Nordic Knots believes that at the centre of every Swedish home is a good rug – and aims to take that ethos much further afield. Co-founder Liza Laserow explains more about its latest collection, inspired by the early-20th-century Swedish Grace movement
DESIGN ANTHOLOGY: Why did you set up Nordic Knots?
LIZA LAZEROW: Rugs seemed like the most uncharted territory. While there are a lot of high-end, very expensive rugs out there and also no shortage of uninspiring, bad-quality rugs from larger chains, we found a huge gap right in the middle. We saw our opportunity – a curated offering where there are no bad choices to make. At the core we want to inspire people. It’s not just about making rugs but creating beautiful homes. This is really what drives us. It’s been part of the success too I think; the images we create are not about selling rugs but sharing a slice of the Scandinavian aesthetic and appreciation for quality.
Rugs themselves should be timeless, easy to place and last a lifetime. So we thought, why not make a collection just like that? Inspired by where we are from, our home.
DA: Nordic Knots is a family business – how did you all come together?
LL: All three of us – me, my husband Fabian and my brother-in-law Felix – grew up in Sweden but Fabian and I lived abroad for almost 15 years before moving back home. While living in New York I was dealing in fine Swedish antiques and consulting on interior design projects. It was a brilliant experience in the importance of selling great products to a discerning clientele. Fabian, my husband, is the designer and creative director at Nordic Knots, having previously worked for a long time as an advertising executive. Felix, Fabian’s brother, who runs the production and finance side of our company, is an experienced entrepreneur. Between the three of us, it felt like we had a pretty solid base of knowledge in design and entrepreneurship that enabled us to launch Nordic Knots.
DA: Do the Swedes do rugs particularly well?
LL: Sweden has a long history of textile designing and manufacturing. At the end of the 18th century you would only find rugs in the most wealthy homes but they later became more common in the 19th century. They were then used in a more functional way – to keep the cold away – and not really for their design.
Swedes do design really well in general. We are also by nature very practical and love everything that is both aesthetically appealing and practical. Rugs are the perfect combination of the two. They give the room warmth, both physically and aesthetically, and – when chosen right – add a lot to a space design-wise.
All our collections are inspired by what we love and what we want to see in people’s homes; they bear the classic hallmarks of Swedish design filtered through our eyes
DA: What anchors Nordic Knots’ collections in a Swedish design sensibility?
LL: All our collections are inspired by what we love and what we want to see in people’s homes; they bear the classic hallmarks of Swedish design filtered through our eyes. Our latest collection, Art Deco, is not that sparse, but you can easily see our Swedish DNA in the way we have styled the rugs. It’s minimalist maximalism, if that makes sense…
Swedish nature and architecture are a huge source of inspiration for us. The dusty pastel building facades, nature and landscapes are extremely beautiful; the colours shift depending on the season. These are all aspects of our home country that we learned to appreciate when living in New York. All of a sudden, it felt exotic. We wanted to share this appreciation and bring our idea of home to more people.
DA: What can you tell us about the latest Art Deco collection?
LL: We have drawn inspiration from multiple directions within this time period. The deep, saturated colours originate from Swedish Grace, while the patterns and shapes have influences from some of Stockholm’s most iconic buildings that were built during the 1920s: The Concert Hall by Ivar Tengbom, the City Library by Gunnar Asplund, and the Stockholm City Hall by Ragnar Östberg.
Swedish Grace, which evolved during the 1920s, was a style – or rather, a design language – that sat in the middle of tradition and modernity. The designers of this era wanted to preserve historic styles, yet they also sought innovation and wanted to create a new and novel expression. There was also a need to rationalise and democratise the classicism that flourished during the 19th century.
DA: Where and how are the rugs made?
LL: The rugs are made by hand in Bhadohi in India by highly skilled artisans. It takes about a year from the initial idea until a rug is ready to launch. This is also why we try to stay away from trends and instead focus on design that will last a long time. They need to feel as fun when they arrive as when we designed them and hopefully 10 years from now!
DA: How do you envisage Nordic Knots’ products being used?
LL: The Art Deco rugs are intended to be placed with as much breathing space as possible. As a complement, we created the Rain flatweave collection which, in a discreet way, picks up the colours in Art Deco but can be used as a large area rug placed under furniture.