RUG STAR Weaves with Emotions JÜRGEN DAHLMANNS – Interview

*Featured photo: Jürgen Dahlmanns in front of his “Motto” creation

© Hannes Magerstaedt Photography / Courtesy of Neue Werkstätten

Article by Roxana Florina Popa

 

Make a daring step on a carpet designed by Jürgen Dahlmanns at Neue Werkstätten in Munich and weave Zeitgeist emotions beyond 24 April  – 18 May 2015.

  Rug_Star_NW

Exhibition “Emotionen Knüpfen” at Neue Werkstätten, Munich

© Hannes Magerstaedt Photography / Courtesy of Neue Werkstätten

Let yourself amazed by the carpet’s various layers in Tibetan highland wool, finest Chinese silk and embroidery. Kneel and touch with your hand the structures of the Skin of Civilisation. Look at them from more sides, not only from above. Feel the vibrations of bright colours. Let the zest for life be your guide to interior design. Less is not always more!

Shall you revive your room atmosphere with a carpet based on existent furniture? Shall you build your entire home starting from the carpet? Letting a RUG STAR carpet land into your home will certainly make you feel your life lifting up on your own private terrace above the world.

In the Himalayas and the deserts of Rajasthan, Jürgen Dahlmanns, the heart and head of RUG STAR, found the inspiration to revolutionise the concept of carpet, to revitalise ancient rug-weaving traditions and to satisfy the need to articulate space beyond modernity hand-knotting in synchronization with the arrival of the 3rd millennium.

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Kathmandu Stupa

© Rug Star / Courtesy of Simone Nickl Public Relations

A carpet by Jürgen Dahlmanns is the carpet of a thinker woven with emotions. It strikes through originality and fascinates through its intellectual reference point – Sigmund Freud’s “The Ego and the Id”.

Jürgen Dahlmanns reveals his customers how spoke Zarathustra” and Nietzsche to him in an avant-garde visual language.

Edenlibelula

Eden No. 9 Original

© Rug Star / Courtesy of Simone Nickl Public Relations

The high-quality of the rugs excites thanks to Tibetan and Persian weaving techniques.

The first are hand-woven in Nepal with a lot of love for craftsmanship. The “Eden” collection of naturalist inspiration combines more than one million fiber tips. Every single fiber is spun by hand and died in a copper vat.

The latter are 20% thicker since they are tightly knitted. They have up to 300.000 knots per square meter. The Persian knot is a structure that can withstand the oxidisation process used to give the carpets a unique patina, metallic finishing. Through his Persian rugs, Jürgen Dahlmanns pays homage to the Mughals who introduced the Persian art of weaving to northern India 500 years ago.

During the interview in the open, bright modern spaces of Neue Werkstãtten in Munich, Jürgen Dahlmanns impresses through his rich hands-on experience and he is definitely somebody with whom you feel like entertaining with more and more about trading carpets and the amazing insight details of their production. We are surrounded by carpets from his Ray, 1956, Screw, Albert, Feathers, Eden and Bondi Collections.

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After the interview

© Hannes Magerstaedt Photography / Courtesy of Simone Nickl Public Relations

Roxana-Florina Popa:             What is your concept of carpet: is it a blanket,                                                    a flying object or a painting without frames?

Jürgen Dahlmanns:    My concept of carpet is strongly determined by my profession of architect. To me, a carpet offers the two-dimensional possibility of creating room in a room. It integrates a liberal architectural aspect. Modern architecture did away with the separation of rooms and let spaces flow into each other. People love to define this flowing space. Obviously, carpets are the most elegant architectural elements to create rooms without walls. They are textile rooms. Carpets indicate the intimate and resting areas producing a high architectural impact.

 Crystal5BS

Crystal Supreme 05 Original BS

© Rug Star / Courtesy of Simone Nickl Public Relations

I design various carpet concepts. I do not believe in one style, but in people’s need to create a home and define spaces. A hand-knotted carpet can very well satisfy this need. For example, in modern architecture, the dining area can be between the kitchen and the sofa. A dining table and a lamp alone are not so attractive for people to prefer this space. It might feel like running away even if you sit near friends. There is a totally different feeling if you put a carpet under a table or a sofa. A carpet easily defines the dining or the living room.

DresdenNavy

Dresdenred

Dresden by H. Weizenegger BS

© Rug Star / Courtesy of Simone Nickl Public Relations

Being a textile room, a carpet brings sensuality to the interaction of people. In terms of noises, carpets change the temperature of communication by turning the tone mild. Entering the carpet area and then sitting on the sofa feels like getting more and more intimacy.  A carpet gives also identity thanks to the production process. Intimacy and identity are things that I very much like about spaces.

There is a whole philosophy behind carpets. They have a miraculous way of reflecting room atmosphere and light. A high-end carpet has to have the ability to reflect in spring different from in summer, in the night different from in the morning.

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Crystal 7 Original BS

© Rug Star / Courtesy of Simone Nickl Public Relations

A carpet has a soul that asks for special care compared to other pieces of furniture. It is like a respectable old member of the family. It is fragile; however, it can get 100 years old. I changed my profession to create something long-lasting. I started by collecting old wool carpets.

RFP:     Job mobility and flexibility characterizes the life of many people.               How do you connect your carpet concept to today’s lifestyle?

JD:       A carpet is not something one easily adds to one’s life. Looking for a carpet means you want to slow down. Speeding-up relates more to techno-surfaces at the time Internet appeared. Given the political insecurity in the last 10 to 15 years, I do not agree that everything goes fast. I think people are afraid. They want things to last.

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Eden No. 21 Dragonfly

© Rug Star / Courtesy of Simone Nickl Public Relations

I produce my carpets in a standard size – 2,50 x 3 m – and I advise my clients to stick to it. This size can be used under the dining table and also in front of a sofa. So, when people move in a new house, the carpet has the ability to flow within different functions. In the beginning I looked at carpets more like pictures and I wanted to have the size 2,30 x 3,50 m to express the energy of a picture. I did this for 4-5 years. Now I know the good size is 2,50 x 3 m because of its functional abilities, but also because you want to invite someone to rest and not to be quickly away. Moreover, thickness creates warmth.

I think people are afraid of carpets because textiles can be really dusty. Differently, wool carpets do not absorb, they give something. Due to the used materials and to the 3,000 working hours involved. They are the product of a community of 4 to 5 people harmonizing their rhythm for 3 to 5 months. This is what makes a really good carpet.

RFP:     Have you woven carpets yourself in a group?

JD:       Yes. In the first years of my company, I was nearly half of the year down in Nepal. I was very much involved. I am a technical radical. An architect knows that you cannot allow yourself one weak point. Producing a carpet is like building a house. There are 20 different crafts coming together.

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Design process – I LOVE YOU

© Rug Star / Courtesy of Simone Nickl Public Relations

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Design process – Picking colours Lama and Jürgen

© Rug Star / Courtesy of Simone Nickl Public Relations

Usually, there are 5 people sitting on a swinging piece of wood. In the moment you make a certain movement to make a knot, this movement is transmitted to the other person. It is a group harmonization which makes hand knotting joyful and the carpet beautiful.  It is important who knots the carpet, who comes together. The members of the group choose themselves on the condition they have no other commitments until they finish. They knot only the design they like. It is like a normal family where you need to be careful that everybody is on their position.

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Workshop – Loom weaving

© Rug Star / Courtesy of Simone Nickl Public Relations

This is weaving a carpet. Building industry is different and heavy. You cannot decide by yourself, you need to take the ethics of the big structures above. As a well-established architect, I worked at the MuseumsQuartier in Vienna for 3 years and I thought if this is my life, than this is wrong. In established structures, everything is so clear, and I needed to say if I try to do the best, the best, the best, than at the end something good comes. It is really difficult in our society to see the results of what you do.

At the time I went to Nepal, there was civil war in Bhaktapur. There was no social infrastructure. I needed to create a little island where I could give protected work to people from the mountains. I looked around for families with children. They suffered because they were farmers but they did not own the land. I invited them to my workshop. Man and woman could work. We provided food and accommodation on the campus. All the money they earned, they could save and after 2-3 years, buy land. I always wanted to have children and it was so sweet to buy school uniforms and match their colours.

I wanted to break a circle of sadness. This was the motivation in the beginning. Now I have a different opinion than at that time. Very well-trained people help themselves further to develop. Before, I tried to interfere in a society. Now, I believe this is really risky because we really do not understand the reality behind the reality. The chain of reactions. There is no school, no social projects anymore. Going there and making people proud of what they do and encouraging them to go for something more challenging, increases their abilities and helps them on long-term more.

These societies need to find a solution. Fair trade is anyway difficult. I was very much involved in it and I got disappointed. Our consuming machine here is so fast, that even something good in the beginning gets perverted by press and big company needs. A good idea gets too quickly abused. Our society is too complex. Nobody can really understand anymore when it moves into that. Now I am too skeptical.

RFP:     Your carpets are sold in about 30 countries, who are the most                     passionate purchasers?

JD:       The Russians. People always think Russians have a peculiar taste. But every time I meet Russians, I find them the most educated and wonderful. They have an emotional concept for surfaces and interior. Russia is a great market for me, except for the last 6 months. I have 7 very good established traders in Russia. We do a certain amount of our turnover with Russians because they buy a lot of stock since many customers do not like to wait.

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Exhibition “Emotionen Knüpfen” at Neue Werkstätten, Munich

© Hannes Magerstaedt Photography / Courtesy of Neue Werkstätten

We have a good structure in the Middle East and this makes me proud.

In the last years, I also have a lot of Turkish distributors who are producers themselves.

Beirut, Kuwait, Qatar, Doha, China, Canada more than the USA, Australia and Brazil. However, it is a nightmare to trade with the Brazilians because they do not want to pay taxes to the government.

Customers at the Domotex Fair in Germany.

Trading carpets is a communication about what this product offers. I am happy that customers appreciate it. We get chocolate for Christmas and books they think could be interesting. People respect you so much that they send you later pictures on how happy they are and half a year later they say this happiness is increasing. That’s cool.

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RUG STAR carpets – Exhibition “Emotionen Knüpfen” at Neue Werkstätten, Munich

© Roxana-Florina Popa

Eden.09

Eden 12 Original © RUG STAR

RFP:     If you were to imagine a ritual for selling your carpets, what                       would that be?

JD:       My ritual consists in informing about the product. I do give my customers a lot of technical information because I have a need to explain them everything. A carpet is like an opera. It is so complex that at the first glance you cannot really understand it. You need someone who slowly introduces you to this world. If I sell a carpet to a person, they buy a second and a third one depending on the size of the house. We have really loyal customers.

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Workshop – Checking the loom

© Rug Star / Courtesy of Simone Nickl Public Relations

You need to make them see with your eyes. You create something for their intimate room. You need like Sigmund Freud to gather a lot of information about them in order to consult them. Selling carpet is really intimate. There has been a time when I felt like a shrink. You can really get confronted with the energy of couples. As a carpet dealer you have direct connection to the intimacy of people, to their private homes.

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RUG STAR creation – Bondi Collection Exhibition “Emotionen Knüpfen” at Neue Werkstätten, Munich

© Roxana-Florina Popa

There is also the micro cosmos of a multitude of cultures. In selling a carpet there is no division of the world like we see in the politics and you know more or less anybody in the world who is involved because there are not so many people doing this.

Vernissage 23 April 2015

Special Thanks go to Marina Woschni and Johann Klopsch, managing directors of Neue Werkstätten

and 

Simone Nickl Public Relations

⌘  Jürgen Dahlmanns set-up the high-end carpet label RUG STAR in 2002. He is recognised for his unfailing creativity, daring design experiment and flair for modern interior decoration. Born in 1967 in the Netherlands on the German border, Jürgen Dahlmanns is German through and through. He studied architecture at the Technische Universität Berlin. He discovered his passion for Tibetan carpets when he was 23 on the occasion of his trip on the Indian subcontinent. RUG STAR has constantly won prizes in more categories: 2015 for Best Modern Design Deluxe and Best Traditional Collection; 2014 for Best Traditional Design and Most Liked by Domotex Visitors; 2012 for Best Innovation; 2008 for Best Modern Collection, Best Modern Design and Best Modern Innovation; 2007 for Best Modern Design and Best Modern Innovation.

⌘ Die Neuen Werkstätten are a unique mixture of inner architecture company, furniture shop and design gallery. It was founded in 1991 by 5 employees of the Vereinigten Werkstätten, one of Germany’s most famous inner architecture company. The tradition of the latter is nowadays continued. Art and design have a strong influence in this exceptional architecture business concept. Both architects and artists of high quality and high creativity are presented at the premises of Neue Werkstätten. They organise maximum 5 exhibitions every year and issue the magazine “Neue Werkstätten News”. Galleries and museums like die Neue Sammlung  – the International Design Museum Munich occasionally cooperate with Neue Werkstätten in the organisation of parallel distinct exhibitions with increased resonance for the same designer.

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Jürgen Dahlmanns  with Marina Woschni and Johann Klopsch

In front of a “Bondi” creation, 2015

© Hannes Magerstaedt Photography / Courtesy of Neue Werkstätten

This article has been selected into the book “Beauty Elegance Creativity – 12 Interviews on the Act of Creation” published by Roxana Florina Popa

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