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The History, Evolution and Varieties of the Mid 20th Century Vintage Rug Productions:
Vintage rugs is a term that is used to describe the rugs and / or carpets that were produced during the mid-20th century and through the 1970's (for the most part). The Vintage rugs showcase what the 20th century was largely defined by experimentation and innovation in the arts, industries, the sciences and popular culture. Vintage and mid-century carpets produced between the 1920's and 1970's explore the boundaries and push the limits of textural and visual style to create design pieces that provide a strong sensory experience.
During the mid 20th century, we see a big shift in the production of rugs. Influenced by the Mid Century Modern and Art Deco movements, the vintage area rugs set a new tone for interior design trends. Swedish, Moroccan and Scandinavian rugs from the mid century, took the place of the antique oriental rugs by adapting themselves to these new demands.
While Ege Rya and other manufacturers used weaving techniques borrowed from Axminster to produce durable machine-made rugs and shag carpets, a separate group of designers were dedicated to producing handwoven vintage carpets and involving themselves in all aspects of production. Ironically, the designers specializing in handwoven pieces have been often the product of industrialization. Schooled in industrial design and textile production to meet growing demands of the mid 20th century, these designers developed their own unique styles that often included influences from local and regional history and folklore. Mid century vintage area rugs have seen a great spike in interest over the past couple of years. Fueled by the mid-century modernist design trends, vintage rugs that were produced during the mid 2oth century have been becoming rare due to this substantial increase in demand.
Vintage rugs from the mid century range tremendously in terms of origin, color, style and design. This vintage Moroccan rug for example features a soft blue coloration with a hint of orange accents, while this Art Deco rug from France embodies the bold simplicity of the early 20th century and stronger color transitions.
Particularly significant are mid-century rugs, which, as their name implies, are those pieces that were woven in the middle decades of the twentieth century. During this time, there was a tremendous shift in design aesthetics, with the modern and minimalist designs of figures such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier catching on in a tremendous way. Hard metals and woods as well as stark straight lines and a focus on geometric paradigms dominated this style, as did the inclusion of shaggy, abstract rugs and carpets. The vibrant Moroccan rugs crafted by the Beni Ourain and the thick-piled Ryas of Scandinavia were among the favorite styles utilized by leading mid-century designers. As such, there was a massive increase in demand for such rugs at this time, creating a taste for vintage rugs that has only grown in recent decades. Vintage mid-century rugs are among the most desirable of all art work currently on the market.
The Diversity of Vintage Carpets and Rugs:
The diversity of seen in the vintage rug production may be one of the secrets behind their renewed popularity. These marvelous rugs feature formal geometric motifs, whimsical folk-art influences and colorful Deco inspired designs that are truly abstract. Whether collectors and designers are seeking a luxurious long-pile Rya or charming flat-woven vintage Scandinavian rugs, the most versatile and colorful vintage rugs make superb statement pieces.
In the 21st century, the world has a renewed interest in the vintage rugs that thrilled modern design aficionados years ago. These mid-century designs are fresh, modern and inspiring above all. With these fabulous creations, there's no need to compromise or sacrifice anything. They offer designers and fashion-forward individuals the best of all worlds.
What are the different types of vintage rugs?
Moroccan rugs are perennial favorites. They got their start when classical modernism was brand-new. These luscious creations include colorful works of art and stark achromatic rugs that are sure to delight any fan of minimalist design. Finnish designer and architect Alvar Aalto, the French design genius Le Corbusier and the fabulous Dane Arne Jacobsen are just a few of the mid-century designers and creative masterminds to uncover the beauty of these rustic and modern-inclined rugs. It would not be appropriate to mention the amazing Beni Ourain creations of Morocco without mentioning Marcel Breuer, the man who helped coin the phrase "less is more." Something about the abstract designs and sumptuous texture of Moroccan rugs make them essential companions for the leather, chrome, wood and glass that are found in the world's favorite classical modern furnishings.
What are the different Vintage carpet patterns and designs ?
The vintage area rugs that were produced during Mid 20th century include abstract, pop-art, artist-designed, surrealist, and minimalist styles that set or kept pace with quickly changing trends. In many ways, the new and innovative trends what were developed in the mid 20th century were based upon a revival of folklore and traditions that were turned on their ear to become a new genre. Design trends reached an unprecedented level of global popularity through manufacturers like Ege Rya as well as professional hand weavers. Like the aesthetic movement of the late 1800's and the Luddites who destroyed the British power looms in the early 1800's, the artists and master weavers who created these vintage rugs during the mid 20th century also rebelled against the increasing industrialization of carpet production.
Back in the Art Deco era, Scandinavian designer/weavers made their mark at international exhibits. Whether the world is viewing sleek flat-woven Rollaken or luxurious long-pile Ryas, vintage Scandinavian rugs are always modern. These carpet's abstractions, whimsy, playful style and geometric formality are enduring and right at home in mid century modern interiors. They are textural, colorful, creative and all the traits that modernists love to love.
In spite of everything that came since, Art Deco rugs are the modern works of art that started it all. These unmistakable pieces were at the global exhibits when the term Art Deco was coined, and they remain at the heart of modernist culture nearly a century later. When they were unveiled, these first Art Deco rugs heralded a new era and an unmistakable style that propelled influential celebrity designers to become household names that are still recognized today. Explore this complete collection of vintage rugs today.
What rugs are considered to be "Vintage"?
“Vintage rugs" is a term that is used to describe the rugs and or carpets that were produced during the mid-20th century and through the 1970's (for the most part). The Vintage rugs showcase what the 20th century was largely defined by - experimentation and innovation in the arts, industries, sciences and popular culture. Vintage and mid-century carpets produced between the 1920s and 1970s explore the boundaries and push the limits of textural and visual style to create design pieces that provide a strong sensory experience. Rugs from the mid 20th century range tremendously in terms of origin, color, style and design.
The vintage rugs that were produced throughout the 20th century were part of an artistic explosion that was occurring around the globe. Artisan weavers, entrepreneurs and commercial weaving centers experimented with innovative techniques, styles and colors. Carpets were one of many items that were part of this decorative revolution. Many craftspeople purposefully or inadvertently supported an artistic rebellion and a backlash to factories and mass-produced products. This trend began with the Aesthetic Movement in the 19th century when handcrafted styles were excessively ornate. By the early 20th century, this handcrafted revival produced the first truly modern stylistic era, which began with the decorative arts or art Deco period in the first half of the 20th century.
Vintage Art Deco carpet trends emanated from Europe and were transported to India, China and everywhere in between. The modernity of these pieces relied on minimalist principles and cosmopolitan influences that reflected the ongoing trend of globalization. In Scandinavia, Sweden and northern Europe, textile artists and weavers who were trained in commercial design in the early 1900s produced groundbreaking vintage carpets that paved the way for mid-century styles and the concept of classical modernism.
The vintage rugs that followed the art Deco period were increasingly experimental and avant-garde. In Europe, the works of modern artists were celebrated in phenomenal vintage art carpets that were woven in France and Europe's oldest weaving centers. Like any Renaissance, this transitional period welcomed innovators and outstanding artistic personalities. These fathers of classical modernism influenced the trends that supported the popularity of vintage rugs. The functional, luxurious carpets of the past were replaced by modern statement pieces that were elevated from their standard purpose as floor coverings and were featured as works of art.
For the first time, the cryptic, sumptuous and abstract vintage carpets of Morocco's Atlas Mountains were used as stylish accoutrements that complemented the sleek, modern style of mid-century furnishings. The vivid hues and strong textures of Morocco's famous vintage rugs became must-have features. The 20th century was all about pushing boundaries, trying new things and setting a new standard for the cutting edge.
Each group of art Deco rugs, vintage Scandinavian pieces, signed Swedish rugs and stunning Moroccan carpets hold a special place in the hearts of modern designers, mid-century aficionados and collectors. View our diverse collection of vintage rugs to find the perfect piece.
What is The Allure of Vintage Moroccan, Mid-Century and Swedish or Scandinavian Rugs:
In recent years, vintage Moroccan and Swedish rugs have swelled in popularity for a wide variety of interiors. Most notably a mid-century modern décor benefits best from these artistic masterpieces. They can draw a room together, transforming it from sparse and minimal to cozy, inviting, and luxurious, without breaking the bank. Their popularity comes from their ease of use and the wide range of color palette options, not to mention their uniqueness in design.
Indeed, the fact that these rugs are as desirable as they are is a testament to two things: first, to the incredible craftsmanship that went into the original composition; and, second, to their enduring beauty. Vintage Swedish and Moroccan rugs are among the most desirable and sought after commodities in the art word, and are one of the greatest values.
Swedish rugs of the early and mid 20th century are hugely sought after due to their incredible artistic qualities and superior craftsmanship. For Swedish rug designers in the early 20th century, the production of rugs and textiles was raised to an art form, which had a great international appeal. A fresh and appealing aesthetic was sustained during the first half of the twentieth century by the weavings of the celebrated Swedish carpet designer Marta Maas-Fjetterstom and her peers. The simplicity and purity of design in vintage Scandinavian rugs give them an immediate relevance and contemporary allure.
Swedish weaving tradition reaches back hundreds of years when encounters with eastern civilizations taught Scandinavians how to create the lushly woven, warm Rya rugs that are still made today. In the twentieth century, aesthetics evolved and the Swedes called for flat-woven rugs with simple, geometric patterns. Rollakans, as they are called, are Swedish national treasures, and many of the vintage rugs we might buy for our home were created for government funded regional Arts and Crafts fairs.
The Marta Maas Company:
The establishment of Marta Maas Fjetterstrom Atelier in 1919 was quite possibly the most important thing to happen to the Swedish Rollakan. Fjetterstrom got her start as a weaver at one of the aforementioned regional Arts and Crafts fairs in Malmohus, but her talent soon became too big for the small town and she moved to greener pastures in Vittsjo. When her work was featured in an exhibit in Malmo, she was noticed by Ludvig Nobel (brother of the founder of the Nobel Prize) and under his patronage, she moved to a new workshop in Bastad where she lived until her death, weaving masterpieces and training prodigy in the likes of Barbro Nilsson, Ann-Mari Forsberg, and Marianne Richter.
Decorating with Vintage and Mid-Century rugs:
The below is a vintage Kilim from Sweden. It features prominent square foils enclosing a faintly striped cocoa brown field decorated with a colorful series of constellation asteroids. Both formal and whimsical, this dainty carpet, created in Sweden circa 1950 features a variety of soft colors and floral motifs in alternating hues that create an alluring repeating pattern. I think this would be a fantastic rug for an intimate sitting room with a Hans Wagner 4-seater Theater Sofa and Milo Baughman coffee tables, and an Aldo Tura bar cart nearby for those important evening cocktails!
The rug below was created by Swedish carpet-weaving legend Marta Maas Fjetterstrom. This rug “showcases an eclectic world style with bucolic tribal qualities gathered from different latitudes. Polychromatic borders incorporating clear white zigzagging motifs and inset squares gently frame the densely decorated field. Highlighting the ingenious design skills of Marta Maas Fjetterstrom, this striking Swedish carpet features a plentiful variety of decorative motifs combined with inset squares and simple repeating emblems that become familiar parts of the composition.” As a “newbie” to the world of antique and vintage carpets, I fell in love with this carpet immediately. Vaguely familiar calling to its Persian forebears, combined with the heaviness of the modern design aesthetic makes it appealing. I would put the carpet underneath a Magolini table with matching four chairs. A sideboard running along the wall like the Poul Norreklit rosewood one pictured below would bring the room all together.
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