What Is a Bessarabian Carpet?
Ralph Lauren once said, “Style is very personal. It has nothing to do with fashion. Fashion is over quickly. Style is forever.” Keep this quote in mind when you’re trying to design an exceptionally stylish home. Celebrities such as Lee Radziwill and Brooke Astor chose Bessarabian carpets to impart a distinguished personality to their homes. The best Bessarabian carpets were made for Russian royalty in the 19th century and are still preserved in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. These magnificent Bessarabian carpets combine French and English aesthetics with eastern hand weaving traditions. They stand right on the cusp of European and Oriental aesthetics and they feel exotic and familiar at the same time. They seamlessly blend high-end French court style, provincial design and Asian influences. The final results were beautiful rugs with highly distinctive designs that felt more relaxed than their European counterparts and this combination of refined aesthetics with a worn out handmade quality made them irresistible to European and American celebrities.
The Canterbury Bessarabian Rug combines geometricized floral motifs with elements taken from neoclassical architecture. The shaded background resembles ancient frescoes and was made with 300 custom dyed colors. Rug Design © Asmara, Inc.
A Bessarabian Carpet For Every Style Room
The idea that furniture and accessories have to perfectly match went out the window years ago. A Bessarabian carpet may conjure up images of formal living spaces filled with museum-quality heirlooms, but there’s something absolutely delicious about a classically designed Bessarabian carpet gracing a room that design wise doesn’t share its DNA. Although many Bessarabian rugs have traditional floral design patterns, those patterns often have architectural and geometrical elements, sometimes taken from neoclassical architecture, like the Bessarabian rug shown above. The neoclassical details work wonderfully with modern furniture because they add the dimensions of history and handmade artistry. From the art on the walls to the style of the chairs and sofas, you can create you personalized distinguished style with the historical features of Bessarabian ruga. Brazilian designer Jean Gillon created stunning rooms by blending classic Bessarabian rugs with mid-century modern furniture to unique effect. Don’t let your rug’s pedigree dictate your style. Take your style, and create something beautiful that is distinctively you.
Brazilian designer Jean Gillon used a Beessarabian rug to give a distinctive personality to his bedroom with its Venetian plaster walls, Murano glass lamp on a Chinese bedside table and mid century modern rope-and-rosewood chair designed by Gillon. Image courtesy Metropolitan Home and Tokyo Jinja.
Use the Hues in a Bessarabian Carpet to Color Your Space
Lee Radziwill’s apartment in New York was recently featured in Elle Decor with its Bessarabian rug in black, cream, blue and gold. The same rug has done service in several previous homes of Lee Radziwill over the last 30 years. Today it supports a clean and airy living room with cream upholstery and brilliant white walls. The mirror above the fireplace traveled with the Bessarabian rug from Radziwill’s previous New York apartment designed by Renzo Mongiardino. Lee Radziwill says that she starts her room design by first selecting the rug. Great Bessarabian rugs work even better with modern decor than they do with traditional. Image courtesy Elle Decor.
Crisp white walls balance perfectly with the calming intensity of a Bessarabian carpet. A classically designed sofa with clean lines and neutral tones doesn’t clash with the rug, but instead celebrates it. Play off the colors of the rugs with your accessories like cushions and wall hangings. Lee Radziwill’s Park Avenue living room features bright white walls which are a perfect backdrop for the black Bessarabian carpet with its elaborate floral patterns and scrolling details. The curves in the windows and chairs resonate with the rugs naturalistic pattern, and a honey colored neoclassical table by the window hints at the neoclassical references found in Bessarabian rugs. Black lamp shades and fireplace resonate with the black background of the Bessarabian carpet. The result is a room that is at the same time dramatic, peaceful and highly sophisticated.
David Easton started this New York dining room with the Canterbury Bessarabian carpet and painted the walls grey to pick up the grey and blue tones in the Bessarabian rug. The grey walls help accentuate the beauty of the ornate mirror and chandelier and set off the crisp whites of the mirror, fireplace, ceiling and wainscoting. The warm red and gold accents of the Bessarabian rug balance the cool greys and add warmth to the room. Image courtesy David Easton. Rug Design © Asmara, Inc.
Jim Koch took created a contemporay ambiance with the same Canterbury Bessarabian Rug by mixing an Art Deco chair, a neoclassical demilune and a modern petrified wood sculpture. Rug Design © Asmara, Inc.
Southern California interior designer Eric Guenther slid the Canterbury pile Bessarabian rug into his guest bedroom without changing any of the existing furnishings. Eric was demonstrating how you can create a sophisticated “un-decorated” European look with a great Bessarabian carpet. Rug Design © Asmara, Inc.
Albert Hadley’s legendary red lacquered library for Brooke Astor was based on a Bessarabian rug in cream, red and dark brown that had originally been chosen by Sister Parish for the Astor living room. This Bessarabian rug inspired the Hermitage Bessarabian rug shown below. Image courtesy The Devoted Classist.
An image of Brunschwig & Fils new ad featuring Albert Hadley’s library for Brooke Astor, which The New York Times called “one of the most admired interiors of the 20th century,” signals a return to classic fabrics and Bessarabian rugs. Image courtesy Brunschwig & Fils.
The Hermitage Bessarabian pile rug is inspired by the Bessarabian rug in Albert Hadley’s library for Brooke Astor above. Rug Design © Asmara, Inc.
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