You are the third generation in the business. What is your strength?
The materials that we use: pure silk and Himalayan wool. 98% of companies that work in this area use viscose or wool from New Zealand, which are unsuitable for carpets that are intended to be trod on. We aim to achieve the best quality. We discovered that wool from Nepal is the richest in lanolin and therefore the most resistant, because it is sheared from sheep that live 2 or 3 thousand metres above sea level; while the pure silk comes from China, which borders Nepal.
Was this why you decided to produce directly in Nepal?
Yes, exactly. We began with a focus on antique carpets, traveling the world in search of these valuable products, but in the meantime, we opened our own production in Nepal. When trends changed in favour of a more contemporary taste, it was not difficult to expand the local production that we had already begun, and one industry launched from the other.
We see ourselves as 100% Italian design and 100% made in Nepal. In Italy we take care of everything, from studying production processes to design; the carpet is then made in Nepal, but returns to Italy for the final finishing process, before being shipped worldwide.
How are the carpets produced?
We have various looms with which we can create three types, which differ according to the number of knots. The number of knots gives an indication of quality: the higher the density, the more valuable the carpet. We produce carpets with 120, 100 and 60 knots, respectively called Platinum 120, Gold 100 and Silver Sixty. We can reach a maximum of 200 knots, which is very rare.
With regard to production, I want to emphasize that our factories are part of an international foundation that fights against the exploitation of child labour.
Every carpet is like a blank canvass. How does the design process work?
Most of the designs – around 90% – are devised by our internal design studio. The rest are part of Limited edition, created in collaboration with people in the worlds of design, art and photography. To name a few: artists like Dario Ballantini, Bob Krieger and Marco Lodola, along with the designer Karim Rashid. Also the cartoonist Guido Crepax, as well as Marcelo Burlon and Alessandro Enriquez in the fashion industry.
The inspiration for our carpets often comes from antique carpets, but our influences come from all over the world: Dinasty pays homage to a Chinese carpet from 1800, Casanova recalls antique Venetian wallpaper to which we added an interplay of lines; for Granada, we were inspired by marble used in the Alhambra palace in Granada; for Ducale, our inspiration came from a grating in Florence. Each carpet has its own history.
What is preferred for a modern day interior?
We are noticing a major change in colours. Houses used to be bare and minimalist, but they are now becoming warmer and require more warmth. The preference for white and grey has switched to beige and taupe. Markets such as the Middle East prefer carpets with sand and gold-coloured backgrounds and a certain type of design; in Russia, we have moved from ultra-classic to contemporary classic: they too are beginning to enter the field of design, and they require products from the Palace collection, which offers modern and reinterpreted classical designs.
How are you progressing with regard to projects?
We are involved in contract projects all over the world, from the hotel sector to the marine industry, and especially in the residential sector, thanks to collaborations with major architectural and design firms. Currently, we are particularly active in the countries of the former Soviet Union and parts of Africa. In these countries, almost everything we create is customized, from size (we can make a single piece up to 12×10 meters) to design. When the house is already finished, we usually visit, because it is helpful for us to see the style of the environment to determine which collections are best suited to it.
Any advice for people who need to decorate their home?
It is essential to start with the living area – the sofa area – since it is the most lived-in area, where you host guests. This sets the style for the rest of the house, including the choice of suitable carpets. You can then continue with the dining area, the entrance hall and finally, the bedrooms.
Coordinated or daring?
We prefer to coordinate without being overly daring. Once the ancient Persian carpets had strong colours, such as burgundy and blue; when someone entered the room, their eye rested on the carpet, which had a stain effect, preventing them from admiring the setting as a whole. Coordinating the colours of the interior is gentler on the eye and reduces the risk that people grow tired of the carpet, which needs to last over time. Maybe in two or three generations they will become sought-after, just as we look for carpets from the ‘30s and ‘40s, which have become very expensive and highly prized, designed by architects or designers who have gone down in history as legends.
Choosing a carpet is a delicate operation, just as creating one is an art…
On average, three people work on each of our carpets. Each of them has their own niche and every day has to knot a part entirely by hand. Our employees believe in the product to such an extent that if they begin the carpet together, they must finish it together. It is like a poem. If one of them gets sick or is not able to come to work, I cannot substitute them because they would be offended. I have to wait for them to come back to continue. Therefore each carpet is created with its own positivity: it will always be unique and have its own karma.
Our job is knowing how to communicate this.