Like a time traveler flying back and forth straddling ancient cultures German carpet designer, Jan Kath has captured the best of all worlds as a “couturier for floors.”
Playing with long established hand-knotted techniques with reverence to bygone motifs, he skews rules of composition and color to create contemporary carpets that are so striking you might prefer to hang them on a wall. Some recall the worn patina of an 18th century Italian wallpaper; others resemble a spectacular distant galaxy of exploding nebulas, a dilapidated Oriental rug or a neon streetscape in Tokyo. All are vibrant works of decorative art that embellish the floors of fashion houses Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton, and Ferragamo worldwide; in private homes of royalty and former U.S. President, Bill Clinton, rocker, Anthony Kiedis of Red Hot Chili Peppers, actor Bruce Willis and international art museums.
With his flagship showroom in a renovated factory loft in Bochum, Germany, five in other cities throughout the country, plus London, Moscow, Zurich, Vienna, New York, Miami and recently in Vancouver, Canada, (Finlay & Kath Inc.) Kath, 42, is on a mission to globalize his brand.
Although he has not opened a showroom in Israel yet, Israeli interior designer, Gili Ungar of Gili Ungar–Home Styling in Giv’atayim didn’t let that stop him in his pursuit of just the right look for his clients.
It’s obvious from Ungar’s penchant for mixing different fabrics, textures and styles that the Israeli designer loves colour. He studied to be a fashion photographer then switched to interior design 11 years ago. When clients approached him to decorate their large upscale rental apartment in the centre of Tel Aviv, they gave him carte blanche with just one important proviso: “ Make it homey to invite friends and colleagues over because they really loved to entertain there,” says Ungar by phone from Israel.
“I really wanted something different from the traditional Persian carpets. Rugs that would look contemporary and not compete with the colourful Roche Bobois sectionals, other modern furniture and art in their apartment,” explains Ungar. When I discovered Jan Kath’s amazing carpets online his closest headquarters and showroom were in Bochum, Germany.”
With his clients in tow, Ungar flew to Germany and they chose two beautiful rugs from Kath’s Erased Classic Collection for their living room and dining area. “Jan is a very kind person and so talented. I really enjoyed working with him, “said Ungar.
Loomed at their factory in Kathmandu, the Award-winning Erased Classic Collection is influenced by Indian silk saris and the weathered look of walls and derelict buildings from the industrial Ruhr section of Northern Germany where Kath grew up. “We’ve created an antique finishing technique that resembles rugs lying in an estate for years,” explains Kath. “Parts of the carpet are deliberately designed to appear obliterated, soaked with acid and corroded. “ These ‘errors’ are computer programmed by our senior designer, Dimo Feldmann, and his team in Bochum. Pixel printouts showing colors and number of stitches are sent electronically to be hand-woven in our workshops.”
Says Ungar, “ I’m really happy that interior design has changed in Israel. Just like how the food scene here has become so huge, so has design. The trend now is away from white and beige and clients are encouraged to use colour in a much freer way.”