Of all the words one might associate with rugs, “fun” isn’t usually one of them. But Portuguese designer Célia Esteves definitely manages to spice up the floor covering with her collection Rug by GUR. The colorful and intriguing artist collaborative designs make the rugs as much a work of art as a useful interior piece—equally fit for the floor of a kitchen or in a frame on the wall.
Starting GUR a year ago, Esteves came up with the concept quite organically: in her hometown of Viana do Castelo, she attended an exhibition that combined traditional handcraft techniques with contemporary design. It was there that she met the weaver she’s now working with. In the label’s early stages, Esteves mainly worked with talented illustrator friends, including André da Loba and Marta Monteiro, who each designed a rug. “GUR has been approached by artists that want to collaborate on the project, and some new friendships are emerging, like Atelier Bingo. Sometimes I go around my illustration references and take a risk inviting them, and sometimes I get lucky,” Esteves tells CH. “Ian Stevenson was a big surprise and completely made my day.”
Though “almost everyone” in Portugal has one of the traditional hand-looms at home, GUR is among the first companies experimenting with taking the technique to another level. All GUR rugs are made in the traditional way, and Esteves says it has remained important for the project to create a bridge between authentic Portuguese traditions and contemporary artists. The initiative has already been a success outside the country. “Initially GUR was created for me and my friends, thinking that people from Portugal would find it nice and funny to have a traditional kitchen rug made by an illustrator, but surprisingly people who are buying them are from other countries that normally are not familiar with this technique,” she explains.
Each GUR rug is handmade and comes in a limited edition of 50. Rug by GUR is available from Beach London where rugs start at £55.
Images courtesy of GUR