December 11, 2019
Google it. All you’ll find are many links to rug pads, and blog posts urging you to buy a rug pad, because you really need one (they’re right! you do!)
We promise you, under-rugs exist, even if a certain behemoth search engine disagrees. At least, they exist in concept if not in name. Various cultures worldwide have a history of placing simple, woven plant-fiber mats underneath softer, thicker, more complicated pieces. Nomadic Berber tribes in Morocco first covered their tent floors in thin woven palm-leaf mats, or asherdil, and would only unfurl their wool-woven pieces at night for sleeping, or when they had visitors. This helped with insulation and keeping their magnificent wool pieces clean. A similar concept can be seen in Japanese tatami mats, made of straw, or Ugandan mukekas (a Bantu dialect meaning 'mat’), made of palm-leaves.
For years, interior designers have been using plant-fiber rugs as foundational layers for smaller, pricier pieces. It’s a widely-known trick that if you or your client is obsessed with a rug that’s too small for the room, all you need to do is find a jute, or a sisal, or even a flatweave of the right size to go underneath it. Plus, it's extremely versatile, so you won't have to get rid of it when you move apartments, or buy a mansion, or get sick of your furniture. It looks good with everything.
What these woven pieces have in common is they’re all neutral enough in design and color to not compete with whatever you put on top of them. Thanks to their simple design, the women weaving them could afford the time it took to make double the rugs for a room (the neutral under-rug and the more ornate top-rug).
Hart is our first exploration in the field of under-rugs. Though it has similar properties, it’s not a rug pad, because those are designed to be hidden. Hart is designed to be seen, a platform for whatever you put atop it. Or not. It is completely up to you.
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