Antique rugs are known as the lovely Kashans, Kermans, and Oushaks that are so legendary in traditional decor, but in this world of thick pile and intricate weaving, vintage rugs reign supreme in the world of contemporary design. The time span to constitute a vintage rug is generally twentieth century, from the time of Art Deco to the 1970’s, and they can generally be divided into three main categories: Moroccan, Scandinavian, and the aforementioned Art Deco. Of course there are vintage rugs which don’t fall under any of those three categories, but for the purposes of this blog post, those are the three categories.
Moroccan rugs have been similarly designed and produced for hundreds of years. The styles differ as each region—stretching from the foothills of the Atlas Mountains to the coastal city of Rabat—have their own distinctive styles. The traditional designs of the Berbers and other Moroccan weavers appealed to mid-century modernists for their bright colors or neutral tones, simple design, and rustically abstract appearance. Moroccan rugs were popularized by the likes of Le Corbusier, Alvar Aalto, and Arne Jacobson.
Like Moroccan rugs, Scandinavian rugs also have a long history of traditional design, dating back to at least the sixteenth century. They are distinct with solid colors and geometric shapes, though in the twentieth century, the designs became more colorful and abstract, yet still nods to the northern weaving tradition. Marta Maas Fjatterstorm was perhaps the most prolific mid-century Swedish weaver, leaving behind extraordinary creations that are highly valued and sought after today.
The Art Deco movement spanned from the Roaring Twenties, through the Great Depression, and to the brink of the Second World War. It is one of the most definitive styles of vintage rugs, encompassing a large umbrella of styles, origins, and techniques. During this time, carpet design transitioned from traditional millefleurs and allover floral designs to more angular and abstract styles, whilst maintaining elegance.