To say that Savonnerie carpets are the rugs to which all other rugs aspire wouldn’t be too far off the mark. It’s true that Savonnerie carpets have impeccable pedigree and a glorious history behind them. Aubusson rugs and Bessarabian rugs are examples of rug styles that were initially meant to copy the grand designs of the Savonnerie carpet.
People throughout history have purchased Savonnerie carpets and placed them in what they deemed historically appropriate settings in their homes. Marie Antoinette had an incredibly beautiful blue, pink and gold Savonnerie in her Le Cabinet Doré (Gilded Study) when she stayed at Versailles. Redesigned in 1763 based off of sketches by her architect, Richard Mique, the room was filled with all of the elements that you think of when you imagine spaces befitting Savonnerie carpets. Extravagant gold-gilded woodwork and moldings by the Rousseau brothers, a stunningly elaborate Riesener chest, and Sevres vases were par for the course in the room.
Many people with Savonnerie carpets decorate their homes in a similar manner. London, Paris, Greenwich, the Main Line, Cambridge, the Hamptons – these locales are filled with homes where you’ll find rare Savonnerie carpets gracing rooms decorated with priceless, authentic antique furnishings. Even the homes themselves have impeccable historical pedigree, many of them at least a century old (centuries old in Europe). People who are not quite that into classic traditional design may decide to mix things up with new traditional décor.
Then, there’s you, the rebel with an antique Savonnerie rug. You are staring at your rare Savonnerie rug and wondering how it will mesh with your Philip Johnson – or Philip Johnson-like – residence. They will work wonderfully together. Maybe the cinnamon color in your Savonnerie carpet would perfectly set off the rust tones in your leather Eames lounge chair or that it would look gorgeous resting underneath your Barcelona table. Wouldn’t the rich turquoise blues in the rug go perfectly with that surreal seascape that you bought at the local artist’s fair? Blaze your own path, and create something others only dream about.
Blaze a Bold New Path with Savonnerie Rugs
A blue and white Savonnerie carpet anchors modern and mid-century furniture and art. W Magazine wrote “French antiques dealer Yves Gastou has decorated his Paris apartment and Biarritz home with no heed for the rules of interior design. Expect the unexpected.”
Philippe Hiquily beaten brass chair, massive crystal chandelier, 1970s fractal resin table…and Savonnerie rug! Everything item in the room plays beautifully together. Billy Baldwin said, “Be faithful to you own taste because nothing you like is ever out of style. In other words, “Do you.”
Yves Gastou mixed an antique Savonnerie carpet with modern art and furniture for a client. Image courtesy Mezonin, a Russian interior magazine. Photography: Ivan Terestchenko
Who better to bring home the point of blazing your own path with Savonnerie carpets than Yves Gastou, Parisian antiques dealer extraordinaire. Whether you’re speaking of his Biarritz home or his Parisian one, it’s all the same: a complete disregard for the rules and codes of conventional design. Before you get the idea that there is no reason to the madness, quash the thought. Gastou loves the things that he loves, even if he’s alone in his adoration. If it’s beautiful, he’ll make it work.
Inspiration for Asian/floral-themed living room or library inspired by the Branches Savonnerie rug. Branches is also available as an Aubusson rug, and as a Needlepoint rug. Design Scheme by Alexis McDermott. Rug Design © Asmara, Inc. Find sources and more decorating tips here.
Designer Alexis McDermott shows how it’s possible to go in an entirely different direction when decorating with Savonnerie carpets. This spirited rug features a white background adorned with a lively, colorful floral pattern. With the floral-themed pillows, the lime green Recamier sofa and the tailored furniture made from dark wood, the room has a subtle Chinoiserie look and feel.
Follow the Billy Baldwin code: be faithful to your own taste because nothing you really like is ever out of style.
Here is a selection of bold new takes on Savonnerie carpets:
The Pompeii Savonnerie Oriental Rug was inspired by frescoes found in a villa excavated near Pompeii.
Summer Savonnerie Oriental Rug has a canopy of branches in clear colors with a tone on tone damask pattern in the cream background. Rug Design © Asmara, Inc.
A detail of the Sahara Savonnerie Oriental Rug. Rug Design © Asmara, Inc.
Gold Branches Savonnerie Oriental Rug has a canopy of branches forming a trellis and is inspired by 18th century silk brocades by Anna Maria Garthwaite in the Victoria and Albert Musueum London. The flowers, branches and sky have soft fresco-like shading. The shading is created by weaving with thousands of shades of multiple ply wool yarns in a Savonnerie rug weave. Rug Design © Asmara, Inc.