Entering in the Amini Carpets show-room in via Borgogna 7, in Milan, is like entering in a temple, consecrated to the contemplation of beauty.
You are greeted in a meditative and enveloping space where the eye is enchanted by the lime-coated walls continuity able to emanate light.
So, the experience is almost mystic: you feel like entering in a consecrated space in which the protagonist are the carpets and they are displayed not only on the floor, but also on the walls, as if they were paintings by grandmasters.
In fact, Amini Carpets philosophy consists on considering the carpet non only as a piece of furniture, but also as a unique piece, able to express a precise artistic will.
The story of Amini Carpets began in 1962 when Sultan Amini founded, in Afghanistan, Amini Brothers Company to produce and sell local carpets.
The next step brought the company to expand itself in Europe, first of all in Germany, where the project was widely appreciated, allowing the company to find a place in the occidental market.
The strength of this project lies in the fact that it “brings together its cultural origins, traditions and today’s furnishing needs”, with the aim of creating a product in which there is the Afghan tradition thanks to the high quality of the artisan technique, inflected in a contemporary language where different contaminations speak. So, Amini Carpets are born from the encounter between the best artisan of Afghanistan, Nepal, Persia, India, Morocco, Turkey, and the creativity of contemporary designers and artists.
So, it is not surprising to find out that Amini Carpets in 2017 participated to the 57° Venice Biennale of Art with the project Woven Forms, displayed in Querini Benzon Palace, a limited edition carpets collection in which Art and carpet meet.
The project, realised in conjunction with new Yorker gallery R&C Company, asked to 10 internationally renowned artists and budding creative designers to deal with the carpet’s reality, characterized by a rich iconographic, iconological and technical tradition that, in that case, was considered not as an obstacle, but as a compelling challenge.
It happens that carpets manufacturers only prints a work of art on the carpet: instead, in that case, artists and designers have abandoned their artistic technique to measure themselves in front of the problems of a textile projects, adapting their style to the material and the creation process of the carpet.
The 10 artists and designers involved (Dana Barnes, David Wiseman, Hun-Chung Lee, Katie Stout, Lluis Lleo, Renate Müller, Rogan Gregory, Thaddeus Wolfe, The Haas Brothers, Wendell Castle) understood that they completely had to changed their creative method to create a carpet. Thus, the artists understood the difficulties of bringing their project to the reality of the thousands of knots that make up a carpet, noticing also that the change of method could enrich their art.
The Haas Brothers, Texans designers with a playful and psychedelic style, reinvented the animal hide rug, “creating a bestiary collection where palaeontology and fantasy neatly overlap.”
The Korean ceramist and designer Hun-Chung Lee drew on traditional Korean craftsmanship and Tibetan mandalas to create a delicate, but solid pattern similar to his ceramic works.
The young American designer Thaddeus Wolfe, specialized in the glass making, reshaped the graphic elements typical of his work, elements that, on the wool, assume a new and unexpected movement able to hypnotise.
Rendering as a carpet pattern the sculptural work of unique artists like Rogan Gregory was a real challenge for Amini. His sculpture, characterized by a skilful play of lights and shadows, volumes and voids, was translated in a sculptural carpet where big holes remember the track of some ancestral animals.
So, the project was a challenge for artisans and artists, but that brought to an exchange of experiences and knowledge, and to mutual enrichment.
For that reason, this experience found a place in the last Biennale, whose theme Viva Arte Viva was perfect for the exchange of ideas and skills reached by Amini Carpets. Indeed, as the artists involved affirmed, the project was not mechanical or automatic, but it was “an experience of life” in which artists and artisans worked together in the Amini manufacturers in Kathmandu, in Nepal.
Finally, it’s important to underline that the creation of these carpets allowed the artist to reach a more collective and community form of art, in accord with the last Biennale: indeed, the carpet are absolutely usable, liveables works of art, able to give a multi-sensory experience.
Therefore, it is living art, created by artists who took a challenge, looking for an exchange with the unknown and without fear of having a direct confrontation with us, giving us the opportunity to “walk on art”.
Photo Credits: Amini Carpets