The story behind Topfloor’s sculptural rugs

Surface carving has become one of Esti Barnes’s most popular trademark techniques, but where did the inspiration for this unusual effect come from, and how did Esti turn the initial idea into a reality in her rug designs? In this blog post we will explore the story behind Esquire, Everest and Esquire Evolution, three Topfloor rugs that epitomise the sculpted-pile technique, and that paved the way for subsequent 3D designs in our collection.

Esti has always had an interest in creating visually arresting pieces that bridge the gap between ‘floor covering’ and ‘art work’, and Esquire is a fabulous example of this. Created in 2006, it was the first Top Floor design that used surface carving and, as with many of Esti’s designs, was inspired by the natural world – in this case, desert sand dunes.

The pile of Esquire is sculpted with sharp edges like the wind-shaped crest of a sand-dune or the facets of a piece of cut crystal, exploiting the play of light and shade across its three-dimensional surface. The idea was a simple one, but the execution was very demanding and required a high degree of skill, with all of the surface carving painstakingly carried out by hand.

Topfloor Rugs Esquire design (round)

The originality and flair of Esquire was recognised when it won two industry awards in quick succession: first, in 2007, ‘Best of Year’ in its category at the annual design awards of leading US magazine Interior Design; then, the following year, ‘British Design of the Year’ at Elle Decoration’s prestigious British Design Awards. It is now regarded as the most iconic of all of Topfloor’s designs.

The inspiration behind Everest, also created in 2006, is clear from its name; the design itself came about as a result of the different styles of carving Esti and her team had experimented with while working on Esquire. One of these ‘prototypes’ became the sculpted border of Everest.

Everest rug with carved border Everest rug by Topfloor in Aubergine colour

2012 saw the arrival of Esquire Evolution, which took the original Esquire design and updated it with another of Esti’s distinctive signature styles – the use of colour gradation, which adds a dramatic ombre effect:

Top Floor Esquire Evolution rug Esquire Evolution in a living room

Although these designs are undoubtedly contemporary and cutting-edge in style, they manage to retain a timeless quality that makes them suitable for any room scheme. It is the strong creative vision behind innovative designs such as these, combined with an intimate knowledge of raw materials and weaving techniques, that has helped Topfloor rise to the top of the industry and become known as a market leader in rug design.

For more information about Topfloor’s collection or to enquire about a specific design, please contact us.