Think heritage buildings and their intricate floor patterns. Weave these patterns in wool, playing with the geometry and morphing one shape into another till you see a whole new pattern. That’s what Rooshad Shroff’s Tessellations collection for Cocoon is all about. The seven different rug types made by Cocoon Fine Rugs (a luxury carpet maker) have been designed by Shroff. They were recently launched at Le Mill, Mumbai’s luxury fashion and design store, in collaboration with Elle Decor.
The designs take cues from Dutch artist M.C. Escher’s technique and heavy flooring patterns in traditional heritage bungalows. Escher used tessellation, the art of tiling a plane surface with one or more geometrical shapes without leaving any gaps, in a lot of his work. Shroff’s collection is a seamless blend of geometry and modern techniques. Using a blend of handspun Afghani and Argentinian wools, the rugs have been hand woven in Rajasthan by 15 skilled weavers out of the 10,000-odd employed by Cocoon in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana. The rugs play with the idea of movement and are infused with bright, complementary colours. Roll these on the floor or take them to the walls, they will accentuate any space.
“The idea was to look at carpets as an expression of different flooring patterns and taking these basic patterns and morphing them one into the other, almost like the work of Escher. The patterns transform from one shape into another through the carpet, each shape becoming completely unique, blurring into another,” says Shroff in a phone interview.
Shroff, who trained as an architect at Harvard University and Cornell University, launched an eponymous studio in Mumbai in June 2011, after working with the likes of Pritzker Prize winner architect the late Zaha Hadid in London and OMA/REX in New York City.
“It was a combination of technology and handmade. It was interesting to see how we could use technology to create something that was very inherently traditional for floors and created a different opportunity for pattern-making,” adds Shroff, known for his craft-based designs.
The seven patterns—Arabesque, Croquis, Foulard, Frieze, Lane’s Net, Hound’s Tooth and Argyle—display radial or linear transformation of various geometric shapes, such as an octagon into a cross or a star in the centre, radiating outwards into a square or opening up into an octagon.
Take, for example, the Arabesque. The most intricate pattern of the collection, it is synonymous with a traditional carpet, following the idea of a detailed border with a lighter central area. Moving inwards from the border, the pattern reshapes an octagon into a cross. Deploying the torsion twist method, the Lane’s Net has structured borders with the transformations along the lines of twists, creating a sense of movement.
“Creatively, we wanted to push the boundaries and move away from what Cocoon does and bring in some freshness of concept. So we decided to collaborate with Rooshad,” says Mumbai-based Ayush Choudhary, managing director and creative director of Cocoon Fine Rugs. “Anything like this has never been done before with rugs.”
The rugs were conceptualized in August 2015 and, with two-three weavers working simultaneously on each one, took approximately
three-four months to take shape. “Ensuring that the movement was captured perfectly on the rug was quite challenging,” says Choudhary. “Even if one knot was displaced, it could distort the whole pattern.”
One can get these rugs customized to size but the collection is not open to bespoke colour changes. The period of delivery could vary between two and eight months, depending on the size. Before buying, one can have the rugs delivered to see how they will suit a particular space.
Choudhary and Shroff declined to disclose the prices, but said they provide a maintenance service for the rugs. The range is available at Cocoon stores in Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru through the company website (http://www.cocooncarpets.com/), and at Le Mill, and can also be purchased directly from Shroff.