Interview Series - Jan Kath
Very rarely do we get insights into someone so talented as Jan Kath – the designer who is paving the way for innovation within rug design around the world, whilst never losing sight of this time honoured tradition.
We hope you enjoy this interview with Jan Kath
Every year, you manage to wow your clientele with something spectacular, tell us where you drew inspiration from for this year’s new collections?
The POLONAISE collection is based on old carpets that were made in Isfahan some 400 years ago on behalf of the Polish royal family. These are very special pieces, of which there is only a handful left in the world today. Although these rugs are knotted according to Persian tradition, the patterns incorporate European style elements that are not known in classical Oriental carpet culture. If you look closely you will discover royal crowns, signet rings and lilies. The color scheme is also influenced by the Occident. These carpets, custom made in the 17th century, fascinated me, so that I started reviving the old patterns and interpreting them in a modern way with my alienation effects.
Another collection is Spectrum, where we focus on light. Light is comprised of many colors, which is shown off in a particularly spectacular fashion in the northern lights, visible in winter months in the far north. This spectacle of nature was an inspiration for the JAN KATH collection SPECTRUM, as were the myths and fairy tales about dancing lights above gloomy moors and in dark pine forests. Knot by knot, the spectrum of light is translated into wool and silk, and that fleeting moment is captured in the carpet so that the beholder can let themselves be caught up in it. The realization of this design, which is hand-knotted in Nepal, is intricately complicated and entails up to 40 different colors that bleed into each other in a soft gradient. In SPECTRUM, Jan Kath works on a wider scale, opening up new worlds of color that could serve as a background for classic ornaments in the next step.
You recently have undertaken some major contract projects for leading fashion houses, how does working with them differ to your residential projects?
In residential projects, clients usually select designs that already exist. These are adjusted to individual customer requirements in size, color and material composition. For the large contract projects, we sit down with architects and designers and together we design a brand new manuscript, which we then continue to expand over the years. This is exciting. When it comes to logistics it is a big challenge if we equip several hundred stores almost at the same time with new carpets all over the world.
For big projects time is generally an issue. Hand-knotted, large-format carpets can not hold every timeline of an architect. This is why we have been offering hand-tufted carpets that have excellent quality, but that can be produced much faster.
Cadrys has represented Jan Kath for 10+ years now, clearly there is a loyal following to you and your collections, can you give us a hint into what we can expect next?
In 2018/19 we will continue to expand the Polonaise Collection and experiment with the designs that combine classic patterns with new templates and try out new effects.
I’m also working on a big new idea, but I do not want to reveal that much yet. Only so much: the handknotted carpet is still my medium, but in the new concept that I am planning, art and design will merge
Personally or professionally, what are you most looking forward too for the remainder of 2018?
It’s always exciting to see the new designs being shown for the first time at major fairs in Europe or the US. Will the professional audience like them? How do the end consumers react? Me personally, I am actually already much further at this point. As the design development and production of the first pieces of a new collection takes several months, in spring 2018 we already have the next collection for 2019 on the loom.
To view Jan Kath’s latest Erased Heritage collection, visit your local Cadrys showroom today or visit us at Denfair this June in Melbourne – stand 504. Next week we interview the well respected landscape designer Paul Bangay who is releasing his very own range of Outdoor rugs, exclusively with Cadrys.