OBEETEE, the leading manufacturer of hand-knotted and hand-tufted rugs in India, has joined hands with India’s celebrated fashion designer Tarun Tahiliani, to unveil an exclusive collection of handmade carpets. The collection, centered on the ‘Proud to be Indian’ theme, showcases quintessential Indian designs for the first time in the country’s artistic rug heritage. The initiative was led by OBEETEE’s distinguished design team and supported by India’s leading couturiers. The rugs were launched at an opulent event held at majestic Bikaner House.
OBEETEE’s vision to introduce the incredible Indian craft to the rest of the world, sees the coming together of India’s leading designers to display high end couture rug pieces that have never been woven before. While Tahiliani has designed the brand’s maiden India-inspired collection, it has also brought on board, other illustrious designers of the Indian design circuit like Raghavendra Rathore, Abraham & Thakore, to conceptualise this ambitious project, Proud to be Indian.
Talking about the concept, Mr. Rudra Chatterjee, Chairman, OBEETEE, “Over the last decade, India has become the largest manufacturer of carpets, surpassing the production by Iran, Turkey, Nepal, Pakistan, Morocco, and other areas; yet the designs have been a hybrid of India and other nations. It was imperative for us to be known as more than just another carpet manufacturing unit. We want our rugs to echo and reflect our country’s diverse design sensibilities. With this new collection, we intend to proudly exhibit that India is indeed the core and the heart of various design experiments, as its pattern library differs from region to region. Progressing this intent ahead, we are celebrating India as a theme, by associating with incredible Indian designers, starting with Tarun Tahiliani.”
Adding further on the partnership, Angelique Dhama, Chief Marketing Officer, OBEETEE, said: “As far as the rug category is concerned, there was little or no presence of Indian art in this domain. In fact, Indian art was perceived to be hiding in the shadows of Indo-China, Indo Persian or Indo-Nepal for that matter. There was a need to break out of the shackles of colonization and create something uniquely Indian. With this initiative, we want to promote contemporary India, its growing aspirations and its unique design sensibilities, by creating an exhibition of modern carpets, as conceived by the Sub Continent’s most talented fashion designers.”
“OBEETEE has been proudly preserving handmade luxury that echoes India’s culture and heritage. We are extremely elated that Tarun Tahiliani, a name synonymous with aesthetic reinvention, will be designing the first compilation of these India-inspired rugs. The framework of this collection is based upon three distinct design structures — The Antique Frames Collection, The Chikankari Collection, and The Abstract Art Collection. These carpets will have a global appeal and a truly Indian soul,” added Angelique.
Seamlessly blending the traditional and the contemporary, these carpets designed by Tarun for OBEETEE are a nod to India’s glorious heritage and to her vibrant present. As the name suggests, Antique Frames is based on the borders painted in the most elaborate refinement, on the periphery of most Indian/Mughal miniature paintings. Each rug encapsulates the mood, and is finished with a distressed look to reflect the patina of that era. The rich colour pallete celebrates lively tones like Indian reds, burgundies and rusts.
The second segment glorifies the traditional embroidery art of chikankari; the blocks, have been sourced from the cornices of the local architecture and have jaals and vines from the Persian gardens. The canvases painted by the designer himself inspire the third segment.
Tarun met Mr. Edward Oakley, Chairman of OBEETEE Pvt. Ltd., and was impressed by team OBEETEE’s passion for excellence, ability adapt to changing trends, their world-class technical skills, their illustrious design team and the ethical and eco-friendly policies adopted by manufacturing units. “It has been a wonderful experience working with them thus far, and I hope we can sustain this collaboration,” said Tarun.
These magnificent rugs start their journey at the hands of some of OBEETEE’s most skilled weavers, who were carefully chosen for this challenging task. These old hands came with decades of experience and in-depth knowledge of their craft. The top-notch construction of these carpets called for specific skill set – over 150 knots per square inch, and this set of handpicked weavers did complete justice to the assigned job. Hand knotted in silk and imported wool, these rugs are an ultimate experience in luxury. Each one is unique in its patterns, colours and textures. There have also been many firsts for this artistic production. For instance, for the first time fine zarithreads were woven into these rugs to render an unimaginable metallic luster. Classic Indian motifs like Kairi bootis and stylized floral patterns like lotus and rose, have been extensively used to add significant details. Traditional embroideries that look nothing short of hand carvings were also introduced. The high and low finishing involved several weeks of washing. These were also extensively processed in natural air and sunlight. In truest sense, each masterpiece of this collection is one step closer to sustainability.
The task of translating Tahiliani’s vision into bespoke ‘Art on the floor’ compilation was indeed a daunting one. While the inspiration for the paintings collection, came in a million colours, it had to be broken down by the OBEETEE design team into 20-25 colours ensuring that the aesthetics were retained and no significant colour play was lost in translation. Further after several trials the rugmakers embarked on the correct construction that would translate the original embroidery or textile inspiration. For the Chikankari collection, the Karigars were also specially trained inhouse by Tarun’s skilled artists to embroider these rugs. It took almost a year to produce one rug of this collection and hence these signed masterpieces are nothing short of timeless treasures for its proud owners.
The limited edition designs will also be taken across the globe, beginning with US in February. A series of exclusive exhibitions and receptions will also be held in honor of each designer in New York, spanning next few months.