional to the abstract and the bold to the soft and subtle.

Beautiful blooms

Big, exuberant florals in bright colours are proving to be a key trend this year. In this room, the white walls, curtains and fireplace give the room a fresh, modern feel that allows the punchy pinks, oranges and reds of the rug to take centre stage.

Gloria rug in white room

GLORIA

 

The vivid hue of this single rose will bring energy and life to any room and will look stunning in traditional and contemporary settings alike.

English Rose rug on wooden floor

ENGLISH ROSE

 

The VENUS rug, created in collaboration with photographer and designer Pam Weinstock, has a painterly feel. It depicts petals floating on water and was designed with themes of love and unity in mind, so would be a romantic choice for a bedroom.

Close-up of the flowers on the Venus rug

VENUS

 

Your rug doesn’t have to feature large-scale flowers to enjoy the limelight. A more compact motif can have just as striking an effect – we love the rich texture and colour of this design.

Hasbahce rug in rich purple

HASBAHCE

 

Splashes of colour

In the three designs below, the neutral background has the effect of visually throwing the brightly coloured elements into relief. The simple lines will stand up well to other patterns, making these rugs easy to incorporate into an existing scheme.

Roses are red rug

ROSES ARE RED

 

PRINCESS GEVHER, like the other designs in Topfloor’s Ottomania collection, was inspired by textiles from the Ottoman Empire. We love the almost embroidered quality of the colourful flowers.

Princess Gehver rug on white floor

PRINCESS GEHVER

 

This rug combines two top trends – florals and geometrics. Its robust, stylised pattern might appeal to those who are looking for less ‘flowery’ flowers!

Bohca rug

BOHCA

 

Because these designs have a simple palette of just a handful of colours, it’s easy to create a coordinated look – simply pick out an accent colour to repeat in your furniture and accessories.

That said, if you’re feeling more adventurous, the current trend for maximalism provides plenty of room for manoeuvre. The new rule is that there are no rules! Colour clashes and the mixing of styles and patterns are all actively encouraged, bringing character, energy and fun to a scheme. Florals are being combined with everything from geometrics and animal print to polka dots and paisley, so let your imagination go wild!

Self pattern

Of course, not everyone is comfortable with the attention-seeking colour, vibrancy and eclecticism of the maximalist style. If you prefer neutral hues and uncluttered spaces, it doesn’t mean you can’t still introduce pattern and texture into your room.

These self-patterned designs will add subtle interest without taking over. They’re also a great choice for those who are using colour and pattern elsewhere in the room – on walls or upholstery, for example – as they will complement rather than compete with your scheme.

Elena cream rug in a neutral sitting room

ELENA

Elise rug in a neutral bedroom

ELISE

 

ESQUISSE uses one of Esti’s signature techniques, colour shading, to create an even more subtle effect. The pattern is only visible at the edges of the rug, giving the impression that the pattern is being gently eroded – or is perhaps gradually emerging.

Esquisse rug on a wooden floor

ESQUISSE

 

ETHEREAL uses intricate leafy decoupage to demonstrate how pattern can have just as much of an impact as colour.

topfloor rugs ethereal

ETHEREAL

 

‘Masculine’ styles

Many of these designs have already proven that ‘floral doesn’t always have to mean feminine – but if you’re still getting flashbacks to your grandma’s chintz sofas, keep reading! For a more ‘unisex’ approach to floral style, focus on foliage rather than flowers and go for darker colours such as greys, blues, browns and blacks (which are also practical shades that will perform well in high-traffic areas).

Eau rug - leaves in shades of brown, beige

EAU

Eco rug - foliage on a blue/grey background

ECO

 

The wintry grasses depicted in our ECOSSE rug can be commissioned in the original ‘Scottish’ colours, as shown, or can be re-coloured to suit any room setting.

Ecosse rug by Topfloor

ECOSSE

 

Whether you’re looking to lift a neutral scheme with a flash of colour, going full-on floral, or embracing maximalism with a flamboyant mix of patterns and textures, there’s a Topfloor rug out there for you. To speak to us about your project or to commission a design, please don’t hesitate to contact us.