Cool, Hip and Aubusson

You’re an artist. Williamsburg isn’t tragically ironic to you: it’s been your home for years. Your jeans weren’t bought with “paint stains” etched into them; you put them there when you painted on your six-foot canvas last week. Your grandmother gifted you with an Aubusson rug that she’s had in her home in Narragansett for years, and guess what? You love it. The problem is, you’ve perfected your technique of textured acrylic painting to the point where they’re actually paying you to teach it at Pratt, but the synapses in your right brain grind to a screeching halt when you think about the likelihood of Aubusson rugs of any kind working in your candle-factory loft.

This may not be your actual Aubusson rug story, but you may be someone who has wildly divergent tastes and interests. The good thing is, whether Aubusson rugs have classical motifs or more modern design patterns, they can be used in artsy, funky spaces. In 1786, someone took an inventory of all of the Aubusson rugs found at the palace of Versailles: there were over 100, a number that grew in leaps and bounds in subsequent years. They were used with careful abandon throughout the palace, gracing rooms that were filled with every bit of wildly over-the-top décor imaginable. In other words, Aubusson rugs can handle funky, eclectic, art-filled homes, even yours.

If you’re going to use traditional Aubusson rugs in your home, the rule that you’ll need to get into your head is that there are no rules. This doesn’t mean that you should throw just anything together. Instead, it means that you shouldn’t feel bound by any particular design code. You should feel confident enough to trust your own instincts. Aubusson rugs shouldn’t suppress artistic expression; they should encourage it. Jeweler Harry Winston said, “People will stare. Make it worth their while.” Sage advice.

Design an Edgy Modern Space with Aubusson Rugs

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An Abusson rug resonates with the Venetian chandelier in the lobby of the Rose Bar in the Gramercy Park Hotel, NYC. Interior design by Julian Schnabel. Image courtesy The Habitually Chic Blog.

Bad boy, neo-expressionist, Academy Award-nominated direct, writer, interior designer and owner of the (formerly) polarizing Palazzo Chupi in NYC are just a few of the titles Julian Schnabel wears. He knows a little something about bucking the trends and going against established codes. The art movement that made him famous was all about refuting conventional art-world mores of the time, which inclined towards modern and minimalist art. You can only imagine how he would use Aubusson rugs in a space.

Well, you actually don’t have to imagine it. You just have to visit Rose Bar at Ian Schrager’s Gramercy Park Hotel in NYC. Breaking away from his usual hotel interior design collaboration with French designer Philippe Starck, Schrager brought in Schnabel. The result is an upscale bohemian space that is edgy, moody and intoxicating. Schnabel installed black-and-white chessboard flooring in the bar’s lobby. On top of that went the glorious Schnabel-designed Aubusson rug, traditional, pink, blue and boasting the hotel’s initials. Hanging above the Aubusson rug is a gargantuan Venetian chandelier, glorious and imposing. The Sun King would have been proud.

You Don’t have to be a Rockefeller to Defy Labeling with Aubusson Rugs

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Nelson Rockefeller living room designed by architect Wallace Harrison, Aubusson rug designed by Christian Bérard and interior design and furniture by Jean-Michel Frank. Source: Pinterest Celebrity & Historic Rugs via Living With Personality and Style

A collaboration between an architect, a rug designer and an interior designer lead to the creation of Nelson Rockefeller’s living room. The room was filled with contemporary art from artists ranging from Matisse to Leger and an Aubusson rug designed by Bérard and featuring a reddish background and yellow flowers. The result was a room style that defied labeling. You don’t have to be a Rockefeller to defy labeling.

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