ANCIENT EGYPTIAN RUGS MADE MODERN
Kilim, meaning “rug” in Turkish, has had a recent resurgence in Egypt, thanks to the founders at Kiliim Designs who revitalized the ancient Egyptian rugs tradition. After their daughter’s birth, founders Ibrahim and Noha searched for a quality kilim rug to place in their daughter’s nursery. With little success, they decided to start Kiliim Designs to provide themselves and others with handmade kilim rugs. Kiliim’s rugs are made in the small village of Fowa, where Egyptian kilim has historically been produced. Here is an exclusive interview with the founders of the ancient Egyptian rug inspired brand, Kiliim.
WHAT’S THE SIGNIFICANCE OF REVIVING ANCIENT EGYPTIAN RUG MAKING?
Kiliim: The rug-weaving craft has been a part of Egyptian heritage since the age of the Pharaohs. It's been passed from generation to generation and was the backbone of the village, Fowa, and a huge booster to its economy. Due to several factors, like weak financial compensation, the lack of innovation, and the low educational background of the craftsmen, it started dying and stopped being passed to younger generations. We felt the urge to help craftsmen innovate, develop, and get fair financial compensation to encourage them to practice the craft and ensure our heritage doesn't die out.
WHAT INSPIRED THE DESIGNS OF YOUR COLLECTION?
Kiliim: Every collection has its own inspiration! Our debut was inspired by the traditional patterns you find in the old kilim rugs yet they have better color coordination and a minimalist approach to suit contemporary homes. Later collections were inspired by the raw material itself so we added a 100% Egyptian cotton line of rugs. As well as the different textures and weaving techniques to create innovative, yet trendy, designs.
Our design team researches international trends, colors, and aesthetics. Then they decide on a design that both combines innovation and trend, bearing in mind the season. For instance, we focus on wool more during fall, then cotton starting from spring.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF CREATING YOUR WORK?
Kiliim: Our designers come up with new designs then they're printed out and explained to our chief technical craftsmen who with our training, divides the proportions, weaves the rug in real life, then trains the rest of the craftsmen to make them. They're later photographed so that customers can order it online from stores like 54kibo and get it shipped to their doorstep by our logistics team.
The revival of the ancient Egyptian rugs by Kiliim Designs have not gone unnoticed. In May 2019, the world-renowned architectural historian and curator, Mohamed Elshahed, designated an Egyptian focused exhibition during New York Design month featuring their designs. The popular show, WantedDesign, also featured their work in hopes of advancing Egyptian designers, like Kiliim, to gain worldwide recognition. Consider a wool or cotton accent rug to cover floor space in a foyer, bedroom, bathroom or living space. Choose from various colors, patterns and textures that fit in with many interior design styles including boho, traditional, minimal and modern.